An obvious goal for any ergonomics initiative is to prevent injuries in the first place and reduce the incumbent costs of injuries that do occur. Sadly, many “ergonomics programs” fail to present the entire ergonomics opportunity by focusing solely on injury reduction. The unfortunate result is very limited organizational influence and stakeholder support outside of the safety department.
The traditional safety definition of ergonomics speaks to safety stakeholders by linking the science of ergonomics to outcomes that are important to safety stakeholders (comfort and injury). This is not wrong…my point is that it is limiting and fails to address to the specific needs of stakeholders from departments across the organization, such as finance, operations, and human resources.
Viewing ergonomics primarily as a safety discipline, with an aim toward preventing injuries, is a limited understanding of the application of this scientific field. If, however, you expand the ergonomics process to an engineering discipline that addresses additional aspects of performance, beyond just injury reduction, ergonomics is then elevated to the level of strategic imperative. This simple change in perspective enables you to gain more support and broadens your scope and span of influence.