Source : Article Snatch

Not everyone understands the importance of ergonomics and how good ergonomics can benefit the employees as well as employers. Ergonomics is the study of “fitting” people and their work. It is a interaction with the equipment, surrounding environment, job task and activities. A work ergonomics physiotherapist can advice on the company’s ergonomics, hazards and risks, suggestions for improvements and help to develop into a safe, effective productive work system.

Many aspects are looked into during the physiotherapist’s ergonomics assessment such as job nature and tasks and demands on the worker. The equipment being used, considering its size, shape and appropriateness for the task are also assessed. The physical environments such as temperature, lighting, noise, vibration are also taken into consideration.

Most importantly, the physical aspect of a person: body shapes and size, fitness and strength, posture at work, health condition, previous history of neck or back pain or injuries, any stresses onto joints, muscles and nerves. At times, psychological aspect of a person such as stress level, knowledge, and experience also placed a role in ergonomics.

Researches have showed that 80% of office workers suffered from neck and back pain. When good work ergonomics are implemented by physiotherapists, it was found to reduce neck and back pain as well as work related injures such as repetitive stress injuries, shoulder stiffness and wrist strain.

In addition, good work ergonomics reduces potential accidents and injuries. Improves productivity, job satisfaction and work performances. This significantly benefits employers keeping medical bills and leave low and at the same time increasing work production and good working attitude.

The most common ergonomics risk in office workers are sitting postures and their habits. Physiotherapists advice to adopt a good posture at work. Sit up straight and align the ears, shoulders, and hips in a straight vertical line.

Staying in a fixed single position, even a good sitting posture will strain neck or back if prolonged more than 30minutes. Leaning forward with a straight back can alternate with sitting back, using the back support of the office chair to ease the stress of back muscles. Workers must be aware and avoid unbalanced postures such as crossing legs unevenly while sitting, leaning to one side, hunching the shoulders forward or tilting the head.

The solution to good ergonomics is simple. Whether you’re sitting in an office chair or standing in a line, change positions frequently. Take short mini-breaks every 20-30 minutes of static posture. Stand or sit, stretch or take a short walk. After returning to the standing or sitting posture, use an alternate posture for just a few moments can significantly reduce backaches and neck pain.

To prevent ergonomics strain and injuries, workers must keep themselves healthy and fit. Strengthening back muscles and core stability is essential for office workers. If neck or back starts to strain or pain is felt, one must seek physiotherapy help early.

Office worker may have good ergonomics desk and ergonomics chair, but if they are not adopting a good working posture, good working habits and healthy exercises, it defeats the purpose of such expensive ergonomics workstation. In fact, understanding the importance of good ergonomics solutions and suggestions by physiotherapists are simple and cost effective. Having a good ergonomics at workplace will definitely be a win-win situation for the employers and employees alike.