Promoting Proactive Ergonomics
We can all agree that ergonomic assessments are important AFTER an injury has happened. But it shouldn’t just be about the claims. Making ergonomics part of the safety culture in your organization involves integrating it before injuries and complaints are heard. Here are a few ideas to make ergonomics an integral part of your workforce safety goals. Set employees up right from the start! Your efforts to increase ‘ergonomics visibility’ will help in the long run.
✓ Include ergonomics awareness training as a part of the new-hire process. Whether you give a session on Office Ergonomics or provide online training, empowering employees to know how to set up their office and adjust equipment properly can help to reduce claims down the road.
✓ Train your IT department in ergonomics. Many times, IT is your front line workstation set up for all new hires. If IT knows where to put the monitor, keyboard and CPU, you are one step ahead.
✓ Make ergonomics a part of your overall safety program. You already talk about the accidents that happened and include a healthy discussion on those ‘near miss’ events. Take the time to review any office ergonomics issues, too. Are these issues coming from one location? Is there a common piece of equipment that workers are complaining about?
✓ Cheers for the ‘Ergonomics Team’. Your ergonomics team can consist of site representatives that want to know more about ergonomics, a leader in your workforce, a facilities employee who is creative with solutions, or a front office person. When comfort counts, you want your ergonomics team knowledgeable and willing to try new ways to increase staff comfort. Announcements such as, “Meet your Ergonomics Team!” should be placed in the break room, on file cabinets, in newsletters, etc.
✓ Let everybody know what works. Broadcast the improvements you and your ergo team have made through ‘before and after photos’, articles in newsletters or highlight ergonomic innovation in your safety bulletins. Create an “Ergo KUDO” section for ideas brought up by the ergo team or others in the workforce that enforce positive workstation improvements.
Interweaving the concepts and principles of ergonomics from new hire on-boarding to retirement can go far in addressing employee comfort, an aging workforce, claims reduction and employee morale throughout their careers in your workforce.