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Understanding Ergonomics

Ergo Keyboard

How often have you heard of products or equipment that claim to eliminate injuries, relieve sore backs, or soothe aching wrists?  Maybe you buy them, set them up, and have employees try them during their jobs.  Then, sometime later, you find they are no longer being used, causing you to realize they were not appropriate for the situation.

The unfortunate truth is that such items claiming to be "ergonomic" are commonly marketed to safety & health professionals.  Such so-called solutions are not true ergonomics.  Blindly applying a generic solution, when the root cause of the issue may not be not fully understood, will rarely result in a positive outcome, and it may even make the situation worse.

When looking to invest in feasible ergonomics interventions, do not confuse what author and Certified Professional Ergonomist Ian Chong calls “voodoo ergonomics” for the real thing.  Even further, be sure that those who serve to provide your ergonomics resources do not rely on such practices either.  Real solutions are only attained from professionals who leverage scientific findings and years of real-world experience to improve workplaces and practices within the context of the work situation.

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: