Did you know there is a science to your workplace and its design?  This science is called Ergonomics and centres on creating a space of work based on your limitations and capabilities. Everything from your reach, posture, view of your PC monitor, and those small repetitive actions are taken into consideration to make the ideal working environment for you.

We all know that tired feeling we get from work. For some, this is pure long hours and overdoing things but for the majority (yes, the majority) it is all about ergonomics and how you spend the majority of your time seated at your desk, simply sedentary in the office, how you hammer in nails or stand at a conveyor belt. The tired feeling is fatigue and ergonomics plays a huge part in this and what is showing itself as mere tiredness may well be affecting other parts of your body. It may not just be a mental problem but a physical, skeletal problem that is occurring.

During the course of a year poor ergonomics can account for many lost man-hours in the South African economy and this impacts the GDP as well as the pocket of the worker who may have to foot medical bills, many of which can be prevented. The value in understanding ergonomics soon becomes clear once Rand values are applied and an investment in a more ergonomically better workplace soon makes sense.

As an employer and an employee, understanding a little about ergonomics is important and is about making the workplace fit the people rather than the more common approach of making people fit the environment. It is about making a round hole for a round pin. Ergonomics is more than just about a comfy or odd-looking chair it is about the design and use of anything that people use or do. The science of ergonomics is about improving or enhancing the interaction between people and things and spaces. It is about minimising or ideally removing the risks of injury or harm for an overall better experience or better work performance in many cases.

Ergonomics is a constantly evolving science. As technology changes or improves and how tasks are done or even where new tasks or ways of doing things are created, ergonomics keeps up with the pace of change.  Considering the human factors in the changes and developments, solutions are designed to mitigate injury, stress, and fatigue through improved tooling and furniture as well as training and information sessions.

As many may assume, ergonomics does not just focus on the office environment. Many people are very aware of ergonomic furniture but the science of ergonomics is practiced in nearly every form of work from gentle, sedentary desk jobs to heavy labour on construction sights and factory jobs.  The science also goes beyond the workplace and into lifestyle as people become more aware of its importance as part of healthier living.

Ergonomics can be applied to any individual or business from simply best practice instruction to the development of a better, ergonomically designed workplace and the supply of ergonomic furniture, exercise equipment, laptop and screen supports, keyboards and neck support pillows. There is much more to ergonomics than meets the eye, and understanding how it affects you and your health can lead to a better lifestyle and a more productive life in general at work and at play.

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