Search This Blog

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Ergonomics Matters

How has the integration of ergonomics impacted employees and their jobs?

In today’s workplace health and safety is a critical factor which relates directly to organizational productivity and efficiency.  As illustrated in the article, “Achieving organizational effectiveness through Health Management and Ergonomics”, written by Naidu Munirathinam T. and Ramesh G, the utilization of good ergonomics results in less absenteeism.  Employees are able to maintain ideal postures as well as put less stress on their body over time. As a result, fitting the job itself to the workers ability is optimized.  In addition, the use of correct body movements and posture deters health problems such as musculoskeletal disorders.

Through researching I have conducted a list of variables that employers should enact on in providing a healthy working atmosphere which include:
  • Providing employees with adjustable work chairs that have lumbar support
  • Allow for short break and stretches to avoid burnout on joints and muscles
  • Proper placement of tools and equipment so that employees are using correct lifting procedures, correct body alignment to machinery, etc
What is the best way to implement correct ergonomics in the workforce?

Through researching ergonomics, whether the organization is in an office, industrial or manufacturing setting, organizations need to implement health maintenance programs to ensure that their employees are putting the least amount of stress on their bodies.
Benefits derived from integrating strong health maintenance are:
  • Better working environment/conditions
  • Periodic medical examination for all employees
  • Proactive stance towards employee health and safety
  • Decrease in Worker’s Compensation cost
As stated by Angela K. Miles et al, ”Job-design analysis, which is the thorough examination of job task requirements, is a tool utilized to identify workplace hazards and tasks and to compare task demands to worker capabilities (Grant, 1996). Ergonomic practices are then integrated into the design of jobs and work areas to eliminate hazards and to match task demands with worker capabilities”.
Additionally, in order to correctly implement ideal ergonomic practices one must correlate the ergonomics into job design.  Furthermore, in order for ergonomics to be conducted correctly, employees must be provided with a safe working environment within their workplace.  Some examples of safe working environments relate to working conditions such as ventilation and temperature, good illumination within the work area as well as taking breaks in between work related activities.

How does this impact business and consumers?

Businesses must implement strong health management programs in order to get the most out of their employees.  In addition, healthy employees will result in greater productivity for the organization which will also result in less waste and higher returns.  This will impact all industries because correct ergonomics can be related to any business unit today.  For example, in an office setting ergonomic chairs and keyboards will allow the employee to have correct posture which in turn will deter health issues such as carpel tunnel syndrome.   As illustrated in “Operations Management” by William J. Stevenson and Mehran Hojati, in a kitchen cabinet industry one can use technological advancements such as tilted work space with a piece holding jig to keep the employees stance and posture in correct form.  As a result wear and tear on the employee’s body is kept to a bare minimum.

Benefits derived from using ergonomics in a workplace setting:
  • Retaining valuable employees due to desirable working conditions
  • Help reduce costs due to implementation of safety
  • Better quality of work resulting in competitive advantages
  • Increased morale, reduced stress/injuries (better working facilities)
  • Maintain & improve productivity of employees
  • Helps organizations achieve competitive advantages over rivals in their related industry
Consumers will be impacted by:
  • Higher quality goods/product
  • Less lead times because of correctly implemented ergonomics  (time required to perform tasks)
  • Increase in overall customer satisfaction
In conclusion, integration of health management systems/programs within a workplace will allow for an increase in productivity and efficiency.  As discussed in the class, productivity and efficiency are greatly related to the functions of operations management.  Additionally, providing the right tools and educating employees through the health management systems will allow for a healthy and safe working environment which directly relates to employee morale and well being.  As a result, employees will feel better about their job and perform to their greatest abilities.  Organizations need to understand the importance of ergonomics in all workplace settings in order to truly gain a competitive advantage in today’s market.

Naidu, M. T., & Ramesh, G. G. (2011). Achieving Organizational Effectiveness through Health Management and Ergonomics. Advances In Management, 4(4), 28-31.
Journal of Applied Social Psychology Volume 41, Issue 4, pages 729–772, April 2011 Article first published online: 18 APR 2011 DOI: 10.1111/j.1559-1816.2011.00734.x
Stevenson, W., & Hojati, M. (2011). Operations Management: Management of Quality. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill.
Liang Zeng, Robert W. Proctor, Gavriel Salvendy. (2012). Integrating Creativity in IT Product and Service    Development Into Ergonomic Design Practices.  PROCEEDINGS of the HUMAN FACTORS and ERGONOMICS SOCIETY 53rd ANNUAL MEETING, 1507-1511.

No comments:

Post a Comment