In this article I would like to focus on the importance of ergonomics. The definition of ergonomics according to the Oxford Language dictionary is the study of people’s efficiency in their working environment. Ergonomics is to help with strain reduction; minimizing fatigue; and decreasing injuries in the workplace by improving product design and workspace arrangements. The history of ergonomics dates all the way back to Hippocrates who is often considered the ‘Father of Medicine. Hippocrates gave a detailed description of how a surgeon’s workplace should be designed and how his tools should be arranged. That is an example of an ergonomic principle.
Ergonomics has a direct positive impact on improving health outcomes for workers. When a body works in a way that is not ergonomically friendly, it creates stress through awkward postures, or repeated movements. This can lead to many health issues in the body’s skeletal system. Ergonomics seeks to combat these problems in a number of ways.
A properly set up computer work station can prevent muscle strain from holding uncomfortable positions for long periods of time. This change which may seem minor is easy to design and low-cost. The modification saves the employer time and money by helping to decrease future health concerns developing in employees combined with increased productivity. Ways to improve work environments can include: altering desk heights; incorporating the use of telephone handsets with headsets to reduce neck strain; adjusting your chair before starting your shift and again after lunch; sitting with your monitor 16-29 inches away from your head, with your eyes position looking straight ahead at the top third of the monitor screen; and having your keyboard tilted so your arms remain straight from the forearm through the hand during the typing process. There are more methods of implementing ergonomics than there is space to list them, but they all attempt to prevent strain on the person doing work so the body works at maximum efficiency. (Information for this article was found in the OSHA Education Center’s article: “Easy Ways to Improve Your Ergonomics”)
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