When did you last consider ergonomics in the workplace?
Is it a safe working environment for your employees?
The goal of ergonomics in the workplace is to allow the worker to reach maximum productivity with minimal impact on their health. Any activity that requires a person has to lift, move, or support a load, is classed as a manual handling task.
Most workplaces have tasks that require an employee to lift, carry and move items, and/or people, from place to place. This is an area in which the need for Health and Safety is obvious. Lifting items by bending the back rather than the knees; stretching up to lift things from above head height; carrying loads that are too heavy; carrying items that are so big that they impede vision; having a workspace that is cluttered and, therefore, hazardous to walk through, are just some examples of how workplace injury can take place.
A less obvious area for proactive ergonomics in the workplace is in the office, where the optimum height and positioning of computers, desks, chairs, monitors, photocopiers, etc., are all essential for the ongoing comfort and good health of workers. Back pain is one of the leading causes of absence from work, and the implementation of correct procedures can help to ensure the wellbeing of employees.
All employers who have DSE (Display Screen Equipment) users who regularly spend a significant part of their day using computers, etc. should carry out the following:
- Analyse workstations to assess and reduce risk
- Make sure controls are in place
- Provide information and training
- Provide eye and eyesight test on request, and spectacles if needed
- Review the assessment when the user, or DSE changes
Fatigue, eye strain, upper limb problems and backache can all stem from badly designed workstations or poorly placed equipment.
These guidelines on ergonomics in the workplace can help to ensure employee comfort…
- The workstation should be large enough to hold all equipment and paperwork necessary to complete tasks without having the employee having to crane their neck.
- Angle the screen and adjust the brightness level to reduce glare.
- Ensure that the screen is at eye level to avoid unnecessary neck strain.
- A worker’s arms should be horizontal to their body and the mouse within easy reach.
- Ensure that there is a space in front of the keyboard so that the wrists have somewhere to rest
- There must be ample room beneath the desk for the legs to move. Provide a footrest if necessary for smaller individuals.
- The chair provided is comfortable and support the back.
- Ensure that your employees take regular breaks from looking at the screen and that they get out of their chairs and move about.
This is by no means an exhaustive list so if you require more detailed information the fully-trained team here at Mackin Consultancy can give you expert advice when it comes to Ergonomic in the workplace.