Ergonomically optimised industrial work benches – the complete picture has to be right

New study from item

Ergonomically optimised workstations may be standard in offices already, but they are still making their way into production areas. The new study from item Industrietechnik GmbH showed that the majority of respondents in manual production are using tailored ergonomic solutions. However, the subject of ergonomics is generally considered done with some height-adjustable work benches and adjustable chairs – the holistic view is often missing. It takes numerous interconnected measures to create the perfect working environment for employees. The study shows the status quo in companies with manual production operations, shines a light on requirements and factors in the decision-making process, and provides indications of how implementation and application can run successfully.

The item survey of 153 participants from companies involved in manual production paints a clear picture – 83 percent of the respondents already use ergonomic industrial work benches. However, the subject of ergonomics is generally limited to two areas – 76 percent of participants in the study use adjustable work chairs and 75 percent use height-adjustable work benches. Lifting aids are used by 59 percent of respondents, 55 percent pay attention to the perfect lighting, but other components such as foot mats, systems for optimising the handling area, foot rests and arm rests are accorded less importance. Yet it is essential to implement numerous interconnected measures, while also taking account of what individual staff members require of the production environment.

Vital role of staff

Once a company decides to utilise ergonomic work benches, there are some points that need to be considered during implementation so as to ensure the highest possible level of acceptance among staff and make the most of the benefits such systems offer. Fundamentally, the use of ergonomic work bench systems should be seen as a strategic decision by the entire company. The reasoning and benefits must be understood at all levels of the hierarchy. To achieve this, employees must have input from the outset. One quarter of those who took part in the study actively involve their manual production staff in selecting suppliers and solutions when it comes to ergonomics. If they are given a role in the decision-making process, they are better motivated and less sceptical of the restructuring of their workplace. The use of “ergoscouts” also shows great promise. Individual members of staff are trained in a targeted way so as to introduce their colleagues to the new work bench systems and help use them properly.

Benefits of an ergonomically optimised working environment

If a holistic ergonomics concept is in place and employees are actively involved, companies benefit even more from the benefits of ergonomic solutions. Employees are more motivated in their work and concentrate better, making fewer mistakes and needing fewer sick days. Improvements to the working environment have a direct effect on staff satisfaction. The turnover rate decreases and work efficiency increases. While it remains difficult to express the advantages of using ergonomic work bench systems in hard numbers, there is no denying the positive effect on the health and well-being of staff, their performance, and thus the productivity of the company.

The full study can be downloaded for free.

Length: 3,719

Date: 30 September 2020

Photos: 1 (source: item)

Caption 1: The new study from item Industrietechnik GmbH showed that the majority of respondents in manual production are using tailored ergonomic solutions, but often without taking a holistic approach.

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