ergonomic equipment alongside other healthy behaviours can help address musculoskeletal complaints

Government guidelines highlight that health and wellbeing should be a core priority for organisations and that value should be placed on the strategic importance and benefits of a healthy workplace. Employers are encouraged to take a consistent, positive approach to all employee’s health and wellbeing.

Health and wellbeing is a wide-reaching term and includes a multitude of areas from ensuring that employees work reasonable hours and have regular breaks to ensuring all facilities and equipment are clean, safe, well maintained and of a good standard, and everything else in-between. One important part of this rather large puzzle is work place ergonomics.

Ergonomics is a science concerned with the ‘fit’ between people and their work. It puts people first, taking account of their capabilities and limitations. Ergonomics aims to make sure that tasks, equipment, information and the environment fit each worker.

Organisations that adhere to efficient work place ergonomics not only make their employees jobs easier but enhance the safety for their workforce which in turn reduces potential for accidents and ill health. Regardless of the industry or the size of the organisation, efficient will likely also improve upon performance and productivity

At first it might seem difficult to see the link, but please read on. If we have a look at the most common musculoskeletal complaint of lower back pain, which we know is very common in working-age adults.

A UK survey reported that 40% of adults had suffered from LBP lasting longer than 1 day in the previous 12 months. Treating back pain costs the NHS more than £1 billion per year and lost production as a result of lower back pain has been previously estimated to cost at least £3.5 billion per year.

The above statistics revolve around back pain only, it hasn’t accounted for the multitude of other potential musculoskeletal and non-musculoskeletal reasons employees might be required to become absent from work

If you don’t follow ergonomics principles, there may be serious consequences for people and whole organisations. Adopting an ergonomics and human factors approach can save money by avoiding potential costly accidents, reduce the amount of injuries and sickness absence, and ultimately improving quality and productivity.