ErgoMyth: Ergonomics is Expensive
Many believe that implementing effective ergonomics solutions must be expensive, when, in reality, economical improvements often result in large positive impacts. The return on investment for applying ergonomics principles to any workplace routinely exceeds the initial cost. However, many get discouraged when there isn’t a large enough budget to purchase their ideal solution.
Good ergonomics design creates a good fit between the worker, the equipment, and the environment in which they interact, regardless of the price tag. In fact, though they may require more creativity, no- to low-cost solutions can be highly effective.
Here are a few things to try:
- Shuffle the layout of a workspace to better fit the optimal human work zone or work flow.
- Repurpose old or unused benches and racks to better position current work.
- If space is limited, reanalyze the work process to ensure that the items used most often are placed close to the work, and remove items that are not used.
- Look to the maintenance department to fabricate lever arms and extensions, or to adjust current equipment to better fit the workers or task. Modifications to equipment or tools can also improve non-standard tasks, such as cleaning or maintaining the equipment. Keep in mind that utilizing internal resources will require leadership and instruction to ensure that the changes made comply with ergonomics design guidelines and are easily usable.
Your take-away: there are many ways to improve ergonomics design in a workplace, and not all require a big budget. Taking the time to fully understand the task, the problem, and the available resources makes it easier to identify the solution without immediately opening up your wallet.