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Establish An Ergonomic Process
In order for our clients to deploy a successful ergonomic process and program within their companies, the process developed must be sustainable, business driven, cost effective and OSHA compliant. When implemented properly, this will help to improve overall employee comfort, productivity and morale levels while also reducing injuries, sick days, lost work time and Workers' Compensation Claims. To accomplish this program objective, four critical and important elements are required to launch an effective ergonomic process.
The Elements of the Ergonomic Process
1. The ergonomic process must be driven by risk identification, reduction strategies and management support. Once risk factors known to contribute to injury and illness are identified, the company must adopt a proactive approach to ergonomics by addressing these risks early and effectively. Waiting to respond only to actual injury and illness incidents will be costly. Responding to identified risks in a preventative action oriented manner will result in improved performance and employee attitudes.
2. An effective ergonomic process must allow for quick implementation of known solutions to correct identified risks. This is accomplished by revising and adjusting routines/activities and physical reconfiguration of workstations. The “not invented here” attitude will cause real damage to solving preventable costly incidents. The proactive approach is required by the company.
3. Ergonomics must be positioned to management as an opportunity to improve business performance through better management of the company’s “human assets.” This element is important to identify the cost reduction impact on the company’s profitability through implementation of these improvements based on a healthy work force and improved productivity.
4. Launching an effective ergonomic process requires the “buy in” of all levels of the corporate organization from top management, middle management, line supervision and direct /indirect employees. Ergonomics cannot be successful without the full commitment, participation, support and cooperation of the entire organization. With this approach, ergonomic risks are identified early in the process and actions can be taken to control existing or future employee exposure to these risks.
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What does ergonomics mean and how does it affect today’s workforce?
Ergonomics is a science. This science focuses on studying how people interact with their environment and how that environment impacts their overall safety and productivity, This science is specifically applied to people in their working environments and is usually used to improve working conditions, reduce the risk of injury, boost worker productivity, and as a result, improve profitability. Businesses rely on ergonomic consulting to have the expertise and knowledge to not only perform the proper assessments but also to accurately determine where the problem areas are and how to correct them in a cost-effective and sustainable way.
How does ergonomic consulting assess and determine risk factors?
When you utilize ergonomic consulting for your business, you are taking the first step toward a happier, safer, and more productive workforce. The goal of ergonomic consulting is to help you understand ergonomic risk and what to do to mitigate those risks. The first step in this process is observation. Observing your workforce as they interact with each other and their environment and while completing everyday tasks is the simplest aspect of ergonomic consulting. By using observation tools, we pinpoint the risk factors and start to come up with sustainable solutions for your company.
What are the risk factors being identified through ergonomic consulting?
Several types of specific risk factors exist in most work environments. When you utilize ergonomic consulting services, you can expect a detailed analysis of those risk factors, the primary causes of those risks, and what the potential outcomes might be if nothing is done. For example, a work environment could make workers more likely to sustain certain types of injuries or to contract a certain kind of illness. The principle behind ergonomic consulting is prevention. Preventing injuries and illnesses from occurring in the first place, rather than waiting until a costly incident takes place, will demonstrate to your workforce that you care about their wellbeing and will help you save money on implementing solutions after the fact.
How does ergonomic consulting boost employee productivity, leading to improved profitability?
When your employees see that you are utilizing ergonomic consulting to take steps to make their work environment safer, you will see a boost in employee moral. Moreover, the primary purpose of ergonomic consulting is to identify risks and then implement a process for mitigating those risks. Once the ergonomic solutions are in place, the result should be safer, healthier, and more comfortable workers, and a happy, healthy workforce will be better equipped to do their jobs well and to be more productive. Boosting productivity leads to improved profitability.
What should I look for in an ergonomic consultant?
The most important aspect of ergonomic consulting is results. An ergonomic consultant should be able to show you the results achieved for previous clients. Additionally, find out more about their tools and systems for analysis assessment. A crucial step to go from risk identification or solution implementation is analysis assessment. In this stage of the process, ergonomic consulting focuses on detailed analysis and analytical techniques, and usually, more high level experts are a part of the process. There experts can include occupational therapists, who are trained to identify the physical and psychological effects of the environment on the workers, and engineers, who have the ability and knowledge to design effective solutions for your workforce. With a team of qualified experts, ergonomic consulting will optimize your workplace and the productivity of your workforce.
Can ergonomic consulting help prevent musculoskeletal disorders for my workforce?
Musculoskeletal disorders can severely affect several important aspects of your body’s systems. Workers who are at risk of developing these types of disorders can see adverse effects to their ligaments, tendons, muscles, nerves, and blood vessels. Workers who are the most at risk for developing these types of issues are those who must lift, strain, push, pull, reach, or bend on a regular basis, as well as workers who complete repetitive tasks for long periods of time or who work in awkward positions for much of the day. As you can tell, these risk factors affect a large majority of the modern workforce. The identification and risk factors for and prevention of musculoskeletal disorders in your workforce is one of the reasons why ergonomic consulting is so important. Ergonomic consulting will help you implement systems and processes to prevent these serious injuries from happening to your workers.
How does ergonomic consulting help to implement new systems and processes?
There are several different ways that ergonomic consultants may provide the tools and resources needed to improve your workplace. In fact, training and advanced strategizing are key elements of ergonomic consulting. In some cases, training your workforce is necessary to implement new systems. While implementing your new systems and processes, part of ergonomic consulting is ensuring there is plenty of support for your management staff. Whatever training is necessary will be facilitated for managers and other workers. During the training process, problems or missteps are quickly identified and corrected and progress is consistently tracked. If any potential hazards or additional issues are found, steps to implement solutions are put in place right away.
How are my employees involved in the process of ergonomic consulting?
During the training process, your employees will be taught to see and avoid the identified risk factors and are trained on any new systems, processes, or equipment. During this stage of ergonomic consulting, employees are welcome to share their own ideas. Cost-effective and simple solutions often come from the workers themselves who work in the environment every day. Plus, employees are more likely to stick to a plan that they helped create.
What if small changes are not enough to effectively control potential hazards?
Advanced strategies go above and beyond getting ideas from workers. These may include significant investments from the company, advanced operational strategies, or major revisions to process standards. While most companies will not need to utilize advanced strategies, it is helpful to know that through ergonomic consulting, these services are available if and when you need them.