Frequently Asked Questions about Ergonomics

What is 'ergonomics'?

The word ‘ergonomics’ comes from two Greek words ‘ergon’ – meaning work, and ‘nomos’ – meaning laws. Today, however, the word is used to describe the science of designing the job and the working environment to fit the worker, not forcing the worker to fit the job.

Ergonomics covers all aspects of a person’s job and working environment – from the physical stress work tasks may place on joints, muscles and nerves – to environmental factors that can affect hearing, vision and general comfort – and even emotional stress from excessive working hours, inadequate training or relationship difficulties with colleagues.

Physical stressors include repetitive movements such as keying or using a computer mouse. Physical discomfort may be felt from working at a desk that is too high or using an uncomfortable office chair. Working in an awkward position, such as holding a telephone to the ear with the shoulder, can cause muscle strain and discomfort. Repetitive movements and awkward postures are frequently linked to Musculo-Skeletal Disorders (MSD’s).

Environmental stressors include poor air quality and excessive noise. Improper lighting can cause eyestrain and headaches, especially in relation to long-term computer monitor use.

Ergonomists contribute to the design and evaluation of tasks, jobs, environments and systems in order to make them compatible with the needs, abilities and limitations of people. Small modifications to working practices, posture and the working environment can make a big difference to the way workers feel at the end of each day. Contact WorkWell to see how our ergonomics solutions can optimize your working environment.

What are the benefits of ergonomics?

Many studies show that ergonomics programs have wide-ranging benefits to the individual and the workplace and that they pay for themselves through:

  • Decreased pain and discomfort levels
  • Improved health and wellbeing
  • Improved safety in the workplace
  • Increased staff productivity levels
  • Increased job satisfaction
  • Improved morale and teamwork
  • Lower absenteeism and staff turnover

What services does WorkWell offer?

  • Workstation evaluations – we come to you!
  • Customized consulting for all workplaces
  • Group education in correct workstation set-up, posture and wellbeing at work
  • Prescription of correct office furniture and desktop equipment
  • Review of corporate office design plans and refurbishments
  • Consulting to any sized office from one to 300 staff
  • Environment assessments (lighting, noise and air quality)
  • Occupational Health and Safety audits
  • Ergonomics consulting to retail and light industrial workplaces
  • Third party sub-contracting for international ergonomics providers
  • The only English-speaking ergonomics service in Korea!

How is a workstation assessment conducted?

The assessment is conducted at the individual’s own workstation. Each assessment can take between 20-60 minutes to complete, depending on the issues to be addressed. An assessment typically comprises:

  • A detailed review of 30+ aspects of the workstation (desktop layout, workstation furniture and use of all desktop equipment)
  • Exploring any discomfort related to work practices e.g. eye strain, neck pain
  • Measurement of lighting, sound levels and air quality
  • Discussion of healthy working practices
  • Provision of verbal and written advice e.g.
    – Making physical changes to the workstation set-up
    – Prescribing specific stretches for physical wellbeing
    – Providing handouts about correct workstation set-up and wellbeing tips