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My Introspective

by Laurus Nobilis
My BrainCast

Human Resources

Workplace Ergonomics (I)

 

Workplace Ergonomics

 

 

What is the progressive goal setting? What makes the balance between overstretching and realistic goal setting?

 

Posted: Sep 2009


At the beginning of 18th century doctors started to realize that workers, after being at certain posture for a longer period of time, are having a certain muscular and skeletal problems. Research done during the past 20 years has shown that there is connection between specific working position and frequent injuries. The injuries are the element that can increase employee turnover.

This is influenced by two different elements - static and motion. Static element of ergonomic is the position at which some work is done. For example, sitting in front of the computer does not require a huge physical work. But at same time the body is spending a lot of time at the same position. during that time the head and torso may be lean forward. Spending a long period of time in that position can cause a certain problems with spine and neck. From the other side, the motion element of ergonomics represent the situation where worker is performing a certain operation that requires repetitive movement of the body. For example, the worker operating machine at the factory is repetitively turning the lever on up and down. Continuous and repetitive movement with the arm can cause certain injuries of arm muscles and joints.

The expression "Ergonomics" origins from Greek words "Erg" - meaning work and "Nomoi" - meaning laws of nature. Ergonomics is researches the capabilities of people and demands of a certain workplace. The function of ergonomics is to reduce unnecessary work at a certain workplace, as well to reduce strain. 

Responsibility of every employer is to provide ergonomically optimal workplace. The obligation of the employee is to respect regulations and instructions related to specific workplace. General advices related to workplace ergonomics are:

  • Every working activity should be designed in a way that gives opportunity to employee to apply several different safe and healthy bodily postures.

  • Physical work of higher intensity should engage more muscle groups, in order to not to affect only one group of muscles.

  • Work place should not be distracting and depressive. Otherwise such workplace will reduce productivity and increase sick leave rate.

  • Workplace should be designed in a way that enables maximum output with minimal physical engagement possible. 

Design of every working position requires a good knowledge of working processes, ergonomics principles, as well as abilities and limitation of human body. Further more, motivational element is also very important, since monotonous labor can cause decrease of productivity. Indirectly this can cause lack of focus on working process and injury.

The expression "Ergonomics" origins from Greek words "Erg" - meaning work and "Nomoi" - meaning laws of nature. Ergonomics is researches the capabilities of people and demands of a certain workplace. The function of ergonomics is to reduce unnecessary work at a certain workplace, as well to reduce strain. 



Tips for reducing static ergonomic strains:

  • If you are sitting at the desk stand up every 15-20 min and walk around the office for around 1-2 minutes.

  • Stretch the muscles of arms, legs and neck briefly and slowly for about 1 minute every 1 hour.

  • Exercise, walk or run 2-3 times per week for 1 hour.

  • Visit physiotherapist once per month. In case that you have a certain problems increase frequency to 1-2 times per week.

  • In case that you have uncomfortable chair, desk, obsolete computer with flickering screen, poor room illumination, noise or ventilation, negotiate with your employer for improvement of working conditions.  

 

Tips for motion ergonomic strains:

  • Try several different motions for the same operation e.g. using left and right arm proportionally while operating the machine.

  • Rotate on different machines with other colleagues e.g. 1 hour on one machine, one hour on other machine...

  • Respect machine operational manual advices.

  • Respect Ergonomics and Health & Safety regulations provided by employer.

  • Visit physiotherapist once per month, or as needed.

  • Exercise medium demanding activities.

  • Provide regular sleep cycle prior to working day. 

  • Hard physical work may require enriched and balanced nutrition. Avoid alcohol during the week. 

  • In case of any ergonomics problems related to the workplace apply to the employer.  

The workplace ergonomic influences the employee motivation. The Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs shows how the employee needs are structured.

 

 

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