What are the benefits of ergonomic equipment?
Ensuring the comfort of your employees was once a luxury expense for most employers. However, with the fast-paced advancement of technology and HSE requirements, many businesses have seen ergonomic equipment as an effective way to enhance productivity and better support their staff. After all, a happy and comfortable employee is a productive worker.
By investing in an ergonomics program, we address the well-being and long-term health of employees, from their posture, and spine health, to arm and wrist positioning, down to reducing digital eyestrain. You see, choosing the correct ergonomic equipment isn’t just about aesthetics, but has more to do with functionality and productivity. In this article, we will discuss why it’s beneficial to invest in effective ergonomic equipment.
What is Ergonomic Equipment?
As a modern-day worker, you may have already encountered ergonomic equipment such as an ergonomic chair, ergonomic desk, ergonomic keyboard, ergonomic mouse, and other office equipment with the label “ergonomic”.
If we ask people why they incorporate the use of ergonomic equipment in their workplace, some may answer that it reduces back pain and other injuries while increasing productivity. Others may respond that it supports a business in meeting HSE requirements. All of these are true but the benefits ergonomic equipment offers are far more than that.
Before we dive into the world of ergonomic equipment, let us first understand the main point in its most basic sense. As a discipline, ergonomics has always been defined as the study of people in their work environment or it could be the adaptation of people’s working conditions. It helps reduce risks of injuries, promotes wellness, and above all, maxmises efficiency and health.
Ergonomic equipment is recommended to help employees to feel as comfortable as possible in their place of work. Choosing the correct ergonomic equipment will result in a better work experience, happier employees, and a healthier working environment. Remtek Workplace offers a variety of equipment, accessories, and furniture to suit a range of needs. We offer chairs, desks, pointing devices, input devices, and stands.
These items provide comfort to staff, contributing to good posture, upper limb positioning, and other long-term health benefits that may help increase productivity and reduce absenteeism.
Our ergonomic specialists recommend designs for employee workstations based on their individual needs. Before equipment is even recommended or delivered, a great amount of research, science, and technology has been carried out by our dedicated team.
Our Head of Ergonomics, Chris Barlow commented “Our team of specialists carry out comprehensive DSE assessments for employees across a range of industries. We pride ourselves on professionalism, making unique recommendations based on a person’s individual needs. In some cases, current equipment may just need a slight adjustment. That is where our expertise comes in. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone on 0161 745 8353 to speak with our team of specialists.”
What are Ergonomic Chairs?
An office worker will spend the majority of their working day in their chair. Prolonged sitting may cause serious health implications and body stress, especially in our spines.
Poor posture and prolonged sitting have been identified by HSE as one of the contributing factors for employees developing back pain. Of course, you cannot just simply stop your work. To help to ease this problem, a suitable chair should be chosen. An ergonomic chair is designed to support the body, taking the posture, health, and comfort of the user into consideration.
A high-quality ergonomic chair is one of the most important investments you can make to improve health and well-being at work. In a previous article we provided 8 top tips to help you pick the correct ergonomic chair.
To improve posture and support, an ergonomic chair should possess the following features:
- Adjustable seat: to be able to sit in a neutral posture, enabling the correct position of the pelvis. If you are a person who sits the majority of the time, you may have developed Anterior Pelvic Tilt or lower crossed posture. Sit in a neutral position with the knees slightly lower than the hips to keep the pelvis’ position right.
- Backrest Lumbar support: this feature is important in an ergonomic chair design because this will prevent slouching which results in discomfort and strains. This usually forms an ‘S’ shape like the spine which is also adjustable according to the comfort of the curve in your spine.
- Backrest recline: this is used to take the weight of the upper body, supporting the spine’s natural curve and reducing the pressure on your spinal disk and muscles. Reclining with a 100-110 degree angle between the seat and the backrest, with your bottom pressed against the back of the chair seat will reduce the likelihood of slouching while you sit.
- The armrest: aids in reducing upper body tension and enables more relaxed shoulders while working. They should be adjustable for the arm length to rest comfortably which also reduces arm movement as you type because the more the upper limb moves, the more you strain your forearm muscles.
- Seat height: an appropriate height for most workers ranges from 16 to 21 inches off the floor. It should be noted that the seat can be adjusted so that the feet can lay flat on the floor and you can also alter its height as you work.
- Swivel Type: we move around our spot sometimes and so, with ergonomic swiveling chairs, you can easily reach an area of your desk without having to strain excessively.
- Wheels: to help you navigate better, choose a chair that will work best on the surface of your floor. Soft rubber wheels are for hard surfaces, whereas hard wheeled ergonomic chairs are for carpeted floors.
What are Ergonomic Keyboards?
In a fast-changing era where we use a lot of technology in our workplace and home lives, our wrists, arms, and tingling pains in our fingers are usually common problems that we encounter. With ergonomic keyboards, an information input device, you are given an option to let your keyboard adjust to yourself rather than the opposite way.
Your hands and wrists can move naturally in position for typing, with enough allocated space for a resting position to avoid strain and stress on forearms, elbows, shoulders, and neck. They are often curved so that you may be able to type in an angle, which reduces the risk of injuries, particularly Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI).
You may not have noticed but if you type with your regular keyboard for 20 minutes straight, it can slowly result in injuries by turning your wrists inward to fit the flat keyboards. You may also develop Carpal Tunnel Syndrome from prolonged use of flat keyboards. If your wrists already hurt upon typing, it may be time to switch to an ergonomic keyboard.
Split keyboards such as the Goldtouch go keyboard can be adapted constantly to your needs. The good thing about these keyboards is that you need not look for specific features upon purchasing to suit your needs because it is designed for every body type. But upon using it you must make sure your wrist is not bent inwards (radial deviation), backwards (ulnar deviation), upwards (extension), downwards (flexion), rotated upwards (supination), and lastly, not rotated downwards (pronation). You can just adjust your keyboard to whichever position you are comfortable with as long as you are not doing a disservice to yourself by stressing your wrists and fingers.
Check out our full range or ergonomic keyboards here.
What are Ergonomic Accessories?
Aside from those that were mentioned above, there are other office ergonomic items that you may find useful in the workplace:
- Document Holder: If you do read a document while typing at the same time, it is more convenient to use a holder that can place a document at eye level. There is no need to bend forward or move your head down to the document just to be able to read it. Through this, employees can complete their tasks in an easier and faster way. Some laptop stands even come with in-line document holders for increased productivity.
- Ergonomic Footrest: An ergonomic footrest is useful if your feet don’t touch the ground when your wrists are level with the desk. The last thing you need is to get the upper limb position correct, and have your legs dangling. As well, a footrest enables you to sit more comfortably in your chair as the angle of the footrest pushes you back into the backrest.
- Ergonomic Mouse: These are one of the most neglected and taken for granted computer items to be considered. By using an ergonomic mouse, you prevent repeated non-natural movements which result in stress injuries. Some manufacturers have developed vertical ergonomic mice that you can use in a handshake position, preventing the forearm from twisting from its natural position. There are also, central mice, semi-vertical mice, rollerbars, and adjustable mice, to name a few.
- Sit-Stand Desk: Although a little bit pricey, companies and organisations purchase ergonomic desks to give staff an option to stand up while working to fight body aches and promote active working. By utilising a sit-stand desk, you can adjust the height so you can manage your work, reduce injuries, and also improve cardiovascular activities all at the same time. A good tip for sit-stand work is Hedge’s 20-8-2 rule (20 minutes seated, 8 minutes standing, 2 minutes of movement).
Why Do Employers Invest in Ergonomic Equipment?
You may think that purchasing ergonomic equipment is more of an expense than an asset. However successful implementation of an ergonomics program presents a significant investment.
A study by the CIEHF has shown that on average, the implementation of an office ergonomics program can reduce the number of musculoskeletal problems by 61%, reduce lost workdays by 88% and reduce staff turnover by 87%
It may have a high upfront payment but with a long-term view, you can see a substantial improvement in the wellness of your employees through ergonomic equipment, not only in the physical wellbeing of you and your staff, but also in developing a better working environment, output quality and improved financial health of the company by reduced long-term costs.
Actively investing in staff wellbeing also supports you in meeting HSE requirements.
Why is it Important for Employers to Invest in Ergonomic Equipment for their Employees Including HSE Requirements (UK)?
According to Health and Safety Executive (HSE), employers must ensure the safety in the working conditions of their workers. The workplace should pose no harm to the worker’s safety, health, and welfare. Investing in ergonomic equipment is one way to do it.
Effective ergonomics can solve physical problems that employees may encounter during work such as heavy loads, sloping floor surfaces, awkward postures, improper workstation layout, and other problems that may lead to physical injuries, such as low back pain or injury to the arms, hands, or fingers.
Here are some of the HSE requirements or checklists you can follow:
- Are their working postures comfortable (or not)?
- Do they experience discomfort, aches, pain, fatigue, or feel unable to keep up with the flow of work?
- Is the equipment appropriate, easy to use, and well maintained?
- Is the person satisfied with their working arrangements?
- Do they make the same error mistakes repeatedly?
- Are they following procedures, and if not, why not?
What are the Benefits of Ergonomic Equipment?
Above all of the benefits that ergonomic equipment can offer, improved employee health is the main goal. In a relaxed, ergonomic, and productive workplace, not only you do develop improved physical health but also reduce stress.
A healthy environment can also mean a safe workplace. Ergonomic equipment reduces the risk of injuries and keeps employees safe and comfortable.
There is a correlation between the use of ergonomic equipment and productivity as the former eliminates unnecessary movements that may strain certain areas of the body as well as the awkward working positions of the employees. This can make them more efficient and faster in completing their work.
Considering all the benefits that have been mentioned, you can surely save a lot of costs in the long run. Cost savings include reduced employee absenteeism and reduced risk of fines for unsafe working environments.
These benefits do not only apply to office workers but home workers as well. According to a British Medical Journal, whether you work on-site or from home, ergonomic tool users are likely to perform better in their jobs compared to non-ergonomic equipment users.
Why is Ergonomic Equipment Important to a Company?
Implementing a successful ergonomic program is highly advantageous for a company. Most jobs require a lot of the same movements every day which may lead to injuries if not addressed properly. With poor posture and non-ergonomic workstations, workers may suffer with posture-related injuries and experience repetitive stress which results in unproductivity.
Companies implementing ergonomic equipment in their work areas have safer, healthier, and happier workforces. Moreover, legally, employers must conduct a Display Screen Equipment (DSE) assessment for the benefit of each worker and the company. DSE refers to computer or laptop screens, touch screens, and other similar devices with a display.
DSE assessments evaluate the risk of using display screens during work, to identify hazards and the severity of harm to employees that may be affected. Upon evaluation, the identified risks can be altered by providing tools such as ergonomic equipment to make everyone comfortable.
For instance, when you use or face computer screens for a long time, hazards may include poor posture and lack of movement which leads to back pain, headaches, and eyestrains, wrists and arms injuries, and many more.
Provided that workers have been given proper training, DSE should cover two important situations, which are achieving comfortable and sustainable posture while working, as well as providing them with equipment that is safe and suitable for use. With a DSE assessment, you can identify the worker’s potential risk factors, whether they need additional furniture or just adjusting whatever is already being used. This all depends on your staff’s situation.
For more information or to book a DSE assessment with one of our team visit our DSE page here.
Is Ergonomic Equipment Worth it?
In a survey done in the UK by the Institute of Occupational Medicine (IOM) for the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) in over 130 organisations and companies, nearly three-quarters of the 1,300 participants surveyed suffer from musculoskeletal symptoms. To reduce such health risks, employers must think ergonomically. After all, prevention is better than cure.
Using good ergonomic equipment does not stop at the office doors. It can also be employed in your homes. Furthermore, it is not only limited to buying ergonomic equipment but also requires proper education, vigilance, and application. Something that we can help with!
Although it is upfront expensive, the use of ergonomic equipment will eliminate unnecessary and repetitive movements, and reduce physical demands on the employee, thereby lowering the rates of injury and reducing compensation costs, which mean higher financial health as well as reduced employee turnover.
Above all, looking after the welfare of the employees increases trust in the company and the employers.
Get started with your DSE assessment today
If you have an ergonomics question or would like to book a FREE consultation with one of our experts email us today at email@example.com.