from the research how-to May 29, 2019

While I was scrolling through ergonomic journals the other day, trying to find something that would be interesting for me to share to the readers of this blog, it seemed like I hit the jackpot of usefulness with the article that I’m about to share with you today!!

Yes, I do realize that every article about office ergonomics has some nugget of information that you can apply to how you do ergonomics assessments in the office.

But today’s article is jam-packed with relevance that you can apply immediately!

Why? Well this article that I’m going to share with you today is about something that we as consultants may see on a daily basis when we’re called into help organizations get their ergonomics back on track…

Let’s talk about what DOES and DOESN’T make ergonomics programs successful in the office.

Sharing some of the key findings, that I dive into below, will not only help with safe-guarding programs so that organizations have certain elements in place, they will in fact increase awareness that can improve outcomes for everyone (they get improved results, you get more clients!).

In fact, I used a strategy just like the one I’m going to share with you today when I worked with organizations to implement Participatory Ergonomic programs. It was a kind of ‘health and safety’ checklist – and if certain elements of an organization’s health and safety program were not present, then the intervention was delayed until their system was improved.

It was effective. Oftentimes just providing organization’s the framework to what a successful ergonomics program required would be incredibly useful as they now had a model to work from; they weren’t starting from scratch!

The ‘non-negotiables’

Let’s talk about what Every. Single. Effective. Office Ergonomic program requires. As this research points out, and I’ve also noted from my own experience, these are absolutely non-negotiables for long-term success.

Ergonomics programs are supposed to be seamless so an arduous amount of effort are not required to maintain the program on a daily basis. Sharing these long-term success steps are incredibly useful to share with your clients who are looking for a systematic approach to ergonomics in the office.

That’s stacking the cards in your favour, if I do say so myself. 

Let’s go over the necessary elements for long-term effective ergonomic program success, here are the non-negotiables, these elements are what every program gunning for success absolutely must have:

  • an initial needs assessment or hazards identification stage;
  • upper management support and commitment, for example through implementation of a policy;
  • encouraging and ensuring employee engagement and involvement usually using a participatory approach. Interested in learning more about participatory ergonomics in the office? Check out this post, where I really get into the framework behind it;
  • integrating the programme into existing organizational operations; and
  • monitoring and evaluation.

The ‘barriers’

Whether or not an ergonomic program will be successful (aka function months after it was initially introduced) depends on a number of interrelated factors. Many of which are beyond your control, as a consultant. However, bringing these up to your site contact, or if you run your own office ergonomic program – internally can save time, frustration, and money.

Let’s go over some of these barriers that effect ergonomic program outcomes, as found in this research:

  • lack of management commitment and support;
  • poor management attitude towards implementation;
  • lack of employee support – lack of appreciation of the importance of health and safety intiatives;
  • lack of financial resources;
  • prioritization of operations and/or other occupational health and safety needs over ergonomic needs;
  • lack of knowledge of ergonomics;
  • lack of or ineffective communication and information;
  • lack of time or inadequate communication and information;
  • lack of time or inadequate time dedicated to ergonomics implementation;
  • non-supportive organizational culture; and
  • lack of specialist support.

 So, what do you think?

So, sharing these factors with your site contact and minimizing barriers before the office ergonomic intervention is an almost guarenteed method to ensure long-term ergonomic success.  

And, you know what that means: NO (less) INJURIES. NO (less) TIME-LOSS CLAIMS. Other benefits of this are very likely to be linked to: AN ENGAGED WORKFORCE. GOOD MORALE. HIGH RETENTION. 

And who doesn’t all want that?

What do you think? What are the biggest barriers and facilitators involved with you getting results with the organizations that you work with?  Leave a comment below – or join the conversation in our FREE Facebook Group!

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