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Understanding Ergonomics

How often have you heard of equipment or gadgets that claim to eliminate injuries, relieve sore backs, or soothe aching wrists?  Maybe you buy them, set them up, and have employees use them for a while.  Then, sometime later, you find that people do not use the equipment.  Then you realize, Oh, I remember that. It didn’t work at all.

The unfortunate truth is that products and equipment like these pervade the ergonomics industry.  But this is not true ergonomics.  Blindly applying a generic solution, when the root cause of the issue is not fully understood, will rarely result in positive outcomes.  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 findings 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 just with injury prevention.  Proper ergonomics often lead to increases in productivity, efficiency, and employee job satisfaction.  It can also reduce turnover, absenteeism, and the physical discomfort of those doing work.

Contact Dr. Gary Allread, SRI-Ergonomics Program Director, to Learn More: