|Type of paper:||Essay|
|Categories:||Human resources Employment Profession|
Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) is one of the most critical industrial relations which must be taken into account for the success of any organization where labor is offered. Due to the rising number of accidents which have been reported in the workplace, the need for safety measures has continued to grow (Seiko, 2017). These accidents have to lead to injury, illness, loss of life and property as well as putting heavy financial burdens on companies due to compensations. The heavy compensations have to lead to financial loses and in some cases collapse of companies. To mitigate this, most organizations have equipped their human resource by training as well as hiring individuals to deal with issues of OHS. One of these professionals is the Ergonomist. My aim in this paper is to look into the significance of an ergonomist in the workplace.
The ergonomist scope of practice
An ergonomist is concerned with productivity and wellbeing of workers. He has to ensure that systems are efficient to enhance maximum productivity as well as enhancing the safety of the workers.
Relieving the stress of material mishandling: According to Seiko (2017), allot of injuries occur in the workplace during material handling process in cases where the work of an ergonomist is ignored. Material handling in the workplace includes lifting raw materials and finished products, transporting either by carrying products or pushing handcarts. Material handling can either be manual or by use of machinery. These pose varying levels of health risk to human life. A lot of back injuries come due to material mishandling. The ergonomist is therefore required to give clear directions on how to safely handle materials.
The ergonomist also checks how people use the machines and equipment at their workplace. He has to ensure proper usage of the resources by ensuring that operational manuals for machinery and equipment are strategically located to enable all workers to read them. In 2017, Seiko suggested that when the operational procedures are clear, safety and productivity are enhanced at the workplace.
The ergonomist should also be involved in the design of the working area as well as the design of products. Properly designed working environment ensures safety and health of workers (Hall-Andersen and Broberg, 2014). He has to ensure that all public health needs are met in the design process thus calling for collaboration between the ergonomist and the designers. He has to advise the designers so that machinery and equipment are located properly within the workplace to minimize accidents and health hazards and to have clear pathways to help in effective evacuation in times of danger. He also has to give guidance on the sitting area and type of seats to help avoid neck and backache problems.
The ergonomist also works together with health professionals. This is due to the need to acquaint himself with the emerging issues of health in the workplace. McKillop et al. (2016) believe that ergonomists must work together with health professionals in enhancing workplace safety. He also liaises with them for the training of staff on first aid as well as in health and safety training. In the unfortunate event of accidents, the ergonomist has to work with medics to ensure that the victim is taken care of.
The ergonomist also has to investigate accidents that occur at the workplace. In 2016, Boschman et al. suggested that the ergonomist should be involved in investigating accidents with the aim of preventing a similar occurrence in future. This is due to the need to avoid recurrence of such. He ensures that he identifies the nature and cause of any accident or health hazard and sensitizes the workers on how best to avoid such.
Evaluating health and safety standards within an organization is also a critical role played by the ergonomist. Hall-Andersen and Broberg (2014) believe that monitoring and evaluation of workplace safety standards are paramount for maximum productivity and wellbeing of workers. The ergonomist must sensitize both the employer and employees about the health and safety standards and ensure compliance with the standards from both. This sensitization can be done through regular training and drills in case of fire emergency preparedness.
Standard of ergonomic practice in Canada
In Canada, one has to undergo some level of training to work as an ergonomist.
Education: For someone to be considered for special training as an ergonomist, one should have a mi minimum of a bachelor's degree in ergonomics, ergonomic approaches to people at work, application Areas for Ergonomics, human characteristics and human at work as well as quantitative and qualitative design and analysis. Seven hundred lecture and laboratory hours are required in addition to eight weeks of fieldwork.
Experience: For one to be considered as an experienced professional ergonomist in Canada, he must have covered preliminary project definition, designing and conducting an ergonomics/human factors study or investigation, conducted a systematic analysis of work demands, products or services and also participate in the design process.
The ergonomist and the occupational physician
They both deal with promoting the safety and health of workers
They both enhance the productivity of the workforce.
The occupational physician is required to be familiar with the toxic properties of materials while the ergonomist deals with the effective handling of the materials.
The occupational physician should also have knowledge of rehabilitation and carry out rehabilitation to affected workers hence helping them to return to work. On the other hand, the ergonomist is not meant to rehabilitate workers but to provide them with a conducive work environment.
The ergonomist and the occupational hygienist
Both are concerned with the promotion of safety and health at the workplace.
Both the ergonomist and the occupational hygienist aim at enhancing productivity and profitability at the workplace.
The industrial hygienist identifies, analyzes and controls the stressors that cause injuries in the workplace while the ergonomist ensures that policies and plans are put in place to counter the challenge put across by the industrial hygienist. Industrial hygienists also use scientific methodologies to identify potential hazards while evaluating the level of risk and exposure. On the other hand, the ergonomist checks that employers observe all relevant laws, regulations, and stipulations to minimize safety concerns for employees.
Safety and health of workers is an important aspect of the industry for the success of any organization. The ergonomist who matches the workplace to the worker making the worker comfortable and hence increasing his productivity while minimizing the risk of health hazards should be given a chance in every organization. This will lead to more growth of the organizations even as the workers grow. More research should be conducted to enhance the work of the ergonomist and increase his relevance at workplace leading to improved safety, health and productivity.
OHS Executive Summary
The roles of the Ergonomist
In the workplace today, there are high numbers of accidents and health-related issue which have been reported. This may be due to the nature of work people do or due to failure by either the employer or the employees to observe the laid down rules on safety practices. Due to this, some professionals have arisen to help deal with these issues and to enhance health and safety while increasing productivity in the workplace. One of this professional is an ergonomist.
These professionals work hand in hand in uplifting the standards of health, safety, and productivity at the workplace. My paper looks into the role played by the ergonomist who is a professional concerned with the safety of the workers and equipment. His roles are;
Relieving the stress of material mishandling
Checking how people use the machines and equipment at their workplace
Partnering with designers in designing of the working area as well as products
Liaising with health professionals
Investigating accidents that occur at workplace
Evaluating health and safety standards within an organization
A comparison of the roles of the ergonomist and industrial hygienist as well as occupational physician is also done giving similarities and differences.
In Canada, the ergonomist must undergo some level of training before being certified to practice. The minimum education requirement is a degree.
What should the employees do in case the ergonomist takes sides with the employer who is noncompliant to safety standards and practices?
Boschman, J., Frings-Dresen, M., & Van der Molen, H. (2016). Response to "Ergonomic Intervention For Musculoskeletal Disorders in Construction Workers". Safety and Health at Work, 7(3), 256. doi:10.1016/j.shaw.2015.12.001
Hall-Andersen, L. B., & Broberg, O. (2014). Integrating ergonomics into engineering design: The role of objects. Applied Ergonomics, 45(3), 647-654. doi:10.1016/j.apergo.2013.09.002
McKillop, C., Parsons, J. A., Brown, J., Scott, S., & Holness, D. L. (2016). Rights, responsibilities and (re)presentation: Using drawings to convey health and safety messages among immigrant workers. Work, 55(1), 37-50. doi:10.3233/WOR-162385
Seiko, A. (2017). Can Better Ergonomics Relieve the Stress of Material Mishandling? Material Handling & Logistics, 72(4), 18-20.
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