This post is a continuation from last week’s post. In this post we dive into the second part of our 2-part series about simple yet useful ergonomic facts to add value to your practice and encourage or promote your ergonomics program or any required changes that would add value to it (like purchasing new equipment, etc) . Scroll down to see more!
Surprising Ergonomic Facts (Part 2)
6. Training Is Effective… but not on its own!
The good news is that this research shows that ergonomics training programs are effective in introducing healthy behaviours in the workplace that in a round-a-bout way can reduce injury frequency. Here’s the twist to this statement: imagine that the only source of ergonomics information is the annual ergonomics presentation when an outside consultant comes in to deliver a presentation on how to sit properly. The results of this one ergonomic intervention will very likely fall flat and this ‘blue moon’ ergonomics initiative will likely fail (unfortunately)! Many professionals know this to be true already, however this information usually needs to be deliberately shared with HR and Management to ensure that monies are not wasted. To be successful, ergonomics training needs to have a system or program behind it, otherwise it can very quickly fizzle out and even worse, be considered the flavour of the month.
7.Workstation Adjustments Don’t Work On Their Own
In addition to ergonomics training not being effective by themselves, the same is true with workstation adjustments. Specifically, this research shows that only adjusting the workstation has no effect on upper extremity musculoskeletal injuries (MSIs). Any sort of ergonomics adjustment should always be tailored to the employee, as many of our readers know already, especially if you have downloaded this guide. Additionally, communicating WHY the changes are necessary as well as the THEORY behind any required changes with the employee will go a long way. Combining multiple ergonomics interventions can also be beneficial in reducing injury rates: ergonomics training combined with workstation adjustments and a poster or email campaign are far more superior than just one by themselves.
8. OHS Inspections That Result In Penalties Are Effective
Have you ever had a Government inspection at your workplace? Nothing says ‘cross your t’s and dot your i’s‘ faster than the government knocking at your door to do a health and safety inspection. I’ve seen it many times before and I have also been called into workplaces after a less that spectacular result has been found. This is a bit of an obvious finding, but none-the-less useful to go over. Research shows rather than merely saying that there is a ‘safety blitz’ and some workplaces may receive a visit from a Government OHS agency doesn’t get significant results at reducing workplace injury. In my experience, many workplaces would rather ‘chance it’ not because they are being malicious, but rather there is simply not enough time to put a good health and safety strategy together. This is in stark contrast to when a workplace knows for certain that they will be paid a visit from a OHS Government Agency; when workplaces know that they will receive a visit there tends to be much more significant findings in reducing work related injuries.
9. Responding To Employee Concerns Is Actually Helpful
Research shows that responding to the earliest warning signs of musculoskeletal discomfort OR any sort of health or safety concerns is valuable at preventing workplace injury. This pretty much functions as a positive feedback system where if action is taken to improve the workplace then you will likely hear more and more feedback from other employees on how to prevent more injuries. This is awesome for employee engagement in the ergonomics process. As I like to say, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Preventing ergonomic injuries not only brings a cost savings (of course if you are measuring the right things) but illustrating these cost savings and efficiencies to management can justify the cost of an ergonomics process in the first place. If you are interested in more information about measuring the effectiveness of ergonomics programs I’ve written a post about it that you can find here.
10. Office Ergonomics Training Is More Effective With Follow-up Sessions
Sometimes there is just TOO much information that is shared during an ergonomics presentation that it’s hard for attendees to act on them when they return to their workstation. This can lead to limited results and poor feedback. One way to improve the effectiveness of ergonomics training is to follow-up with attendees to help them apply their new skills to both identify and solve any ergonomic problems. This is supported by this research. It shows that no matter the type of ergonomics training used, either being online or in-person, taking the time afterwords to attend to each participant is valuable. This is a BIG value add that can be added as a service deliverable. Many of my clients in the past have purchased this type of service as an upgrade to just an ergonomics presentation and I have received a lot more positive feedback with this service compared to just doing a single ergonomics presentation.