What is ergonomics in the workplace?

What is ergonomics in the workplace?

Are you sitting comfortably? Well, you should be if you are to have a happy and productive work life.

We spend about a third of our lives at work so it’s absolutely vital that the way we work is not detrimental to our health…and that is where ergonomics comes in.

But what is ergonomics and why is it so important? Put simply, ergonomics is the science of creating a workplace which ensures staff can work safely, efficiently and in comfort which will, in turn, improve productivity and decrease the risk of injury or stress-related problems.

It is widely accepted sitting at a desk for eight hours a day is not good for you. It can have a long-term impact on your health so every effort must be taken to alleviate that risk.

Common problems faced by office workers include carpal tunnel syndrome which affects the median nerve in your forearm and can cause pain, numbness and weakness in wrists and hands.

Lower back problems are common for office workers with about 80 per cent suffering at some point in their working lives. This can be caused by bad posture from an inappropriate chair with a lack of proper lumbar support.

Repetitive strain injuries can be caused by working for long periods of time with your hands and can lead to pain, numbers and swelling.

However, there are ways of avoiding these painful conditions and ergonomically designed equipment can protect staff and ensure they can work in comfort.

At a basic level, actions taken can be as simple as ensuring your computer monitor is at the right angle and your desk is at the right height. Your eyes should not be strained from trying to see the screen nor your wrists painful from hours of keyboard work.

Using the correct desks, chairs, monitors, keyboards and lighting can all contribute to a good working environment and a healthy employee.

Height adjustable desks and chairs are proven ways of combatting the challenges presented by sedentary work. We are all different shapes and sizes and desks and chairs should fit the individual’s height, weight distribution and arm reach to be comfortable and supportive.

The user should be able to rest both feet flat on the floor or on a foot rest and monitors should be positioned at eye level about 16 inches away.

An adjustable ergonomic desk and chair can also be adapted to ensure the user’s comfort and allow them to move in any direction without straining.

Standing desks are another way of combatting the impact of desk working, reducing a range of conditions such as back pain, poor circulation and heart conditions.

Prevention is better than cure and ergonomics are the way to a happy, healthy workforce.

For more information, contact our experts at Waterfront Warehouse.


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