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When Do You Know You Need An Ergonomist?
Oct 26, 2022
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The awareness about workplace ergonomics has increased by several folds over the past few years. An increasing number of employers have started to realize the fact that they can't have their employees work at their maximum potential if they aren't comfortable at work. Today, many businesses have come around to the idea of putting employee safety and satisfaction first, and this has resulted in enhanced employee retention and improved outcomes.

Most companies that are revamping their offices or building new ones hire an ergonomist to help them set an ergonomic work environment where their employees are both safe and comfortable. Some companies hire ergonomists to inspect their offices and give feedback on how they can improve the ergonomics around the place.

If you're one of those employers who don't really understand what the job of an ergonomist is, how they can help your business, and when is the right time to hire one, you've come to the right place. This blog post helps you get a better understanding of an ergonomist's role and know when is the best time to hire one for yourself.

Ergonomist

Role of an Ergonomist

An ergonomist is an expert in occupational health whose job is to design efficient and comfortable equipment and furniture for factories and offices. These professionals are well-versed in human anatomy, and they use their knowledge to craft solutions and products that can minimize the physical strain on workers, regardless of the industry. Some of the most prominent roles of an ergonomist are:

Help Engineers Design Ergonomic Items

Most manufacturers that produce office furniture and factory equipment hire ergonomists to help them design and produce ergonomic products like chairs, desks, machines, and any other equipment that may be a source of discomfort to the workers. An ergonomist is responsible for conducting research about the most commonly reported complaints regarding health and then using this information to design products that help reduce the risk of injury or physical discomfort. For example, people who've got to spend most of their day sitting in front of their computer screens often complain about lower back pain. An ergonomist can use this information to design an office chair that offers superior back support like the 1368(Mesh Chair) Ergonomic Office Mesh Chair.

Help Identify Potential Hazards at a Workplace

You may not realize the numerous hazards at your workplace that may be putting employee safety and well-being at risk because you might have never evaluated your space that way. You don't even have to do that yourself because there are ergonomists to do that for you. An ergonomist inspects workplaces and identifies potential hazards that you may have overlooked. For example, you may not realize the lighting in your office is a potential hazard, but an ergonomist will be able to point it out.

Poor lighting in an office puts excessive strain on the eyes. Other potential hazards include workstations that are all of the same height and have the same leg space. Now, not all employees are the same height and require the same leg space, do they? Then your office may have chairs that don't have an adjustable height feature or adjustable back support, which is again a problem because the comfort needs of everyone can't be the same.

Offer Training on Occupational Health and Safety

Even after you've revamped your office space to make it more ergonomics-friendly, not all employees would understand the importance of using the equipment correctly. Let's say you invested in ergonomic chairs for all employees, but you see that most employees are still seated at the edge of their seats and work in a slumped posture. This is where an ergonomist can help you. With occupational health and safety training, an ergonomist can educate your employees on the importance of ergonomics and how they can ensure that their physical well-being isn't compromised because of their incorrect occupational practices.

Signs That You Need an Ergonomist

Signs That You Need an Ergonomist

As we said earlier, newer companies hire ergonomists when they're setting up their workplaces to ensure that their workplace follows ergonomics from the day they open. However, there are companies that have been working under the same conditions for years, and they don't really know they need an ergonomist. To help you improve the safety of your workplace and employees and ensure that your employees are working comfortably, we've listed down some of the signs that indicate that it's about time you hire an ergonomist.

High Occurrence of Workplace Injuries

If the number of workplace injuries reported is on the rise, you need to be alerted that something isn't right. In workplaces where the workers are involved in tasks like lifting, pulling, pushing or carrying heavyweights like that in a factory warehouse, the chances of workers getting hurt due to incorrect material handling are pretty high. Did you know that there's a right and wrong way to lift the weight? If you lift or carry weight incorrectly, it can put excessive stress on your back and knees, and you can end up badly injured. The workers need to be educated about ergonomics which will help them take better care of themselves at work. If too many workplace injuries are being reported, you've got to bring in an ergonomist who'll not only help you design an ergonomic work environment but will also help educate the employees about the correct way to do things.

Employees are Reporting Discomfort and are Absent Often

If you notice many of your employees calling their days off because they aren't feeling too well or are too tired or exhausted, you need to get in touch with an ergonomist soon. If your workplace has poor ergonomics, the employees are bound to feel fatigued and exhausted. If they are sitting in incorrect posture all day long or their job requires them to stand for long hours, how can they not feel tired? If your employees are complaining about their chair not being comfortable enough or you're receiving an increasing number of healthcare-related insurance claims, it's about time you have an ergonomist tell you how to improve the ergonomics of your workplace.

You Know the Problems but Don’t Know the Solutions

Many times, you might know what the problem is, but you wouldn't know what to do about it. Let's say you understand that all the work desks in your office are installed at the same height, and it's just not right as all your employees are of varying heights. However, you've got no clue how to address this problem. An ergonomist will be able to help you at this point. You can have them provide ergonomic solutions and transform your workplace into one where all employees are comfortable.

You are Unsure About Hazards

You are Unsure About Hazards

Sometimes, you may not be really sure if a certain issue is a potential hazard for the employees. When you're unsure, you can't possibly mitigate it. There might be a disagreement among the managers, some saying a certain factor is a risk and others saying it's not. Like we said above, an ergonomist can help identify potential hazards in your office. If this is the case, you can always have an ergonomist give their expert input and mitigate all the potential hazards that may be putting your employee's health and safety at risk.

Help You with a Physical Demand Analysis

Some jobs are more physically demanding than others. And not everyone is fit enough to do all sorts of jobs. It'll only waste your time and resources to hire someone for a job only to find them physically unfit later. If you're failing to hire people of appropriate fitness levels for physically demanding jobs, you should consider hiring an ergonomist. They'll help you conduct a Physical Demand Analysis at the time of hiring to ensure that the individual you're hiring is physically capable of pulling off the job they're being hired for.

You Don’t Know How to Optimize Performance and Safety

If you can't correlate the importance of correct engineering and design of a workplace and employee psychology, you might end up putting employee safety at risk. Getting things done at the right time isn't the most important thing. What's more important is to ensure that the physical and psychological well-being of the employee isn't getting compromised along the way. If that's a problem for you, you should most definitely hire an ergonomist. An ergonomist will be able to optimize the workplace operational model to ensure employee safety and thereby ensure maximum output.

An ergonomist might just be the missing key you don't have to ensure you're keeping your employees happy. Always remember that if your employees aren't comfortable at work, their efficiency and productivity will get impacted, and your employee retention rate may also fall significantly. If you want your employees to work at their best potential, you've got to ensure that you're providing them with the highest possible comfort at work.



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