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Understanding Ergonomics

How often have we heard of inexpensive gadgets or fixes that claim to relieve sore backs or aching wrists?  Maybe we buy them.  We set them up.  We use them for a while, until, inevitably, we find them years later gathering dust in the corner of our office closet.  And we think, Oh, I remember that.  That didn’t work at all.

The unfortunate truth is that products like these pervade the ergonomics industry.  But this is not true ergonomics.  Blindly applying a generic solution when the root cause of the issue may not be understood will rarely result in positive outcomes, and it may even make the situation worse.

When looking to invest in ergonomics solutions, do not confuse what author and Certified Professional Ergonomist Ian Chong calls “voodoo ergonomics” for the real thing.  Also, be sure your ergonomist does not rely on such practices. Real solutions are only attained through professionals who can leverage scientific know-how and years of real-world experience to assess your workplace and design custom processes for you.

When ergonomics principles are applied correctly and systematically, workplace injuries and their costs are reduced or eliminated.  However, the benefits of ergonomics do not end with the direct costs saved through injury prevention.  Proper ergonomics often lead to increases in productivity, efficiency, and employee job satisfaction.  It should also reduce turnover, absenteeism, and the physical discomfort of those doing work.