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10 Impressive Benefits of Ergonomics in the Workplace

Apr 5, 2024 | Ergonomics

 

While there is little doubt that ergonomics has numerous benefits, there is still a lot to be done in many of today’s workplaces, be it the office, service, or industrial environments.

You can utilize ergonomics to decrease injury and boost physical efficiency. Research shows that successful implementation requires continuous commitment and genuine employee participation. You can do this properly by educating yourself on when and how to implement it.

Keep reading to learn more about how altering your workspace can improve your business.

Before we get into ten impressive benefits of ergonomics in the workplace, let’s define what workplace ergonomics is.

What Are Workplace Ergonomics?

Ergonomics is a branch of science that strives to reduce workplace injuries by designing with humans in mind.

Jobs that involve awkward postures and/or repetitive movements can lead to several musculoskeletal injuries over time. These include:

  • Tendonitis
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Epicondylitis
  • DeQuervain’s disease
  • Thoracic outlet syndrome
  • Tension neck syndrome
  • Eyestrain
  • Back pain

From an industrial standpoint, the ergonomic definition comes from OSHA guidelines. They call ergonomic principles the act of “fitting a job to a person”.

This reflects the fact that ergonomic design isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach. You’ll have to adjust equipment for the height, wingspan, and other characteristics of the person using it.

Now that we understand what workplace ergonomics means, let’s look at ten benefits and advantages that lay out the importance of ergonomics in the workplace.

Benefits of Ergonomics in the Workplace

1. Health Benefits

People who work in ergonomic workplaces benefit from improved health. The effect of ergonomics starts within the cardiovascular system and spreads to other areas. Your heart will be healthier than it would be if you worked in a standard environment. Ergonomics can improve the health of your employees by reducing work-related injuries, most often caused by strains and over-exertion.

Ergonomic workstations can help you and your employees feel less tension in your body because you’ll adjust the workstations to fit your height. A neutral position will prevent you from straining your eyes, neck, and back. Your legs can also benefit from better blood flow.

2. Improved Productivity

Ergonomic workplaces are efficient workplaces. Ergonomic workstations combine different ideas to improve workers’ ability to complete their tasks—from organizing items and supplies to integrating computer equipment and monitors. An optimized workstation allows a worker to focus on their task and not be distracted by discomfort or a lack of organization. The more focused your employees are, the higher the level of productivity they can have.

Productivity statistics

3. Improved Mental Clarity

Reducing physical discomfort and improving your posture can improve your mental clarity and allow you to do your work more successfully. Ergonomics can also help you reduce stress and improve your concentration.

When you’re feeling comfortable, you can focus better on your work. Ergonomics helps decrease pain, strengthen muscles, and increase blood flow. Combined, this can improve mental insight.

The improved moods and focus will allow you and your employees to be more productive and engaged in your work.

4. Decreased Pains

Ergonomics focuses on optimizing the design of the workplace, tools, and equipment to reduce strain on employees, minimize fatigue, and improve overall comfort and safety.

Ergonomics can also help improve posture and reduce the risk of musculoskeletal injuries, such as back pain, by providing ergonomically designed chairs, desks, other furniture, and adjustable workstations. By creating an ergonomically designed work environment, employers can help to ensure that employees remain healthy and productive.

5. Eliminates Hazards

Part of creating a more productive work environment is eliminating the daily hazards that can hurt your employees. Ergonomics contributes to identifying and eliminating hazards in the workplace by creating work environments that are tailored to fit the user.

Additionally, ergonomics helps to create a better environment by reducing distractions, providing suitable lighting and ventilation, and providing adjustable furniture and equipment, all of which help eliminate potential workplace hazards.

it is also a good idea to ask your employees about what hazards they see in their environment. By asking for their input, you’re showing interest in them. Implementing the change will show them they’ve been heard, which will further help with employee engagement.

6. Quality Of Work Improves

The benefits of ergonomic workspaces range from employee well-being to the quality of work. Aches, pains, fatigue, and other problems can affect a worker. Ergonomics can eliminate those issues and help workers work.

Additionally, ergonomics can help ensure that employees are using the most effective tools and equipment to do their job and that they can reach and use the tools and equipment safely. A straightforward example is the way how proper lighting can reduce the number of mistakes that happen in a work process just by ensuring the worker can adequately see all details.

7. Reduce Absenteeism

Ergonomics can improve absenteeism by helping prevent workplace injuries that lead to missed workdays and creating a more comfortable working environment for employees.

Ergonomic practices can also reduce employee fatigue and stress, which can be physical or psychological factors contributing to absenteeism.

Encourage your workers to take regular breaks, change postures frequently, and adjust their workstations to fit their body size and shape better.

Finally, promote positive health behaviors by providing resources and encouraging your employees to maintain a healthy diet and lifestyle.

8. Focus on Safety

Ergonomics will create a safer work environment and increase awareness. You’ll remove hazards, improve workstations for less discomfort, and teach your employees to update their spaces with safety in mind.

Not to mention, the health benefits that come with ergonomics keep employees healthy at work. This will encourage safety on another level. You can keep your work consistent and stable by providing employees with a safe environment they can thrive in.

9. Increased Employee Satisfaction

The more you lean into the ergonomics culture, the more positive your work environment will be.

Ergonomics in the workplace can help improve employee satisfaction by reducing physical and mental stress. As a result, your employees will enjoy coming to work more than they did before, affecting those around them.

10. Lower Insurance Costs

Ergonomics in the workplace can help lower your insurance costs by reducing the risk of employees suffering from work-related injuries and illnesses. By reducing the number of Workers’ Compensation claims, you could be able to save on insurance premiums.

Ergonomic improvements such as adjustable workstations, ergonomic chairs and keyboards, and improved lighting can help reduce employee fatigue and improve your overall working environment. In such an ergonomic work environment, your employees are less likely to become injured on the job.

In addition, implementing ergonomic policies and programs can provide you with greater legal protection in case of a worker injury.

More Ideas

According to the National Institutes of Health, even small adjustments can improve comfort and productivity. They recommend the following for adults:

  • Eye exercises
  • Back exercises
  • Warming up first
  • Proper rest

For industrial environments, we recommend paying particular attention to these areas:

Designing for Ergonomics in the Workplace

It’s hard to picture ergonomics at work in your company if you haven’t incorporated the philosophy before.

To get you started, here are a few things to consider as you make changes to your workplace.

Get an Ergonomic Assessment

When the health of your employees is on the line, it’s often best to start by calling in an expert. Consider having a professional (often a physical or occupational therapist) evaluate your facility and offer recommendations. One such professional consulting institution is The Ergonomics Center of North Carolina State University. 

Even if you don’t have a formal assessment done, ask your employees how you could improve their workspaces and procedures. They know their jobs best and live with the consequences—good or bad—every day of their lives. They’ll be able to give you valuable insight into whether their tasks and spaces are ergonomic or not.

Ergonomic evaluation in industrial environment

Ask Employees to Report Injuries

Many times, employees are afraid to tell their managers about developing repetitive stress injuries. They fear backlash, being passed up for promotions, or other negative consequences. This can lead to ignoring minor injuries until they’re serious enough to warrant a workers’ comp claim.

To keep this from happening, encourage your staff members to report cumulative stress injuries as soon as they start to notice discomfort. Inform them that you’re working to improve both your equipment and processes to keep them healthy. Make sure they know they won’t get in trouble for speaking up, especially since their input can also help others who work the same job.

Minimize Awkward and Stressful Motions

In many industrial jobs, like packing, shipping, and material handling, repetitive motions are unavoidable. What you can avoid, though, are repetitive motions that are awkward or place undue stress on the body.

Make sure that your workstations keep everything within the proper ergonomic reach zones. Your employees should never have to twist or strain to reach items or operate the equipment.

Download reach zone guide

Don’t ignore the little things. Even changing the angle of a computer monitor, raising the height of a workstation, or providing a cushioned mat to stand on can make a huge difference.

Think Adjustable

Remember that workplace ergonomics have to fit individuals. Even if you make great accommodations for your first-shift employees, the benefits may go out the window if you leave things set up the same for the next shift.

Rather than setting up a different workstation to match each employee, invest in moveable and adjustable equipment. Using carts on casters instead of stationary tables can accommodate both right- and left-handed workers. Adjustable-height cantilever stations adapt to short and tall employees alike with the press of a button.

Vertical Ergonomic Reach Zones

A modern ergonomic workstation should be able to accommodate 90% of your users with ease. For the other 10%, adding accessories like a stool can still make it comfortable to use.

To make the transition between users easier, have each employee adjust the equipment to their needs and then mark the setting with their initials or a colored sticker. That way, when it’s time for a shift change, no one has to waste time figuring out how high they should raise chairs or tables. In addition, our powered workstations offer memory settings on the control switches that allow them to store their ergonomically sound working height.

Custom Workstations

Every industrial facility has different supplies, processes, and goals. As such, the ergonomic workstation your employees need often doesn’t exist in a mass-produced format.

When planning a custom workstation design, there are a few things you should keep in mind. First, make a list of every item the job requires. Organize that list by priority and frequency of use.

Next, make sure your employees will have easy access to all the inventory they use regularly. All their primary equipment should fall within the ergonomic reach zones mentioned earlier.

Finally, optimize your material handling processes. Provide equipment that keeps employees from having to lift heavy items up to their workstations or carry them for long distances.

Our 3D Builder tool will help you design workstations that meet the unique needs of your workforce and work processes.

Try our 3D workstation builder

Explain How to Use the New Equipment

Last but not least, even the best ergonomic equipment can lead to injuries if your employees don’t know how to use it. Make sure to go over how to adjust workstations, avoid awkward motions, and use proper lifting techniques.

Time to Implement an Ergonomics Program

Now that you’re aware of the essential benefits of ergonomics in the workplace and understand the initial considerations for incorporating ergonomics, it’s time to start implementing changes.

A good starting point is to plan your workstations. Make sure to consult with employees to gather their opinions and combine them with your own insights.

Analyze your situation, the layout, and your needs before making changes. With proper planning, you will achieve the best possible workplace.

Workstation planning checklist download

For more information, you should read more tips about helping set up ergonomic workstations for your business.

If you’d like to see how these ergonomic improvements positively impact businesses in real life, take a look at this customer success story. It walks you through, step by step, how a leading auto parts distributor used ergonomic solutions to significantly improve workflow within the facility.

Enjoy Your Ergonomic Work Environment Today

You’re one step closer to a better work environment for you and your co-workers. Now that you know these ten impressive benefits of ergonomics in the workplace, it’s time to shift things around. Remember to share with your employees the tips you learned today.

You can improve your business with the right resources and advice. We provide you with the information you need to succeed. Explore our ergonomics resource page for more in-depth information.

About the Author

Nina Neuschuetz
Nina Neuschuetz
As the Marketing Manager for BOSTONtec, Nina brings a wealth of experience with over 25 years of B2B marketing expertise in both the United States and Europe. Her tenure at BOSTONtec has been marked by a keen focus on ergonomics within the industrial market. Notably, she lead an ergonomic study in collaboration with the Ergonomics Center of North Carolina State University and developed comprehensive ergonomic guides for industrial and commercial workstation environments. Nina’s role extends to collaborating with customers and partners, guiding them through market trends and solutions tailored for the industry. She holds a post-graduate degree in Marketing and Business Administration from the University of Passau, Germany. Connect with Nina to explore ergonomic solutions and industry insights on her LinkedIn profile.

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