Ergonomics is all about the study of work: making sure that you don’t cause undue pressure to parts of your body; ensuring that if your job means a repetitive movement you remember to build in sufficient breaks to allow for muscles to relax; using the right tools for the job. Addressing the last point first will have a positive knock-on effect on the other two points.
In any kind of work, we often say that if a job is not done to an acceptable standard, that maybe the person didn’t have the right equipment for the job. Try to do an electrical job with kitchen rather than professional tools (e.g. stripping the plastic sheath from cable by using a sharp knife (yes, I’ve done it and the wire kept breaking) and you will see how the task becomes more difficult and can be both hazardous and stressful. So, weighing up the needs of the situation and getting the right equipment makes sense, doesn’t it?
Looking at sedentary work, the same rules should apply. In an ordinary day at the office, work will involve movement of paperwork or boxes recall the health and safety rules for correct lifting, twisting and turning in your office chairs to reach things on the desk, hours of typing and the list goes on, depending on the specifics of the job in hand. So, due care and diligence is needed in an office environment, the same as in any other kind of work.
In today’s busy world, we don’t seem to have time for thinking straight, yet creating an ergonomic office really is a must. If an accident happens, you will be troubled with afterthought, realising that ‘if you had only done this’ or ‘thought of doing that’, the accident may never have happened. The result of even a minor accident can be time off work, compensation, or even a permanent disability.
As an employer, it makes sense to think ahead and to forward plan the working environment. Seeking advice from someone ‘in the know’ helps make sure that costly mistakes are not made, when purchasing ergonomic chairs and ergonomic desks, as the responsibilities of a job in one environment might be different to another. Also, we human beings are all different shapes and sizes and there are lots of ergonomic office chairs out there, ranging from basic office design to standing seats and kneeling chairs. Such thought and consideration will make for a safer environment, better working conditions, happier staff and improved output.