What Is Ergonomics?
Ergonomics is a scientific discipline that studies the design of equipment and objects to optimise efficiency and comfort in the working environment. Ergonomics combines the knowledge and experience from other subjects such as anatomy, physiology, psychology, engineering and statistics to ensure that new designs complement the strengths and abilities of the buyers and minimise the effects of their limitations. Proper ergonomic design adapts to suit the individual and ensures that they aren’t forced to work in an uncomfortable or stressful manner. You usually don’t notice when something is designed well, unless it’s exceptionally good, because it gives us no reason to. You will however, notice poorly designed equipment as it will often cause ache and injury. When purchasing equipment to optimise your productivity and reduce your risk of injury or burnout, many human characteristics need to be taken into account. These characteristics can include the buyers: height, weight, proportions, hearing, sight, temperature preferences, and so on.
What Are The Benefits Of Ergonomics?
1) Improve your productivity!
Ensuring that your workstation allows for good posture, less exertion and fewer motions outside of your base of support will ensure that you are more efficient throughout your working day!
2) Reduce costs!
Your risk of repetitive strain or occupational related injury will be massively reduced by using ergonomic equipment. This is a great benefit for both boss and employee as it will have the knock on effect of reducing workers’ compensation and health insurance costs
3) Increased employee satisfaction!
An ergonomics program in the work environment will improve employee morale and productivity. No matter the work setting, whether it’s an office or manufacturing site, employees who are less fatigued and are able to work without discomfort are more productive, more alert and happier overall.
Ergonomic Risk Factors
There are many risk factors that may predispose an individual to developing a workplace related injury. These include:
- Repetition: Many work tasks are very repetitive in nature, and are frequently controlled by hourly or daily production targets and work processes. High task repetition, when combined with other risks factors such high force and/or awkward postures, can contribute to a work related injury.
- Forceful Exertions: Many work tasks require high force loads on the human body. Muscle effort increases in response to high force requirements, increasing associated fatigue which can lead to injury.
- Repetitive/Sustained Awkward Postures: Holding your body in awkward positions and postures place excessive force on joints and overload the muscles and tendons around the effected joint.
What Is The Best Ergonomic Equipment I Need?
Ergonomic Office Chair
A well-designed office chair will allow the user to sit in a balanced position. To avoid developing or compounding back problems, it is important to have an ergonomic chair that supports the lower back and evokes good posture whilst offloading the soft tissue structures such as muscles and tendons. Although sitting requires less physical effort than standing or walking, it still puts a lot of stress on the lumbar area. Combined effects of a sedentary lifestyle and a job that requires sitting can lead to many health problems. The selection of a suitable chair is a critical step in preventing health problems for people working in a sitting position.
Office Chair and Car Comfort Pillow
If you are sitting for long extended periods of time on a hard chair, you may experience the pain in your back, buttock, legs and calves getting worse! This is because whilst sitting uncomfortably the lumbar spine is typically forced into flexion, stretching the sciatic nerve and making it more likely to get compressed. A great way to decrease this pain and uncomfortable feeling is to use a memory foam seat cushion. Our favourite cushion is available here!
The benefits of an ergonomic laptop stand are numerous, and will bestow additional health benefits whilst preventing repetitive strain injury. The main benefit of laptop stands is that they provide the means to place a computing device, especially the screen, at a height that does not require the user to strain their neck or assume a bad posture in order to use the device comfortably. Any ergonomically designed laptop stand will also have the additional purpose of placing the integrated keyboard at a level that allows the user to type without having to strain their wrists and thus preventing carpal tunnel syndrome.
Upright Posture Trainer
Upright Posture is a novel postural training device that is also piece of wearable technology. You attach the device to your lower lumbar spine and it is configured in such a way that it alerts you when you slouch! It does this by gently vibrating. The Upright posture device is a very interesting piece of tech, and invaluable for people who work sitting at a desk for long periods of time.
You can buy the Upright Posture Trainer here!
An ergonomic keyboard is a fantastic ergonomic tool that reduces your risk of developing a repetitive strain injury of the wrist and hand, most notably carpal tunnel syndrome. These computer keyboards are designed with ergonomic considerations to minimize muscle strain and carpal tunnel compression, and are much more natural to the human form.