Tips for creating a healthy working environment for your staff
Ergonomics experts study people in workplace, and propose changes to their physical environments and habits to prevent injury. The objective is to prevent pain and discomfort leading to medical conditions, to promote a healthier and more sustainable workforce. Most of these injuries and progressive disorders are unknowingly brought on by the daily movements, posture, and equipment supplied to workers. As an employer or manager, you should know how to make ergonomics work for you.
Among the most common injuries in North America, we find carpal tunnel, tendinitis, muscle strain and degenerative disc disease. These can not only lead to an unhappy and uncomfortable workforce, but also cause high levels of absenteeism and cripple your company’s productivity. Not to mention the increased insurance premiums for disability claims by your workers. Learning about ergonomics is now among the top corporate wellness trends to improve the workplace, and for good reason.
Offer them training: Owners and Managers must provide ergonomics training to their employees, or all the equipment upgrades in the world won’t solve their problems. When employees understand the value of ergonomics, how to identify injuries, and why they should report their pains early, everyone wins. An ergonomic workplace and proper training will help cut down injuries, especially when employees can identify their own ailments and tell their employer before it gets worse.
Provide the right furniture & equipment: The company is responsible for creating a work environment that is ergonomic for its staff. This is key in preventing injuries, which will reduce the time missed due to such disorders and increase productivity. Their chairs, desks, computer screens, keyboards, office lighting, ventilation systems, heating and air conditioning, and amount of natural light in the workspace will all have huge impacts on the long-term wellness experience at your company.
Easy Ergonomics Tips for the Individual
- Learn sitting positions for good posture, as well as standing, and performing physical tasks. Feet should be flat on the floor, with legs be bent at a right angle. The back should be arched slightly inward with neck straight, and your arms should also be bent at right angles. Keep your wrists straight, with the fingers dangling down comfortably.
- Avoid leaning your head forward when reading your computer screen. The shoulders follow, and this puts lots of unnatural strain on the neck, which should not be supporting the weight at that angle.
- Use keyboard wrist rests Your wrists should not be bent or touch the pad while you type. Rest your wrists on the pad only when not typing.
- Drink 6 to 8 glasses of water throughout the day. An affordable gym-style plastic water bottle (with twist cap) will keep water at your workstation without spilling or creating waste with paper cups. Fruit juice, soft drinks and sports drinks don’t take the place of natural water, which is still the best thing to sustain your body.
Healthy employees are the key to success in business. Creating an ergonomically sound environment for employees is a moral and corporate responsibility, and makes owners, managers, insurance companies, and the workers themselves happy!