How to assess your workplace for best ergonomic practices

How we assess your workplace for best ergonomic practices

Ergonomics in the workplace is an essential part of how you perform as an employee or employer. Aching backs and carpal-tunneled wrists lead to employee discontent, an increase in sick days and overall lower productivity. But an ergonomically optimal layout doesn’t just mean moving a few things around or buying an expensive chair!

It’s essential that someone who knows what exactly to look out for assesses your offices for risks and factors that may pose risks to your employees in future. Based on our unique WorkRite programme, the benefits of such an assessment include:

  • Cost savings on employee healthcare
  • Improves productivity
  • Improves quality
  • Improves employee engagement
  • Creates a culture of safety

Ronel Hendry, Karo’s certified workplace ergonomics professional, looks out for the following when doing an office assessment:

1. Chair:

An ergonomic chair is the backbone of an ergonomic setup. Ronel considers employee activity during a normal working day and will advise on the correct chair for the job. She also considers if the operator is sitting correctly, which includes checking:

  • Height of chair
  • Chair adjustability
  • Size of chair
  • Use of backrest
  • Use of arms
  • Position of feet on the ground

2. Desk:

The height and size of a desk relative to the job and person behind the desk are also crucial considerations. Ronel looks at the applicability of a sit-stand desk as well as:

  • Height of desk to the person
  • Size of desk
  • Legroom below the desk

3. Placement of electronics and files:

Efficiency is the jam to ergonomic cheese, and a cluttered desk is enemy number one to efficiency. An assessment includes checking:

  • Position of keyboard and mouse, telephone, files, documents, and so on.
  • All need to be within easy reach
  • Placement of monitor to ensure that it is at the right distance, height and position to avoid any glare on the monitor.
  • Verifying that the screen settings are adjusted correctly

Employees will also be interviewed to see if anyone has symptoms of backache and soreness in the neck, leg discomfort, and their understanding of the functions of the chair in use. Ronel will also check for any eyestrain, and give recommendations based on how many breaks employees are allowed and the type of work they do. An assessment also considers which office accessories are in use by employees and for what reasons. Ronel adds that this service offering from Karo also includes training on the following topics:

  • The functionality of the chair in use
  • The essentials of ergonomics
  • Environmental factors to look out for

Recognising the importance of ergonomics in the workplace is the first step in creating a beneficial environment for employee productivity. The next step is calling in the help of an expert to ensure that it is implemented properly. See it as a long-term investment – for you, the company and employees.