As an independent ergonomic counselor offering my services to high tech companies, I often wonder – who would be the right person to meet at the organization in order to create a serious and effective ergonomic program?
My experience tells me that in each organization, the correct answer will be different.
The crucial person or function to approach could be located at: Human Resources, Staff Welfare, Operations or Acquisition management, R&D Department, or it could be any of the organization’s vice presidents: Safety, IT, Administration, or any departmental Manager.
One of the main obstacles in promoting ergonomics in organizations is that the employees themselves may lack ergonomic awareness. They do not put any pressure on the organization or ask emphatically enough for ergonomic consulting services. After all, not all employees are aware of the causal connection between working environment and bodily pains.
It’s not always easy to make the connection between work and pain. The discomfort and pains suffered by computer users usually develop gradually and do not force the users to stop working immediately. The discomfort turns into chronic pain that the employees learn to live with, suffering quietly and hoping for the best.
Even when employees are well aware of the situation, some of them might hesitate to complain of discomfort and pains they feel at their daily work out of fear of being fired, or being regarded by the organization as trouble makers.
Employers sometimes take advantage of this ignorance or fear, and do nothing to raise awareness. After all, why create problems where you have industrial peace? So they sort of “let sleeping dogs lay”. The situation is the worst in organizations where employees’ turnover is high and the employer has no incentive to improve working conditions.
But ending on a positive note – we see more and more organizations that are open minded towards ergonomics, being well aware of its importance. Those organizations do not hesitate to invest substantial amounts in order to create the right working environment.
As I’ve noted in previous posts, organizations are not promoting ergonomics solely for the employee’s interest. They understand that in the long run, investment in ergonomics has a very high ROI.
For one good example I can give the Israeli Low department that after a long period of consultation, trial period and ROI calculation bought for all its clerics an innovative forearm support board the ergocloud.
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