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Why Is Ergonomics Such A Concern Today?



Ergonomics at its heart serves as the prism by which we perceive our work environments and our experiences with them. Boiled down, the simple definition of ergonomics is the study of the efficiency of people in their work environment.

However, the ergonomics study and, moreover, the impact that proper implementation can have on a business or industry as a whole is a little more complex than that. In reality, ergonomics could be the key to staying alive with the rise of the worldwide industry and the development of eCommerce and instant transactions.


Any contact that may have with a workplace environment, as we have learned, can be considered a growth field. For example, if you work a jackhammer all day long, the vibration and frequent action would more than likely cause some musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) to develop which would make your life more difficult as a result.

If that example is more factual than fictitious, you aren’t alone. Back in 1997, as stated by the WHO (World Health Organization), “…the overall economic losses resulting from work-related diseases and injuries were approximately 4% of the world’s gross national product.” However, it should be noted that the figure presented represents only the direct cost of MSD development and other related poor ergonomic injuries. Poor ergonomics have indirect ramifications which have led to a growing interest in proper ergonomic and safety procedures.

While we stand today, it is still estimated that around 2 percent of our global GDP is lost due to MSDs and other workplace injuries, given the development of global economies and knowledge. You can’t neglect the human factors and ergonomics when it comes to keeping a healthy growth margin and worker base.


We are currently in a time of prosperity and rapid growth. This means that previously unparalleled quantities of products are being requested, and businesses are expected to do much more with much less. This results in oversights in the workplace and preventable injuries.

It is worth noting, however, that investing time and money in ergonomics has indeed led to further growth, productivity and performance. And as an added bonus, when ergonomics are used properly, it is entirely possible to mitigate or fully eliminate accidents in the workplace, resulting in more happy workers and hence greater productivity.

Overall the number of workplace-related injuries has decreased as of writing this. But surprisingly, as we progress towards a society with more minute wrist and hand movements, the number of people suffering from Musculoskeletal Disorders has grown over the years. It requires a better understanding of what works for bodies and making the necessary adjustments to maintain a healthy life.

If we can now understand and adapt the workplaces to better integrate proper ergonomic designs, then we will only have to adapt our ergonomic policies in the future, rather than integrating completely new systems. The development of cognitive ergonomics is especially important as we potentially become an industry that requires workers to supervise hundreds of automated workers.



Being proactive is the best way to tackle ergonomics and prevent injury. Waiting until an incident occurs and then changing things will only fix the momentary issue, rather than prevent it. Therefore, in order to use ergonomics correctly, one must have an idea of what could cause injuries, how to help prevent those injuries and then work actively to make those changes to the workplace.

It’s important to look at history when determining where to start, and learn what you can from there. A 2003 study of workers who frequently experienced vibrations in their upper limbs found that, in addition to medical surveillance, anti-vibration gloves could actually act preventively, allowing workers to worry less about the pain in their limbs and focus on the job at hand instead.

So how ergonomics are employed in the workplace is entirely up to what your workplace is. When you work an office job and experience signs of carpal tunnel syndrome, maybe investing in or having a wrist rest can help prevent more pain. One way of removing the pressure from the keyboard and mouse that contributes to the Carpal Tunnel is to create a proper posture at the office desk, or even simply to allow more breaks.

Finally, if you do repetitive actions or subject yourself to anything that is currently unpleasant, measures should be in place to allow you to take breaks or relax.

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