by Katie Grosteffon, AEP
At ErgoExpo 2013 in December, a big trend was office ergonomic assessment software. This type of software typically provides ergonomics training and a self-assessment tool so that users can evaluate and adjust their own workstations. Many companies are incorporating assessment software into their office ergonomics programs, and for good reason! Over the past two years, I’ve been involved in the implementation of office ergonomics assessment software at a large office complex, and there are too many benefits to list them all. Here are a few:
1. Educate more people. With self-assessment software, employees can go through ergonomics training and assess their workstations on their own schedule. There’s no need to try and schedule everyone for a face-to-face evaluation or for employees to try to find time to attend a training class. When the training can be completed at their own pace on their own schedule, employees are much more likely to actually complete it. Our site has seen 85% of workers complete online ergonomic self-assessments in the past two years. In the two years before that, when online assessment software was not available, only 50% had a face-to-face assessment.
2. Identify individuals who need help. Online self-assessment software quantifies each user’s risk level, so that you can easily see who is at high risk and provide those users with additional help. Instead of sending your expert (e.g. ergonomist, consultant) to evaluate everyone, the expert can focus her time on individuals who really need her expertise! Additionally, you may find “silent sufferers” who are in discomfort but would not have asked for help on their own, or individuals who are at high risk but didn’t realize it.
3. Quantify your program. Online assessment software makes it easy to quantify the benefits of your ergonomics program. From my experience, management loves seeing the data generated by the software. When they see graphs showing, for example, that 92% of employees have completed on online assessment, 81% of them are low risk, and there’s been a 73% drop in high risk users over the past two years, they can easily see the value of the ergonomics program.