I realize that in the past that you may have only associated ergonomics with office chairs. But this couldn’t be further from the the truth! Ergonomics is the study of fitting the job to the person, never fitting the person to the job. Why focus on Human Resources? Well, HR (or anyone in that type of job) knows the beat of a business; the ins and outs of their organization’s daily grind. I have been lucky enough to have trained many HR professionals with how to do basic ergonomic assessments- and the outcomes have been valuable to their organizations! Interested to learn more? Check out our top 4 reasons why you should seriously consider adding ergonomics to your operations!
4 Reasons Why HR Professionals Should Seriously Consider Adding Ergonomics To Their Expertise
1. Fresh Set Of Eyes Works Wonders
With ergonomics training, it allows you to determine how to identify risk and how to use countermeasures to reduce it amongst staff. One of the reasons why having a dedicated HR person to identify ergonomic concerns is that a fresh set of eyes works wonders! Note: It doesn’t just need to be one person – it can also be a small group of people! It depends on what works for your organization. Trust me, I’ve seen this fresh perspective work so well and it usually works like this: a person may be struggling to find a reason why their shoulder is causing them discomfort, where someone who is new to the situation (and with the right training) can offer a suggestion for improvement after just a few moments looking at the situation. Sometimes all it takes to solve ergonomic challenges is a fresh or different perspective! Most people are so used to their usual settings and work set-up that they can be blind to ergonomic risk factors. It’s all about using a simple step-by-step approach to solve ergonomic problems; no rocket science here I assure you! Here is an example of some really simple steps that many have used for their ergonomics programs: analyzing the ergonomic set-up, seeking and testing solutions, implementing improvements, and evaluating improvements – all while involving the person actually doing the job (because their the expert!). That’s it!
2. Bring Specialized Expertise To The Table
The best parts about training HR professionals are the individual skill sets involved! They may be from Payroll, Health and Safety, or Accounting. With each type of expertise, they offer a valuable approach from their role in the organization that can be applied to the ergonomic approach. I find that this is particularly useful in finding the most economical ergonomic solution! Why? Well, because the organization now has perspective that ergonomics doesn’t necessarily entail only expensive chairs. Rather, sometimes finding the perfect ergonomic solution to a problem is a combination of trial and error along with being involved to ensure the early success of any ergonomic recommendations. With this strategy some economical ergonomic solutions have included adjusting the chair to finally fit an employee well instead of buying a new chair OR placing texts below a monitor to raise it up instead of buying an expensive monitor arm. Ergonomic improvements are best put into place when employees themselves are involved! It sometimes will require following-up and having an internal resource to do so is invaluable to the success of any ergonomic suggestions! Additionally, HR knows their organization the best (period!) by understanding internal processes and politics (who to contact or how to get resources) so ergonomics can get winning results. They also know the staff best and are comfortable with them as well. As we mentioned above, the best ergonomic solutions are when the end-user is involved because they have unique insight into their own work.
3. Cost Savings
Good ergonomics is always good economics. With using internal resources to solve ergonomic problems cost savings can be found in two ways; firstly, savings from outside company consultation fees and secondly, savings from preventing injuries from occurring in the first place! No more expensive consultants would be required to do EVERY ergonomic assessment – but you can always ask for help, of course (we offer coaching for exactly this). There should always be the option of having an external ergonomics support line for more difficult ergonomics concerns for internal HR driven ergonomic teams. Cost savings can also be from local vendor outreach to form a type of informal partnership. This would be instead of having to search the entire ergonomics marketplace (that can take awhile because there’s a lot out there and it’s growing daily!) to find a particular type or line of product that you know tends to work really well with your organization. Partnering with specific vendors that offer really quality ergonomic products at reasonable prices can save you both time and money – something that is unique to HR driven ergonomics programs. I find that local vendors are the best and are always eager to help.
4. Enhance Employee Morale
With an internal ergonomics program, employees know if they aren’t feeling 100% with their workstation, they have a resource for quick and effective help in the office. This is particularly valuable, in the larger organizational-perspective, because of the cost savings associated with the early identification of ergonomic risk; an ergonomics program that focusses on identifying discomfort amongst staff will always be more of a value-add than focussing on making injured workers more comfortable. Enhancing employee morale with ergonomics can come in various forms. Examples include promoting resources like specific training, ergonomics posters located at common gathering places around the office so that staff can easily see the information or even just encouragement and motivation. It all helps! Ergonomic posters can include everything from quick tips on how to set-up workstations to what to do if someone is uncomfortable with their work set-up. When I worked in a large organization, I found that ergonomics related posters were very effective to share information in a passive manner, a change from the more direct (and in your face) approach. Other positive effects of successful ergonomics programs includes increasing comfort and thereby well-being of staff. And, this research also fond that worker productivity increased in combination with better well-being or comfort. All the more reason to seriously consider adding ergonomics to your expertise and skill set!