Ergonomics and the Work Environment

Creating an ergonomic work environment involves more than simply acquiring the best ergonomic tools and supplies for the workplace. As important as they are, creating a functional ergonomic workplace involves a mental assessment as well. The success of the assessment also depends on being able to identify and effectively address ergonomic problems in the workplace. This is not always possible when a person doesn’t have the knowledge of what ergonomics is and the ergonomic basics for the office.

“Ergonomics”, as defined by Merriam Webster is “an applied science concerned with designing and arranging things people use so that the people and things interact most efficiently and safely.” Creating an ergonomically efficient workplace requires the removal of impediments that exist between workers and their work. Some examples of such impediments include poor office lighting, office furniture or tools unsuited to work tasks, poorly designed computer keyboards, etc. These seemingly trivial ergonomic inefficiencies have the potential to reduce work performance, cause health issues, and adversely impact profitability. Identifying and resolving ergonomic issues such as these requires training the entire staff, but the payoff is an optimal work environment that boosts both job performance and staff morale.

Ergonomics Training – Steps to Success

The first key to ergonomics training success

The first key to training success begins with knowing one’s audience and understanding their particular needs in relation to the training material. Regarding ergonomic training, this should include an understanding of the different roles and responsibilities of the audience members in each training session. If the process is to be a success, training materials and content should be adapted to the varying roles and responsibilities of staff. For example, training objectives for frontline employees might focus on identifying ergonomic inefficiencies and problems at their workstations. The training emphasis for supervisors would emphasize the impact an ergonomic intervention can have on business profits such as ROI, benefits of outfitting the entire company with ergonomic computer accessories, employee satisfaction, engagement, and productivity. Supervisors should also be trained on specific ergonomic devices, such as how to adjust an ergonomic keyboard, so they can pass this knowledge on to employees and make sure they are getting the most out of their devices. Helping all staff meet their different responsibilities is vital to creating buy-in to the training objectives.

The second key to ergonomics training success

Hands on demonstrations are another effective approach to successful ergonomic training. Rather than simply “telling” employees how to maximize ergonomic efficiencies in the workplace, offer demonstrations at workstations, shop tables or other workplace environments appropriate to each training session audience. Engaging, tactile demonstrations foster memory retention of the material and further empower staff to help and train coworkers.

Our last tip for  ergonomics training success

Lastly, ongoing communication is vital to any successful training effort. Regularly remind staff of their role in achieving an ergonomically efficient workplace and of its benefits to both their work performance and their overall mental and physical wellness. Gather feedback on the ergonomic training content after training has been completed. Whether through surveys or one-on-one dialogues, employee feedback helps improve the immediate impact and lasting efficacy of training content.

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“Ergonomics Definition & Meaning.” Merriam-Webster, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/ergonomics.