Nov 29, 2011
The purpose of this paper is to discuss ergonomics. How important proper ergonomics can be to both the employer and the employee. To talk about some of the education and training options available to companies for its employees. Some employer responsibilities and how OSHA enforces them. And finally, a look at a few organizations created to influence ergonomics.
Ergonomics is basically the study of designing equipment and devices that fit the human body, its movements, and its cognitive abilities. Throughout this paper I will go over the importance of proper ergonomics, along with a certain medical disorder that ...view middle of the document...
These issues can all lead to the increased possibility of a worker suffering from some type of Musculoskeletal Disorder (MSD).
An MSD is a condition where a part of the musculoskeletal system has been injured over a period of time. This disorder can occur when a certain part of the body is called upon to work harder, stretch farther, impact more directly, or otherwise function at a much greater level than the body is prepared for. Add extremes in temperature changes, hot or cold, and you could be putting even more undue stress on the body. While the immediate impact might be minute, it is the buildup of constant trauma over time that causes the disorder. MSDs have also been associated with aging, so as the population ages throughout the world, MSDs are likely to become more prevalent (Felson, 2002).
Some of the more common MSDs include strains and sprains, soreness or pains, carpal tunnel syndrome, and connective tissue disorders.
Education and Training
Different types of ergonomics education and training can be used for various categories of workers. You could use awareness training to give out general information to all employees. You could teach things like proper posture while sitting and typing as well as taking breaks at certain time intervals from looking at your computer monitor. More specialized training might be needed for the worker on an assembly line that has to bend over or make the same movement repeatedly for hours at a time. And possibly intensive, formal, training for those that will be taking on job analyses or problem solving work.
There are also several different ways to deliver the training. There are booklets that can be handed out to employees with ergonomic tips covering a wide variety of topics. Videos or DVDs of specific training can also be used. Some companies even offer e-training on the internet for specific industries, and can even customize training for specialized needs. You can also use an ergonomist to conduct classroom training either onsite or offsite (ETC, 2008).
Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are charged with certain responsibilities. Of the most important, employers must provide a workplace free from serious recognized hazards and comply with standards, rules and regulations under the OHSA Act. Ergonomic hazards are recognized hazards.
In regards to MSDs, there are several steps that an employer can take to encourage early evaluation by a health care provider if there are any signs of this disorder. Within the training program employers could provide information regarding signs and symptoms of MSDs, as well as proper reporting procedures if suspected. Ensure employee privacy, to the extent permitted by law, regarding medical conditions are kept confidential.
Employers could also look into modifying jobs, work stations, or otherwise accommodating employees that have functional limitations due to MSDs (Cohen,...