Whenever I’m on site with a client, whether completing a risk assessment or leading a training session, I always stress the importance of taking good photos and utilizing them during the ergonomics improvement process. It may sound like a pretty straight-forward concept, but it’s not always practiced, and there are many benefits. Good photos:
- Show issues clearly. The initial risk assessment is important because it’s where you capture the direct causes of increased risk of developing a musculoskeletal disorder (MSD). Documenting the issues and data is important because it provides a map of what needs to be changed. But, photos give a quick, visual representation of the current workstation setup, and provide an easy way to relate the text and numbers to what the workstation actually looks like.
- Provide insight to leadership. For big-ticket items, you may need approval to generate a purchase order. Photos are an excellent way of showing leadership what the current issues are. I always encourage people to mark up their photos a bit! Draw some lines on the photo to point out the awkward neck postures caused by monitor placement, or the wrist deviation from using a generic mouse. Another way to mark-up photos is to show a projected “after” view. Where would the new screen height be in relation to the existing screen with the purchase of a monitor arm?
- Highlight improvements. After you’ve purchased new equipment or made adjustments to the workstation, remember to take an “after” photo! I get consistent feedback from clients that having a these photos demonstrates to both leadership and other employees what a difference ergonomics makes. When compared with the “before” photo, it lets viewers quickly compare good to bad, and it can spark ideas for other workstation improvements. Showing improvements also lets employees see that the ergonomics team is active, giving a boost to their morale.
These are a few ways that taking photos can benefit your ergonomics initiative. As a last tip – try to include as much of the operator and workspace in the photo as possible, so it gives the viewer the whole picture.