How Safety Managers Can Identify and Reduce Workplace Stress

It’s almost impossible to separate stress from work perhaps they can both be referred to as synonyms. A little amount of stress is not that bad although this kind of stress is referred to as pressure. What is then the difference between pressure and stress?

 

Stress is defined as the reactional measures or responses to too much pressure. The little amount of pressure in the workplace is needed to increase workers’ motivation, stay focused and energetic, test their resilience to challenges and leave a positive mark on their total performance.

 

Excessive stress or burnout tends to mar workers’ emotional and physical health, performance and productivity, and ultimately, their work-life balance. This is a more reason why it is pertinent to recognise the stress signs as early as possible.

 

What are the ways to identify stress signs in the workplace?

Having to pinpoint stress signs may be difficult because its manifestation differs from people. Likewise, identifying stress signs in various organizations are different across boards.

 

However, there are common grounds for individuals and organizations vis-à-vis recognizing the telltale signs of stress. The signs indicating the workforce stress are as follows: having employees work for long hours, time deadlines, constantly increasing demands, reduced efficiency, and productivity, increased sickness levels and absenteeism.

 

The following are the ways to identify workplace stress:

  • Safety and health data: When safety reports are made available, it’s going to help raise issues related to the rate of workers absence especially due to sickness. This helps to identify the patterns whenever such signs are spotted quickly.
  • Non-compliance to safety measures: When workplace safety and procedures are made available but do not adhere to the way it ought to be followed.

 

How can these stress factors be reduced to the barest minimum?

 

Irrespective of the kind of job your organisation is into, we’ve been able to identify the four ways to reduce workplace stress. They are as follows:

  • Be a positive role model: It’s discovered that employees are affected positively by the manner in which their managers or employers manage stress. Deadlines that seem so near before will eventually appear far away.
  • Have a close discussion with your employees: It’s said that a problem shared is a problem half-solved. When employees can speak their minds about the situation that they’re facing, it’s going to douse the tension. Henceforth, cases of absenteeism will be reduced because they’ll be eager and motivated to come to work every day.
  • Raising workplace stress issues in safety and health committee meetings: This makes everyone informed about the potential problem that’s likely to befall the business if all measures are not taken into Hence, it gives every stakeholder in the company the assurance that the problem will be addressed.

 

It’s clear from the above that the workplace shouldn’t be a place where faces appear dull or tensions are always on the high side because of all stress factors that have been highlighted. To make your employees work in a good mood coupled with high motivation, then ensure that stress should be given a positive narrative.

 

Have you taken our all-in-one Safety Management software for a spin yet? If not, take advantage of our FREE trial today. You will not regret it.

Accident-Prevention Tips for Safety Managers: Making Workplace Safety a Priority

Every year, approximately 2.3 million people die in workplace-related accidents, and there is a pressing need to turn the tide on these preventable deaths by address these safety issues, worker behaviour, and reporting.

Future workplace injuries can be predicted with accuracy rates as high as 80-97% as indicated by a recent study conducted by Carnegie Mellon University. Based on extensive data and applying powerful modelling tools sets construction companies mainly could predict and prevent workplace accidents, resulting in a stronger safety culture and workplace productivity as well as monetary savings.

Overview

To unlock trends and patterns, predictive analytics relies on machine learning using advanced techniques such as decision trees, support vector machines, and neural networks.

Consistently, construction companies are collecting more and more workplace safety data in the form of safety inspections, analyzes, audits and so on. Nonetheless, this level is posed with a danger that the returning data will be so general as to be unusable at regional or site-specific levels.

Current options

In the meantime, what are the alternatives to predicting the future? Over the past number of decades, the construction industry and the health and safety industry has built an excellent best practice models with the aid of modern technology into their workplaces, and that work continues today. Attending health and safety briefings along with, more than likely, site-specific training is made compulsory to anybody working in any high-risk industry.

Best solution

To combating workplace dangers, these essential elements have a considerable impact on highlighting hazards, staff training in hazard prevention and protocols and workplace accidents. However, they can be made to be more consistent with online rather than face-to-face versions of same as they are time-consuming to implement.

The best starting place for these online inductions and online orientations is by tackling what is called the ‘Fatal Four’ that account for about 57% of all construction sites deaths. These are:

  • Falls 36%
  • Caught between objects 2%
  • Electrocutions 9%
  • Struck by objects 10%

To highlight and institute preventative practices, these are relatively straightforward, and they will reap the rewards regarding saving lives which is, ultimately, the goal of all these programs.

Conclusion

The best way to forestall this kind of incidents is to use predictive health and safety technology to forecast possible occurrences while also to use online training (inductions) to reduce this number significantly.

Beakon offers incident, injury, and safety management software to help combat issues like this. If your company is not currently using software to manage these key aspects of your business, you should start today. Our free trial can help you dip your toes into using software to stay ahead and keep your employees safe.

Visitor Management 101: 3 Questions to Ask Before Letting Someone Onto Your Worksite.

When you oversee worksites, it is essential to know who is visiting your site, for what reason they are visiting, and whether you have all that you have to give them the green light for their visit. On the off chance that you don’t have the foggiest idea about who’s going onto your site – or on the off chance that you don’t have all the data you have to clear them – you can end up managing safety issues, obligation issues, and potential issues.

So, what, precisely, do you have to know before letting somebody onto your site?

 

Question #1 – Does the person have the proper clearance to visit or access the site?

The main thing you have to know is regardless of whether a visitor has clearance to enter your work facility. Anybody can stroll in from the road and request to visit your worksite; it is fundamental that before you let them in, you know whether they have a reason – and consent – to be there.

The individual well on the way to know regardless of whether a visitor is approved to visit a site is the individual that welcomed them. That is the reason it is vital to have a framework at registration that captions the correct contact of their visitor’s arrival and enables them to affirm the visitor has clearance to enter the site.

 

Question #2 – Does the person have the best possible safety training required to enter the site?

Work locales present certain perils, and it is essential that each visitor that goes ahead site knows about any potential threats or insurances they have to take to explore the work site securely.

Before you let somebody onto your site, it is fundamental to guarantee they’ve experienced any security acceptances or preparing your organization has set up – and that you have a record that they’ve finished them.

Ensuring each visitor finishes your security enlistments or preparing and sees how to explore the site will guarantee that everybody on location acts appropriately and maintains the safety measures set up.

 

Question #3 – Where is this individual checking into the worksite from?

If you have multiple points of entry, it is essential to know where your visitor is checking in from.  If you do not track a visitor’s purpose of entry before they enter a vast work site, you increment the odds of them losing all sense of direction in a conceivably dangerous region.

If you know where they’re going to the place before their visit, you (or they’re on location contact) can guarantee they have the data they have to explore that specific territory and get to where they have to go quicker, more secure, and all the more productively.

Visitor management is a necessary component of running a sheltered and productive work site. In any case, the visitor management process can be a testing one – on the off chance that you don’t have the correct devices.

With Beakon, you can go without much of a stretch deal with your visitors from one simple to-utilize application. Through Beakon, you can track different registration focuses, convey vital security data, gather essential distinguishing proof and marks, and alarm nearby contacts when visitors arrive.

Start today for FREE with a no-obligation trial.

3 Steps to Build an Organisational Culture of Safety Through Employee Inductions

Employees in their first month at work are three times more prone to injury than the workers who have been there for over a year.

The reason is simple. These new employees are faced with new assignments, unfamiliar equipment and tools, funny-sounding names and terms they are not used to. These examples are just a few of what new employees face. As a result, it is not difficult to perceive how health and safety considerations can easily be ignored. When this happens, incidents occur.

Therefore, Health and Safety Managers should discover effective approaches to enable new employees to maintain a strategic distance from injuries during their first few, high-risk, weeks on the job. The solution is an efficient employee on-boarding and induction process.

 

Step 1. Decide on what to Incorporate into an Employee Induction Process

For you to deliver your employee induction process, you will need a learning management system (LMS). This system enables you to deliver the Health and Safety training to new employees on a flexible schedule without it taking your time or reducing the productivity of your managers.

Of course, there is a considerable measure of ground to cover when inducting new employees. The beauty of using an LMS is that you can record the session once and you can send new employees the link to take the induction.

Health and Safety Managers see employee inductions as an avenue to build up a positive culture of safety in the organisation. You are in charge of being compliant, and you must get new employees up to speed as quickly as possible without hindering productivity – an online onboarding process is a key.

Step 2. Utilize an Employee Induction Checklist

Employee induction checklists are a helpful starting point when you go about enhancing your onboarding procedure. Contingent upon your industry, your business, and your frameworks and processes, this checklist may include a variety of health and safety policies that are particular to your employees’ needs.

With that said, outlined below are the fundamentals every induction process includes:

  • Emergency procedures, including instructions for evacuation, crisis assembly locations, emergency exits, fire alarms, and fire equipment like extinguishers, etc.
  • First aid treatment
  • Information relating to organisational health and safety legislations to increase compliance
  • Safe work practices
  • Protective equipment and gear requirements and condition, for example, safety glasses or work gloves
  • Risks and dangers innate to your particular working environment

These are general, but vital, additions in employee inductions. A useful checklist will be one that is consistently evolving in light of feedback from employees and emerging dangers from within the working environment.

This form can quiz employees on health and safety policies and ask for recommendations that can be used to iterate your induction checklist.

Step 3. Consistently Enhance Employee Inductions over Time

The best way to test the effectiveness of anything is to gather enough feedback. With the right feedback and accurate, unbiased reports, you can be able to use to fine-tune your employee inductions over time.

A simple way to gather this data is to create a feedback request form that you will send out a few weeks after the induction. You can automate this process for full-time employees. However, this is not necessary for contract workers who might only be working for a short while.

The feedback request form can test employees on health and safety policies and request suggestions that can be utilized to emphasize your induction checklist.

In conclusion

For you to create a thorough, successful employee induction, you require a checklist that can be produced and enhanced as times go by.

Beakon’s suite of software enables you to build dynamic employee and contractor onboarding lessons that will have your workers hit the ground being productive. Start a no-risk free trial today to get started.

 

4 Steps to Use Technology to Identify Workplace Hazards

Would technology be able to assist you with identifying workplace hazards? Completely. Indeed, an ever-increasing number of associations are finding that by utilising OHS software, they are ready to decrease workplace risks and work all the more effective.

One of the initial moves toward achieving an agreeable health and safety standard is to recognise the hazards special to your workplace. Workplace hazards change from industry to industry, and they can even shift among various organisations inside a similar industry. These hazards rely upon numerous variables: the sorts of work your employees do, the size and state of your offices, the number of your staff and much more.

In this post, we will take a gander at how to utilise technology to recognise workplace hazards. Once you have distinguished these, you are in a great position to decrease your risks and enhance your employee’s workplace conditions.

 

  1. Utilise ISO Standards

Global safety standards like those spread out by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) can assist associations with operating by health and safety best practices. These standards are constantly renewed, and on the off chance that you generally remain consistent with the standards, you will never fall behind.

Utilising OHS software that can enable you to screen your consistency with these standards can assist you with staying in front of any progressions or even potential risks.

 

  1. Make a Simple Reporting System

As a rule, the people who are entrusted with managing workplace safety are not acquainted with the average working status of everybody in the organisation. That is the reason it is imperative to make a simple to-utilise detailing framework that makes it feasible for labourers to report unfriendly working conditions or issues that need your consideration.

These could be fundamental issues, for example, a seat rail that has turned out to be free, or they could be substantially more significant issues like provocation issues or perils related to harmful synthetic compounds. Without input from representatives, it is hard to consider every contingency. Even better, utilise OHS software like Beacon that enables workers to effortlessly report health and safety issues from any gadget, progressively.

 

  1. Calendar Regular Reviews

Once you have settled on the reception of safety standards for your association, you will have to survey your criteria and ensure that you are consistent frequently. This should be possible through regular assessments, input from specialists, month-to-month reports and different measures.

With OHS software, it is significantly less demanding to remain over these surveys. You can electronically plan your studies and naturally send suggestions to everybody engaged with the audit procedure. You can set up electronic agendas for the investigators to utilise, which will typically make professionally designed reports. You can likewise fuse worker input into your surveys and reports.

 

  1. Carry Out Risk Assessments

Once you have distinguished the hazards inalienable to your workplace, you can utilise innovation to handle the following stage, a risk evaluation. Of the considerable number of risks you ran over in your survey, which ones merit the most consideration? Which ones ought to be tended to quickly? With limited assets, you will likely need to organise the risks and address the most squeezing ones first. Utilise your OHS software to make and keep up a Risk and Control Register, which will enable you to picture which risks ought to get earnest consideration.

 

Conclusion

These are only a couple of the manners in which you can utilise innovation to distinguish workplace hazards. We urge you to experiment with a free demo of our OHS software so you can perceive how this innovation can assist your association with reducing risk and stay consistent. Enhance your organisation by making a culture of commitment and responsibility; make health and safety a need. For more information, get a free trial or contact us today.

Work Health and Safety Inductions: Top 3 Mistakes to Avoid

According to research from Toronto-based Institute for Work & Health, employees in their first month at a new job are 3 times more prone to be harmed at work than workers who have been at their occupations for more than a year.

While the research does not clarify why new employees are at such high hazard for damage, specialists have conjectured. Some bring up that new employees are performing new assignments, some of which are unsafe. Others propose that new employees might be reluctant to make inquiries since they need to appear equipped and ingrain their new employers with trust in them. Overall, others say that new employees are new to the gear and work conditions and conceivably overpowered by the sheer number of subtle elements they should learn in a short measure of time.

Whatever the purpose behind this expanded hazard, employers ought to assess their work health and safety inductions to limit the threat to new employees.

In this post, we will look at basic oversights made amid inductions that, whenever amended, could assist your new employees with being safer at work.

1. Skimming over Health and Safety Policies

Much of the time, work has been heaping up amid the enlisting period, and you would get a kick out of the chance to get your new worker working instantly. Nevertheless, fight the temptation to skim over health and safety policies amid your inductions to spare time. Why?

Inductions are a key time when you can impart positive safety propensities in your employees. These propensities prompt a healthy culture of safety, to assist your new employees with realizing that their safety is essential to you. You can do this by setting aside an opportunity to clarify your policies and answer any inquiries that emerge completely.

2. Being Disorganized

You have a considerable measure of ground to cover in your work health and safety inductions, and it is very simple to overlook a portion of the data. A structure is a vital component to ensuring you cover all the fundamental data.

The best technique we are aware of for recalling all that you have to cover in your inductions it to utilize a worker enlistment checklist. Our software enables you to construct intelligent computerized checklists with the goal that you can make enlistment checklists for various positions and distinctive employees.

Our software enables you to streamline your inductions by allotting classes to everything. In this manner, you do not sit around idly going over data that will not be helpful to a worker; instead, you will make certain to cover the basics for the new worker’s position.

Since the app is accessible on smartphones, you will not need to stress over printing out sheets of paper and losing printed versions. You will have everything in the induction software, including subjects like crisis techniques, clearing directions, get together areas, safe work hones, emergency treatment, defensive hardware, and dangers inalienable to your workplace.

3. Enabling Your Inductions to Become Obsolete

In the event that you think back a few years, you will see that things have changed at your workplace. You have procured some new gear. Your items and administrations may have made strides. Employees come and go, and you may have even expanded your workspace. Have you changed your work health and safety inductions to stay on top of these progressions? If not, you could be putting your new employees in danger.

You can utilize Beakon software for the reviews. Our software makes the reviews simple to finish for your employees, and you will get data that will assist you with improving your inductions and begin important discussions about your workplace’s safety.

By maintaining a strategic distance from these three mistakes, you can altogether perform work health and safety inductions for your new employees and make a culture of safety at your workplace. Improve your enlistment procedure by utilizing our software and apps to make and audit your inductions and to ensure you cover each imperative point.

To experience the awesomeness of our all-in-one software for yourself, start a free trial today.

Office Safety Part 2: 15 More Tips for a Safer Office

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In our last post we listed 10 tips to keep your office environment safe for employees, and in this article we continue with 15 more tips and common work-safety issues that employers and safety officers need to keep in mind to maintain a safe workplace.

Vision problems

Although looking at a computer monitor cannot damage your eyes, spending a large portion of your workday at the computer can cause eyestrain, according to Chicago-based Prevent Blindness America. Eyes can become dry and irritated, and workers may begin having trouble focusing. A few work area adjustments can help alleviate some of these issues.

1- Dim the lights and use task lamps
Florescent lights in office buildings often are too bright for optimal vision. According to the American Optometric Association, light that is at about half-normal office levels is preferred. This can be achieved by removing some bulbs from overhead fixtures. If more light is needed for a particular task, the British Columbia Public Service Employee Relations Commission recommends providing individual task lamps rather than increasing overall lighting. The commission cautions that lightbulbs in task lamps should be fully recessed to avoid the creation of a bright spot in the worker’s line of vision.

2- Correctly position monitors
Prevent Blindness America recommends workers place their computer monitors slightly below eye level and 20-26 inches from their eyes. Screens that can tilt or swivel are especially beneficial. “Your eyes’ resting position is a few degrees below the horizon when you’re looking straight ahead,” Paquette said.

3- Minimize screen glare
The American Optometric Association points to screen glare as a major cause of eyestrain in the office. To minimize strain, avoid positioning monitors opposite open windows, or be sure to always close shades or blinds. A glare reduction filter also can be used.

4- Wear the right glasses
Workers should tell their eye doctor if they spend a large portion of the day working on the computer, the association recommends. The doctor can check the efficiency of vision at 20-30 inches – the typical distance a computer monitor should be placed. Glasses are available for computer use that allow the wearer to see the full monitor without having to excessively strain the neck.

5- Increase font size on computer
Small font sizes on the computer can strain both your vision and your neck, as workers tend to pull the head forward to view smaller print. A simple adjustment to the font size on the computer screen can eliminate the need for this. “In many software programs, you can use the CTRL-scroll up or down or CTRL+ or CTRL- to increase or reduce the size of the page you are looking at,” Paquette said.

6- Take a break
Giving your eyes a rest and allowing them to focus on things at varying distances can help reduce strain and fatigue. OSHA recommends workers take a 10-minute break for every hour spent on the computer. These breaks can include working on tasks that require your eyes to focus on objects at a further range.

Fire safety

Local fire departments responded to approximately 3,830 office fires each year between 2004 and 2008, according to the Quincy, MA-based National Fire Protection Association. On average, these fires caused four civilian deaths and 37 civilian injuries annually. Some routine inspections around the office can help reduce the likelihood of fire causing such devastation.

7- Maintain cords in good repair
According to the Office of Compliance, damaged and ungrounded power cords pose a serious fire hazard and violate safety codes. Cords should be inspected regularly for wear and taken out of service if they are frayed or have exposed wire. Further, cords should never be used if the third prong has been damaged or removed. Make sure cords are not overloading outlets. The most common causes of fires started by extension cords are improper use and overloading. Extension cords should be approved by a certifying laboratory such as Underwriters Laboratories, and only used temporarily to connect one device at a time.

8- Inspect space heaters
If employees use space heaters, verify the devices are approved for commercial use and have a switch that automatically shuts off the heater if the heater is tipped over, the Office of Compliance suggests. Further, make sure space heaters are not powered through an extension cord or placed near combustible materials such as paper.

9- Never block fire sprinklers
Furniture and tall stacks of materials can block the range of fire sprinklers, reducing their effectiveness in the event of an emergency. Objects should never be placed higher than 18 inches below sprinkler heads to allow a full range of coverage, according to the Office of  Compliance.

10- Do not block escape routes or prop open fire doors  
Items never should be stored along an emergency exit route. These paths should remain free of clutter, according to OSHA. Fire doors should not be held open by unapproved means (such as with a garbage can or chair), as this creates a significant fire hazard.

Administrative controls

In addition to employee training and improved equipment, certain administrative controls can aid hazard recognition and the elimination of potentially dangerous situations.

11- Conduct walk-throughs
Periodically walking around the office can help with hazard recognition and maintenance of ergonomic task design. Turina recommended employers conduct an ergonomics screen of every workstation at least once a year. “Employee complaints are invaluable in the process, but yearly reassessments can help to ensure that a good fit is maintained between employee and workstation,” he said.

12- Monitor signs of musculoskeletal disorders
Recognizing the symptoms of musculoskeletal disorders can alert employees of the need to make an ergonomics alteration to their workstation. But workers need to know what those warning signs are. “Lots of musculoskeletal injuries developing from poor ergonomics start out asymptomatically and can become quite severe by the time an employee starts to experience symptoms,” Turina said. Pay attention to any pain, fatigue, numbness or weakness, as these may be signs of an ergonomics problem and the start of a more serious MSD.

13- Talk to employees about their concerns
Simply asking workers how they are feeling can go a long way toward recognizing hazards. “Employers need to take advantage of the cases where employees are experiencing symptoms like discomfort and fatigue early on, when quick, inexpensive interventions can usually solve the problem,” Turina said. “Ignoring these early warning signs can lead to employee suffering and astronomical cost in some cases.”

14- Establish employee reporting systems
Establishing an employee reporting system can be the best way for organizations to get a handle on potential hazards before they cause injury. Consider creating an anonymous reporting process that encourages workers to come forward with their concerns. “Research shows that early intervention yields the most cost-efficient results in all areas,” Paquette said.

 

15- Correct mouse placement
Paquette often sees workstations where the computer keyboard is on a tray, but the mouse remains on the desk. “That spells disaster for the neck and shoulder on the side of that mouse,” she said. She recommends that the mouse always be placed beside the keyboard.

Office Safety: 10 steps to a safer office

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A job where most of the work tasks are completed while sitting in a chair in a climate-controlled office building would seem less fraught with danger. However, a surprising number of hazards can be present in an office setting.

According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 80,410 private-industry office and administrative workers suffered on-the-job injuries in 2008. Many of these injuries could have been prevented had workers or supervisors recognized the risks and implemented simple workplace modifications to help mitigate them.

Here are 25 steps you can take to reduce the risk of injury among your office staff.

Falls

Slips, trips and falls, the most common type of office injury, sidelined 25,790 workers in 2008, according to BLS. The National Safety Council says employees are 2.5 times more likely to suffer a disabling fall in an office setting than anywhere else. Several hazards contribute to these injuries, although most can be significantly reduced, often by raising awareness among employees.

1- Stay clutter-free
Boxes, files and various items piled in walkways can create a tripping hazard, according to OSHA. Be certain that all materials are safely stored in their proper location to prevent buildup of clutter in walkways. Further, in addition to posing an electrical hazard, stretching cords across walkways or under rugs creates a tripping hazard, so ensure all cords are properly secured and covered.

2- Step on up
Standing on chairs – particularly rolling office chairs – is a significant fall hazard. Workers who need to reach something at an elevated height should use a stepladder. The Chicago-based American Ladder Institute cautions that stepladders must be fully opened and placed on level, firm ground. Workers should never climb higher than the step indicated as the highest safe standing level.

3- Maintain a clear line of vision
Workers can collide when making turns in the hallways and around blind corners or cubicle walls. The National Safety Council suggests installing convex mirrors at intersections to help reduce collisions. If workers can see who is coming around the corner, collisions are less likely to occur.

4- Get a grip
Carpeting and other skid-resistant surfaces can serve to reduce falls. Marble or tile can become very slippery – particularly when wet, according to the National Safety Council. Placing carpets down can be especially helpful at entranceways, where workers are likely to be coming in with shoes wet from rain or snow.

Struck/caught by

Another major type of injury in the office setting comes from workers being struck by or caught by an object. Incidents of this nature accounted for 15,680 injuries in 2008, according to BLS.

5- Shut the drawer
File cabinets with too many fully extended drawers could tip over if they are not secured, the council warns. Additionally, open drawers on desks and file cabinets pose a tripping hazard, so be sure to always completely close drawers when not in use.

6- Safe stacking
According to the Office of Compliance, which oversees the safety of U.S. congressional workers, proper storage of heavy items can help reduce the number of office injuries. Large stacks of materials and heavy equipment can cause major injuries if they are knocked over. OOC recommends storing heavy objects close to the floor, and warns that the load capacity of shelves or storage units should never be exceeded.

 

Ergonomics injuries

Perhaps the most prevalent injuries in an office setting are related to ergonomics. Because office workers spend the bulk of their day seated at a desk and working on a computer, they are prone to strains and other injuries related to posture and repetitive movement. Ergonomics hazards can be difficult to detect. “Most office conditions that can be described as hazardous from an ergonomics perspective would appear quite innocuous to the everyday observer,” said Marc Turina, principal consultant for ErgoSmart Consultants in McKees Rocks, PA.

7- Provide adjustable equipment
One size does not fit all in an office workstation. “Adjustability is the key,” Turina said. “Chairs, work surfaces, monitor stands, etc., should all be adjustable in order to accommodate the widest range of employees.” He recommended presenting a variety of options to employees. Although employers may be reluctant to pay for expensive ergonomic equipment, experts insist the equipment is a wise investment. “A good keyboard tray may retail around $300; a good chair may retail around $500 to $700,” said Sonia Paquette, professional ergonomist and doctor of occupational therapy. She points out that the cost of the health claims that stem from not having these devices is much higher. “Some of these hard claims cost many tens of thousands of dollars just of medical treatment, let alone cost of replacement, absenteeism, loss of work production, etc.”

8- Train workers on how to use equipment
Providing adjustable furniture and equipment is only the first step in creating an ergonomically sound workstation. “A big issue that I have encountered a lot lately is employee inability to properly adjust their own office chairs,” Turina said. “Many times, employers can invest $500 in an excellent adjustable chair, but employees still experience a bad workstation fit.” The problem often is twofold: Workers do not know how to adjust their equipment, and they do not know the most ergonomically beneficial way to set up their workstation. Train workers on both the ideal setup and how to operate adjustable equipment accordingly.

9- Keep your feet on the floor
One of the first questions Paquette asks workers is whether their feet touch the floor when seated at their desk. “It sounds like an incredibly simple question,” she said, “but very often workers have their keyboard tray on the desktop, so in order to reach it, they need to jack up their chair so high that their feet can barely touch the floor.” She added that unless an employee’s feet are on the floor, a chair will not be able to reduce pain and discomfort. She recommended options such as adjustable keyboard trays or rolling tables adjusted to the proper height to eliminate this problem. Although footrests are a “second-best option,” their small surface may impede some of the worker’s movement.

10- Provide document holders
Frequently typing from hard copy can lead to neck strain if a worker is forced to repeatedly look down to the desk and back to the computer screen. Turina recommends providing document holders to reduce this strain. “These document holders are reasonably priced, and eliminate excessive cervical motion and help to prevent muscle imbalances,” he said. Document holders also are good for the eyes, according to the St. Louis-based American Optometric Association. Keeping reference materials close to the monitor reduces the need for your eyes to change focus as you look from the document to the monitor.