Why Ergonomics is Important and its impact on employees?

by Kei Chan

What is Ergonomics?

Here it comes, always start with the dictionary definition of what ergonomic means!

 Ergo- nomics

The Greek derivation of the word “Ergonomics” come from two words: “ergos” meaning work and “namos” meaning natural laws. So, ergonomics is meant to describe the natural laws of work.

 Today, there are many definitions of ergonomics that have been used by a variety of experts. Ergonomics is a branch of science that is concerned with the achievement of optimal relationships between workers and their work environment!

 In summary, ergonomics is  about fitting the job to the worker rather than fitting the worker to the job.

 Ergonomics is more than getting a new chair or keyboard tray. It is about more than physical fit of the workplace. Ergonomics is the field of study concerned with finding ways to keep people productive, efficient, safe, and comfortable while they perform tasks. The basic premise is to make the task fit the person, rather than making the person adjust to the task.  Ergo Web Inc. defines ergonomics in a way proactive sense:

            “Ergonomics removes barriers to quality, productivity, and safe human performance in human-machine systems by fitting products, equipments, tools, systems, tasks, jobs and environments to people.”

 Physical ergonomics:

 Physical ergonomics deals with the human body’s responses to physical and physiological stress. It takes into account characteristics of the human such as anatomy, physiology and biomechanics as they relate to physical activity. Physical ergonomics issues, primarily in the workplace, typically dominate the public view and understanding of ergonomics.  It is certain that when ergonomic principles are ignored in the workplace, musculoskeletal disorders (MSD) are a potential outcome.  Decrease in worker’s compensation cost is actually one of the many goals within the study of physical ergonomics!


5 Key Benefits are the following related to Physical Ergonomics:

#Increased productivity:

Productivity can be increased by 10-15 percent. Studies have shown a 25 percent increase in output at computer workstations when using ergonomic furniture, while also improving employee overall well-being.

#Improved quality:

with increased comfort, errors and product defects are less likely to happen.

#Improved efficiency:

Able to complete a task with fewer motions, as a result, the task can take lesser time and also reduce the chance of muscular fatigue.

#Improved employee morale:

Ergonomics allows businesses to spread the “I Care” message to all levels of the company.

#Reduced turnover and absenteeism:  

When colleagues are more comfortable at their workstations, they are less likely to take time off from work or leave the company because of discomfort.

 There are number of workstation ergonomics assessment checklist which we all can easily refer to for self-check, here are some global recognised ones for download: