Utilising Ergonomic Tools To Support Working From Home During COVID-19
Social distancing and self-isolation restrictions have left millions of individuals around the world working from home for an indefinite period. Now more than ever, it is important to consider the ergonomics of homeworking. Ergonomics is the study of how humans interact with the workspace around them. Increasingly, it is being utilised to help firms make process and design changes that mitigate work-related musculoskeletal disorders (WRMSDs) among frontline workers (see Verdantix Strategic Focus: Emerging Technologies For Reducing Musculoskeletal Disorders Among Frontline Workers).
The consideration of ergonomics is typically centred around the design of shop floors and workspaces of employees in the field due to their higher exposure to potential risks. In recent weeks however, the number of individuals working from home has soared as a result of COVID-19. According to HSE, the average musculoskeletal employee injury contributes to 14 days away from work which heavily impacts both individual and business-wide productivity. With firms already facing absenteeism due to COVID-19, it is important to support employees with the design of their home workspace and ensure correct posture is utilised to mitigate the risks of WRMSDs.
Various vendors such as VelocityEHS, SBN, EcoOnline, and KPA have already recognised the importance of proper ergonomics during COVID-19 and have started to add resources and tools to support individuals working from home. VelocityEHS, for example, offers complimentary access to their Humantech ergonomics work-from-home toolbox. This kit offers a number of articles, webinars and other educational resources for employees who are working from home as a result of current global events. Other example vendors listed above include: Simple But Needed (SBN) who have added ergonomic and inspection modules to their software to evaluate home workspaces; EcoOnline who have granted organizations four months of free access to their Safety Manager solution – which now contains a ‘Working Safely at Home’ checklist – to aid firms in transitioning to a homeworking environment; and KPA who have created a ‘Working From Home’ ergonomics training course to provide all workers with the necessary insights to mitigate the risks of long-term musculoskeletal damage.
With musculoskeletal issues accounting for 29% of all work days lost from work-related ill-health in the UK, EHS software resources can play a vital role in providing access to essential information that support the wellbeing of employees who are working from home for the foreseeable future.