Workplace ErgonomicsErgonomics is the science of designing the workplace so that it fits the worker and facilitates the highest level of function. Ergonomics also studies the physical and psychological impact of the workplace and uses principles to prevent injury and promote health, safety, and comfort for employees. The use of ergonomic principles also increases worker productivity and quality and helps employees return to work after an injury has occurred.
Health care practitioners or therapists, who are trained in the structure and function of the human body, can perform workplace ergonomic assessments and determine how the components of the workplace can facilitate a healthy environment and a safe return to work. A therapist can help employers identify hazards that may contribute to on-the-job injury or re-injury, and determine how these hazards can be eliminated.
Therapists during a workplace ergonomic assessment perform the following:
- Identify and eliminate accident and injury risk factors in the workplace, such as actions associated with repetition, force, fixed or awkward postures, poorly designed tool handles, heavy loads, distance, vibration, noise, extreme temperatures, poor lighting, and psychosocial and other occupational stresses.
- Analyze job functions and job descriptions based on job tasks.
- Modify tools and equipment so that they do not enable injury or illness.
- Provide education and training on injury prevention, workplace health and safety regulations, and managing job-related stress
- Determine reasonable accommodations and worksite accessibility that is in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act.
- Recommend changes employers can take to minimize injury and accident risk factors.
Additional website for information:
The Ergonomics Society: www.ergonomics.org.