Musculoskeletal Disorders also known as MSDs is a term many are not familiar with but a common and costly problem for many companies around the world especially in the United States. MSDs are the single largest category of workplace injuries. You may want to know, ‘What are MSDs?’

MSDs are injuries and disorders that affect the human body’s movement or the musculoskeletal system (i.e. muscles, tendons, ligaments, nerves, discs, blood vessels etc.). MSDs are directly related to exposure to some risk factors which are as a result of a lack of Ergonomics in workplace designs.

Various joints in our bodies that can be affected by a lack of ergonomics in workplace design. Image sourced from google images

Many offices boast of a highly creative and modern workspace while overlooking the physical interaction of the employees with the surrounding environment. A study of the human body’s interaction with the environment will help in achieving a balance between the workplace design and the physical demands of the human body.

This is what Ergonomics focuses on; the design of workspaces. How a space is designed plays a huge role in how productive its users would be. Making the best use of space through the optimum placement of equipment, integrating the human factor into workplace design and effectively aligning the workplace into the surrounding environment are major aspects of ergonomics.

Ergonomically designed furniture goes a long way in determining how productive the users are while at work. Photo by Studio Republic on Unsplash

The well-being of people when designing workspaces is such a fundamental and critical aspect of the success of any workplace design. Although a man sitting at his desk does not immediately give an impression of performing a toiling task, it is known to cause disorders that can have adverse effects on health; such as the MSDs.

Many are unaware of the impact of a wrong kind of chair or desk or even a wrong posture while working. This is especially true where I come These can prove over a long period of time without recovery to be fatal. It could strain your eyes, cause headaches, backaches, neck pain etc., due to the repetitive nature of the work.

In designing workspaces, the human need should be considered first rather than forcing people to fit into the design. Muddled office workstations are a major reason why organisations have malingering and low drive at work. The arrangement of furniture should aim at creating an ambience that is user-friendly as this encourages optimum work results while maintaining good health.

Ergonomics should be incorporated into the planning process of any workplace design. Photo by Samule Sun on Unsplash

Workplace ergonomics encompasses the use of design to create an environment that suits the workstation, the job requirement and the worker’s position.

  • It takes into cognizance the setup of the workstation with reference to posture, the time taken to complete a certain activity, movement and repetitions required to complete an activity.
  • It also considers the surroundings of the workplace, the lightings used, levels of noise, humidity and temperature.
  • Finally, it looks at the tools used for performing the job; mouse, keyboard, printer and scanner.

The use of good ergonomics is critical in the design of modern workplaces since they are more focused on people. The importance of ergonomics cannot be overemphasized as it goes a long way in ensuring the health and safety of workers while ensuring an atmosphere conducive for achieving organizational goals.

The future of workplaces is centred on the people that make up those spaces, therefore, their wellbeing cannot be overemphasized while designing. Photo by Venveo on Unsplash