What Are Ergonomics?
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recognizes ergonomics as one of the core six safety hazards in the workplace. When these spaces aren't designed for ergonomic benefits, workers can have higher rates of repetitive stress injuries, musculoskeletal disorders, or even mental disorders related to their day-to-day tasks.
Ergonomics involves structuring and designing different aspects of the office/site/other workspace for employees to perform their functions efficiently and safely. There are three main types:
Read on to learn more about how changes in these three categories can be implemented to reduce injuries.
As the name suggests, physical ergonomics focuses on how different activities impact the body. Lifting heavy objects, making repetitive motions like typing, or even having incorrect posture can be influenced by physical ergonomics.
Some of the ways these strains can be altered ergonomically include:
- Adjusting the height of standing workstations for the specific task being worked on.
- Investing in ergonomic chairs that allow for changing posture throughout the day.
- Using a keyboard that is "v-shaped" or elevates the wrists.
- Using tools with extension handles to avoid prolonged bending or kneeling.
Cognitive ergonomics center around how well the device being used or working conditions are aligned with the cognitive (mental) capabilities of the employee. Especially in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) where systems may be more complex or high-tech, understanding how ergonomics plays a role is essential.
Furthermore, cognitive ergonomics also relates to an employee's training, mental workload, and stress levels. As such, making ergonomic adjustments like appropriate lighting and room layout in the workplace, user-centered software and automation, and consistent communication are key.
Organizational ergonomics are more abstract in that they include the overall structures and processes of a workplace with a goal of a unified system. These can consist of more interpersonal situations like communication and teamwork and more process-oriented focuses like designing work schedules and quality control. Ultimately, organizational ergonomics relies more on the human experience of being in the workplace.
Should a company lack organizational ergonomics, it could affect the other areas as well, especially where communication is involved. When employees are not probably prepared to handle their tasks from an organizational or communication standpoint, it could increase the likelihood of injury-causing hazards.
The Law Offices of Nathaniel F. Hansford, LLC is Here for Injured Workers
The team at The Law Offices of Nathaniel F. Hansford, LLC has decades of experience ensuring that workers throughout Georgia receive the workers' compensation they are entitled to following a work accident. We also aim to hold businesses accountable for negligent conditions that contributed.
If you've been injured in the workplace and are looking to understand your legal options, schedule a free consultation with our team by calling (770) 741-2825.