This is an installment of the Workplace Ergonomics 101 series.
How much do you know about ergonomics?
Test yourself on how much you know about workplace ergonomics and how you can use this knowledge to establish and maintain a sustainable ergonomics process at your facility.
Let’s get started.
Workplace ergonomics quiz:
- What are the benefits of ergonomics?
- When is the most cost-effective time to consider ergonomics?
- What are the elements of an ergonomics improvement process?
- How does ergonomics fit into the bigger picture and help your company meet its goals?
- Who should be involved in the ergonomics process?
- What are ergonomic risk factors?
- What are ergonomic controls?
- What are the recommended ergonomic assessment tools?
- What are ergonomic design principles?
- Where can you find more ergonomics tools and resources?
1. What are the benefits of ergonomics?
There are many benefits to integrating an ergonomics process deeply into all of your operations. Among the many benefits are:
- Ergonomics reduces costs
- Ergonomics improves productivity
- Ergonomics improves product quality
- Ergonomics increases employee engagement
- Ergonomics creates a better company safety culture
Further reading: 5 Proven Benefits of Workplace Ergonomics
2. When is the most cost-effective time to consider ergonomics?
The most cost-effective time to consider ergonomics is during the design and planning of new work processes.
A proactive approach to ergonomics emphasizes primary prevention of MSD through recognizing, anticipating and eliminating risk factors in the design and planning stages of new work processes.
Further reading: Proactive Ergonomics – Design with Ergonomics in Mind
3. What are the elements of an ergonomics improvement process?
The reactive part of the ergonomics improvement process we use for clients involves six steps:
- Step 1: Prioritize Jobs for Ergonomic Analysis
- Step 2: Conduct Ergonomic Analysis
- Step 3: Develop an Ergonomic Opportunity List
- Step 4: Determine Best Solution with Team Approach
- Step 5: Obtain Final Approval and Implement Solution
- Step 6: Evaluate the Ergonomic Improvement
Further reading: Ergonomics Improvement Process Flowchart [PDF]
4. How does ergonomics fit into the bigger picture and help your company meet its goals?
Ergonomics is not only the right thing to do, but it can also help your company reach its business goals. More and more companies today are recognizing the value of workplace ergonomics and are achieving great business results with their process.
Further reading: Workplace Ergonomics – What success looks like and how to get there
5. Who should be involved in the ergonomics process?
The ergonomics process is typically managed through the Health & Safety department. OHS should have a close relationship with engineering, supervisors, HR and all employees because successful ergonomics requires a team effort. Commitment to the process from all of these parties as well as upper management is an important indicator of success.
Further reading: How to Get More Support for Your Ergonomics Process
6. What are ergonomic risk factors?
Risk factors related to work activity and ergonomics can make it more difficult to maintain this balance, and increase the probability that some individuals may develop an MSD.
The major workplace ergonomic risk factors to consider are:
- High Task Repetition
- Forceful Exertions
- Repetitive/Sustained Awkward Postures
Further reading: How to Recognize Ergonomic Risk Factors in the Workplace
7. What are ergonomic controls?
Putting control measures in place reduce injury risk. Ergonomics opportunities should be systematically identified and reduced through ergonomic controls:
Engineering Controls – Eliminate or reduce awkward postures with ergonomic modifications that seek to maintain joint range of motion to accomplish work tasks within the mid-range of motion positions for vulnerable joints. Proper ergonomic tools should be utilized that allow workers to maintain optimal joint positions.
Work Practice Controls – Work procedures that consider and reduce awkward postures should be implemented. In addition, workers should be trained on proper work technique and encouraged to accept their responsibility to use their body properly and to avoid awkward postures whenever possible.
Job Rotation – Job rotation and job task enlargement is a way to reduce repeated and sustained awkward postures that can lead to MSD.
Counteractive Stretch Breaks – Implement rest or stretch breaks to provide an opportunity to counteract any repeated or sustained awkward postures and allow for adequate recovery time.
Further reading: Understanding Ergonomics at Work
8. What are the recommended ergonomic assessment tools?
Ergonomic assessment tools are used to quantitatively measure risk factors and determine the need for control measures to be put in place. Here are a few of our recommended ergonomic assessment tools:
- Rapid Entire Body Assessment (REBA)
- Rapid Upper Limb Assessment (RULA)
- NIOSH Lifting Equation
- NIOSH Short Form
- Snook Tables
- Washington State Ergonomic and MSD Risk Assessment Checklists
(Note: You can download step-by-step guides to these tools in our resource center.)
Further reading: Recommended Ergonomic Assessment Tools
9. What are ergonomic design principles?
Using ergonomics design principles helps engineers and those involved in process design evaluate what is needed and should be considered for a good ergonomic workstation design.
Further reading: Ergonomic Design Checklist
10. Where can you find more ergonomics tools and resources?
We’re committed to bringing you educational resources to help you navigate how to get started or improve your ergonomics and MSD prevention efforts. One of our recent posts, The Ultimate Guide to Workplace Ergonomics is a massive list of ergonomics tools and resources.
To be notified when we release new tools and resources, sign up for the Ergonomics Plus monthly newsletter today!
Get more ergonomics tools and resources: Visit the Ergonomics Plus Resource Center
How did you do?
So how did the workplace ergonomics quiz treat you? This is by no means an exhaustive ergonomics exam, but just a simple quiz – what questions would you add to the list?
Drop by the comments section below and let us know!