2022 Ergonomics Day – how ergonomics can help you

Inbar Gilboa

Senior Ergonomist

Did you know? The 28th of February is Ergonomics Day in Israel and around the world

The purpose of ergonomics is to prevent musculoskeletal injuries, the leading causes of which include repetitiveness. For this reason, ergonomists have chosen February, which is the month whose number of days changes each time and is not repetitive. A kind of reverse humor, if you will.

Most of us hear ergonomics and think of office ergonomics and immediately ask ourselves “Am I sitting properly? And “Where should I put the screen?”. But ergonomics is much more besides. Every product that we make and action that we perform has an ergonomic motif – from a pushchair to a shopping cart. From a computer mouse to home kitchen design. Everything that we touch and use is ergonomic or not ergonomic.

In ergonomics, it’s all about not having to think about what we are using. When the product or workspace is ergonomic, we will not notice it. But when something is not ergonomic, we will feel it immediately in the form of discomfort, disuse or pain.

Where can ergonomics help you?

First, due to intensive work on computers in all disciplines in recent years, office ergonomics is at the forefront, but does not stop there. Information and tips on this subject may be found on our blog on working from home.

Second, another field in physical ergonomics deals with the design and improvement of manufacturing and operation stations in the industrial world. Ill-fitting workstations will result in work injury and absences, resulting in reduced manufacturing rate and factory profits, in the worst case. In contrast, ergonomically tailoring a workstation will reduce the ergonomic risks and chances of injury. Tailoring the workstation will include the station’s height, operation distances, location of accessories and use of tailored tools. A factory that conducts an ergonomic hazard survey will identify and address existing hazards, will reduce injuries of workers and days of absence, and will increase worker satisfaction, contributing to its profits.

Third, in the development and design of products and systems such as in the defense, medical and technology industries, ergonomics is incorporated into the construction, design and planning process. When a system or product reaches the user, the integration of ergonomics in it or the lack of ergonomic motifs is what will determine the efficiency and convenience of use for the operating user and for the maintenance man responsible for repairing that product. All users of the product will benefit from correct ergonomic design.

But as noted, when ergonomics is not incorporated into the design process, users will feel its absence in the form of inconvenience of use and an increased risk of ergonomics-related injuries.

What is an ergonomics-related injury?

An ergonomics-related injury is usually due to a poor, strenuous or repetitive position or posture, or all three. Risk increases with high frequency of assuming the position or a long, static period of remaining in it.

The professional term for ergonomic injuries is musculoskeletal disorders, also known as work-related musculoskeletal disorders or cumulative trauma disorders. One may understand that the injuries are due to work factors to which the worker is exposed chronically and persistently.

What is damaged in an ergonomics-related injury?

Regrettably, every organ and tissue in the body can be affected by poor work posture or excessive exposure to hazards. Our muscles, tendons, joints, bones, blood vessels and even whole body systems may be involved. Examples of common ergonomics-related injuries are carpal tunnel syndrome, in which pressure forms in the area in which the hand flexor tendons and the median nerve pass through the wrist, resulting in hand tingling and pain. Rotator cuff injuries involve one of the tendons of muscles moving the arm and passing through the shoulder being torn or sustaining microtrauma, causing pain and restricted movement. And the most common injury is back injuries.

In conclusion, ergonomics day does not really happen once a year or once every four years… ergonomics is with us, around us and for us every day and at every time. We would be glad to help you combine office ergonomics, or ergonomic industrial design, in the design of your workspaces too.