Being ergonomically friendly is one of the top requirements of a modern workplace. Ever since the importance of ergonomics in the workplace has been under focus, employers provide improved flexibility through flexible workspace plans. This has many benefits for both the employees and the overall performance of the organization.
While each workplace strives to achieve perfection when it comes to comfort and flexibility, an ergonomic assessment needs to be performed to ensure an organization performs to its maximum capability. There are various ways to carry out workplace ergonomic assessment to ensure you have the best rules and practices in your organization. This article will cover the importance of ergonomic workstation assessment and the right steps to proceed with the ergonomic assessment.
Importance of Ergonomics in Workplace
Ergonomics is a word commonly associated with modern workplaces for a while now. The whole idea of workplace ergonomics is to make things more comfortable and easy for both the employees and organizations. However, while most creative workspaces are not paying close attention to ergonomics in the workplace, many are still not aware of what is an ergonomic workspace?
An ergonomic workspace is simply a workplace that follows the engineering of ergonomics. It includes close attention to the capabilities, limitations, and comfort of the employees working in an organization. It also ensures diversity in the workplace so each individual can work according to their comfort level.
Having the right furniture is an integral part of setting up an ergonomic workplace; hence you will need to get the best ergonomic chair to make sure each user can adjust it according to their safety level and work accordingly. Another important consideration is to include people with special issues and needs.
For instance, a standing desk for people who suffer from lower back pain or even the best office chair for lower back pain ensures the sensitive crowd is cared for. And to make sure your organization is a place friendly enough for people of all groups, ergonomic assessment is important.
What is an Ergonomic Assessment?
Just like you would baby-proof the apartment when your young ones are growing up, ergonomic assessment assesses risk in the workplace that might lead to musculoskeletal injuries. A workplace is filled with various factors that, if left unattended, can lead to issues like permanent back pain or other nerve damages.
Thus, an ergonomic assessment’s objective is to identify and quantify these risk factors so that you may make concrete adjustments in the workplace. The cornerstone for establishing a safer, healthier, and less injury-prone workplace and enhancing overall workplace well-being is a complete ergonomic evaluation. HR may adopt data-backed actions to decrease injury and enhance comfort in their workplace after completing an ergonomic evaluation.
How to Conduct Ergonomic Assessment in the Workplace?
Now, if you want your workplace to pass all the steps for an ergonomic assessment, you must take a series of steps. These steps ensure no detail goes overlooked, and the final result is a workplace with proper comfort and a high level of flexibility for the employees. Here are a few easy steps to proceed with ergonomic assessment in the workplace.
Each workplace has some unfortunate incidents over time. Maybe employees had suffered a viral attack, or someone experienced a permanent back injury because of a wobbly chair. While it is hard to judge a workplace instantaneously, history always helps you understand a workplace better in a detailed way.
Workplace Performance Data
To get familiar with any work-related injuries, look at claims data, workplace injury reports, worker’s compensation records, first aid logs, and any other data you have. This will assist in identifying any higher-risk activities or departments, as well as prevalent injuries and complaints. In addition, this will allow you to concentrate your ergonomics evaluation and development efforts on the areas that will yield the best outcomes.
The Right Tools
After getting a detailed outlook on past injuries and occurrences at the workplace, you need to assess the current situation to discover the loopholes and identify the remaining areas of interest. For this process to go seamlessly, you need to gather enough data about using the right tools.
The National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health, for example, has created well-respected ergonomics evaluation methods that are freely available in the public domain. Therefore, you can pick the best tools depending on your final aim and your expected results.
Create an ergonomic assessment brief that explains your methodological, as well as the instruments you’ll need to collect subjective and objective data. Then, using the brief as a reference, make sure that each evaluation uses the same tools and documentation techniques. The following are some tools to think about using:
- Checklist for WISHA Caution Zones
- Checklist for Hazardous Areas (WISHA)
- (Check for phone applications!) WISHA Lifting Calculator or NIOSH Lifting Equation
- Rapid Upper Limb Evaluation (RULA)
- Rapid Assessment of the Entire Body (REBA)
- Calculator for Hand-Arm Vibration (HAV) by Snook Tables
Collect Subjective Data
Subjective data is what you will gather through the real-time experience of the workplace. Start by taking a walk through the workplace to learn about the current situation. You can check various zones for any limitations or lacking. A simple way is to find out the number of employees in the organization and then judge the number or types of furniture in the workplace.
To get a clear picture of the performance scenario, you can visit during the work hours where each employee will be seen working. By judging the happiness and satisfaction level of employees, you can get a clear idea of ergonomics. You can also judge the posture of employees and another great way is to take feedback from employees.
Analyze the Data
Make a prioritized list of risk factors and ways to mitigate them. Analyze all of your current data and the new subjective and objective data you collected throughout the evaluation, as its whole, as well as my job and department. Identify important insights and risk-mitigation possibilities, and rank them according to the likelihood of harm and severity of the workplace injury.
You can also encourage the importance of ergonomics through multiple training programs and creating awareness about the significance of ergonomics in the workplace.