As more work is going remotely, it is an opportunity for employees to have a well-designed workstation to prevent musculoskeletal disorders and other ergonomic-related injuries.
Since more jobs are going remotely, this will continue to expose people to ergonomic risks, unlike the traditional office setting where you have some measures to cater for ergonomic risks. So, home office setup matters a lot at this time. Though ergonomics risk management is more than home office setup, it involves many things.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, ergonomic injuries make up 33% of all worker injuries and illnesses. Working from home has some benefits but it comes with health and safety risks mainly ergonomic risks. To protect employees from safety and health risks associated with ergonomics, employers should look at the direction of poor ergonomics concerning remote jobs.
What is an ergonomic risk factor?
Ergonomic risk factors are workplace situations that cause wear and tear on the body and can cause injury. These include repetition, awkward posture, forceful motion, stationary position, direct pressure, vibration, extreme temperature, noise, and work stress. Adopting a culture of prevention against ergonomic risks helps to reduce injuries.
Below are four ways to manage ergonomics risk efficiently while working remotely.
1. Employees should play a key role in managing ergonomic risk.
Employees have to be involved in this aspect when they are working. It will help to address the ergonomics risk effectively. Employees should know where ergonomic hazards exist in the working environment and their homes. Identifying these economic risks should be back with corrective actions.
Even when ergonomically sound workstations are in place. It will still not guarantee injury-free work. The employees have to be aware of what ergonomics is. People can sit poorly in their chairs and desks if they don’t know what ergonomics means. Unsafe working behaviours will always come up. However, constant awareness and engagement will tackle that effectively. When employees drive self-awareness, it will help them to put corrective actions.
3. Individual ownership of the ergonomic process.
Work should be individually driven for you to sustain any solution for ergonomics. Use technology to monitor your remote workers, and know their exposure to the risk and how they are doing to manage it themselves. The technology should capture how ergonomic risks are identified, assessed and resolved. And it will help to get buy-in and future success.
4. Provide feedback to employees.
Give your employees room for feedback to report on the programs and things in place. Let them make reports on what they need improvement as regards ergonomics. Have a document on any resolved issue and pass it to other workers as a lesson learnt for all to know.
Managing ergonomics risk for remote workers may have different approaches depending on the organisation. However, the tips above can serve as a blueprint to guide any user on making the first step to ensure that no remote worker exposes themselves to ergonomics hazards.
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