Embracing participatory ergonomics

Getting all levels involved in process can reduce injuries and boost productivity
By Troy Winters
|Canadian HR Reporter|Last Updated: 08/08/2016

Musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) and injuries remain one of the most common occupationally compensable costs to employers in Canada. Musculoskeletal injuries (MSIs) are also one of the leading causes of long-term absences from the workplace, and often require accommodations for a proper return to work. 

Aspects of a job that increase the likelihood of developing MSDs and injuries include: working at a pace that is too fast to allow for adequate rest, handling heavy loads, making forceful movements or repeatedly holding static postures for long periods of time. Additionally, being exposed to local or full body vibration, bending and twisting away from the resting posture and working in cold conditions while exposed to any of the other risky activities will increase the likelihood of injury. 

The number and severity of MSDs resulting from poorly designed workspaces and the associated costs can be substantially reduced by applying principles of ergonomics in workspace design.