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The Importance Of Ergonomics In The Workplace

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White computer mouse and hand on whiteNot every job in the world requires laborious use of the hands. Not every job entails a great deal of heavy lifting, lugging and carrying. But that doesn’t mean that jobs void of these tiring tasks aren’t hard on the body. Office workers experience their fair share of job-related injuries as well. You may be surprised just how taxing it can be on the body to sit at a desk in front of a computer all day long.

This is why ergonomics is so vital to any working environment. Ergonomics, which is the study of people’s efficiency in the workplace, is an important element when considering the health and safety of people at work. And, as Cynthia Roth points out on EHSToday.com, office environments are known for their ergonomic-related injuries and illnesses. Believe it or not, typing isn’t exactly the safest job-related task in the world!

“If an employee is able to type 40 words per minute, he or she presses 12,000 keys per 8-hour day,” she explains, “Approximately 8 ounces of force is necessary to depress one key. Almost 16 tons of force will be exercised by his or her fingers each day. The fingers of typists whose speed is 60 words per minute exert up to 25 tons of pressure each day.” So what does all of this mean? How does the pressure exerted by typists affect their health?

According to Roth, back pain is considered the most common side effect of daily sitting and typing. But studies have shown that “the office workplace has other musculoskeletal disorders, including carpal tunnel syndrome, tendonitis, tenosynovitis and myositis.” She writes that “more than 8 million people are affected by carpal tunnel syndrome each year. Surgery for carpal tunnel syndrome is the second-most common type of musculoskeletal surgery.”

A focus on ergonomics can help present better working conditions in an effort to avoid such physical hardships. Roth notes that it’s important to reduce the physical demands of jobs by decreasing levels of force, repetition and awkward postures. “Job descriptions are necessary to understand how tasks impact the worker: which body part is used, whether right or left side, cycle times, weights, reaches, etc.” she writes.

The benefits to implementing strong workplace ergonomics are many. On Ergo-Plus.com, Mark Middlesworth explains that ergonomics can help to reduce costs, improve productivity and boost the quality of the work being done. “Poor ergonomics leads to frustrated and fatigued workers that don’t do their best work,” he writes, “When the job task is too physically taxing on the worker, they may not perform their job like they were trained.”

A focus on ergonomics in the workplace is also excellent for employee morale. It should go without saying that it’s important to have a staff made up for happy and enthusiastic people. It’s good for any company’s bottom line. “If an employee does not experience fatigue and discomfort during their workday, it can reduce turnover, decrease absenteeism, improve morale and increase employee involvement,” says Middlesworth.

At Independence Incorporated, we offer Ergonomic Assessments that carefully consider the relationships between workers and their work environments. Our assessments involve the creation of matches between employees and their activities, equipment and systems to maximize both productivity and health-focused circumstances. For more information, please don’t hesitate to call Independence Incorporated at 204-478-6644 or email info@indep.ca.