Can Ergonomics Prevent Personal Injury?
Ergonomics is the study of how humans work and how humans interact with equipment they use to work. In the office an ergonomic survey would study how an employee’s main activities affect their health. Sitting at a desk in a bad position can cause musculoskeletal problems, for example, and repetitive activities like typing can cause something know as RSI or repetitive strain injury. There have been numerous personal injury claims made because of muscular-skeletal and RSI injuries, so reducing the potential for these problems to develop will reduce the amount of personal injury claims that can be made, and in the long run will save employers money and employees stress.
What can ergonomics do?
In 2009/2010 26.4 million days were lost overall due to work-related illness or workplace injury at an average of 15 days per case. In total this cost society an estimated £14 billion. In 2010/11 up to 508,000 people self-reported cases of musculoskeletal disorders due to their work. Proper ergonomics can significantly reduce the amount of work-related musculoskeletal disorders and RSI in the workplace because it reduces physical stress put on your body. Things like monitor arms which can be adjusted to move your screen into the proper position reduces eye strain and encourages workers to sit in a healthy position. Ergonomics chairs provide support for the back and neck thereby reducing the possibility of musculoskeletal disorders developing. The chairs can be adjusted for each individual person according to their needs. The right equipment can eradicate the risk factors which make RSI and musculoskeletal disorders more likely in the work place.
Following HSE guidelines
The HSE now has specific guidelines about ergonomics in the office and these guidelines have been quoted in personal injury claim cases in order to earn claimants compensation. This means that if your office isn’t keeping up with ergonomic recommendations then it does leave itself open to claims being brought against it. Ergonomics then don’t just safeguard employees in terms of health, but they also safeguards employers in legal terms.
It seems then that ergonomics can have significant impact in reducing the likelihood of personal injury claims in the office. Moreover, ergonomics can save you money. Implementing a proper ergonomic plan then is a wise move in the office environment.