Some of the frequently asked questions about ergonomics and the work we do:

“In layman’s terms, ergonomics is the science of designing a workplace (or job, system or product) so that it best fits the capabilities and limitations of the humans who work there (or use the product or system).  Essentially it is about creating a better, safer, more satisfying workplace for those who work there, which, in turn leads to improved productivity and ultimately, enhanced business performance.

Perhaps this story about Procrustes from Greek mythology may help you understand ergonomics better.  Procrustes was a robber who had a nasty habit of tying any unfortunate traveller who came across his path to an iron bed.  If they were taller than the bed, he would chop off their legs to make them fit.  If they were shorter, he stretched them until they fitted the bed.  If Procrustes had understood ergonomics, he would have made the bed (workplace) fit the person (worker), rather than the person fit the bed.

  1. To ensure human safety and well-being
  2. To enhance effectiveness of the human-machine interaction
  3. To improve overall human and system performance
  4. To improve productivity

An ergonomics programme is a programme that can be introduced into the workplace, which encompasses all ergonomics aspects, and has the aim of improving worker well-being, improving productivity, enhancing effectiveness of human-machine interfaces and improves overall system and human performance.

  1. Why should Occupational Health and Safety care about ergonomics?

    Ergonomics reduces accidents, illnesses and injuries.  A good ergonomics process ensures a good match between the person and the job.  This results in fewer injuries and improves the lives of the employees.  Studies, show that a simple, participatory ergonomics intervention can reduce the number and severity of musculoskeletal disorders, as well as the percentage of first aid cases, modified duty cases, ergonomics recordable injuries, lost time cases and Workers Compensation claims.  This means a happier, healthier and more productive workforce.

  2. Why should HR care about ergonomics?

    Ergonomics reduces absenteeism and staff turnover.  This means that throughput and productivity increase, while the need to train new staff, with all the associated costs, is considerably reduced.  It has been shown that the cost of hiring a new employee when someone leaves the company is equal to approximately 20% of that persons’ annual salary.

  3. Why should Operations care about Ergonomics?

    Ergonomics improves quality, productivity and performance.  When worker capabilities are matched to task demands, the quality of work improves.  Conversely, poor ergonomics leads to frustrated and tired workers that don’t do their best work.  Human error rates increase as workers become fatigued and the quality of the work reduces.  A reduction in fatigue, frustration and injuries, due to more optimal workplace design (by designing for good posture, less exertion, fewer motions and better heights and reaches) also increases the output per worker, as well as overall performance.

  4. Why should Management care about ergonomics?

    Ergonomics improves safety culture, employee engagement, human capital management and ultimately the bottom line of the company.  Having an ergonomics programme shows commitment to health and safety as a core value.  Employees notice when the company is showing genuine concern for their well-being. This improves morale, increases employee involvement, loyalty and commitment.  It also improves the corporate image and overall safety culture within the company.  Healthy, happy and motivated employees are a company’s most valuable asset therefore resulting in an improved bottom line for the company.  Lastly, but just as important, implementing an ergonomics initiative ensures compliance with Ergonomics Regulations, which form part of the Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) Act (85 of 1993). These regulations were published in December 2019, thereby legislating ergonomics in South Africa. By ensuring ergonomics is current in your company, you will be ensuring your compliance with the OHS Act.

Ergonomics Engineering provides holistic ergonomics solutions to ensure a better, safer, more satisfying workplace for the people who work there, which, in turn leads to improved productivity and ultimately, enhanced business performance.

Ergonomics Engineering is based in Pretoria, Gauteng, however we conduct work throughout South Africa, as well as internationally.

Ergonomics aims to enhance the safety and effectiveness of the human in their workplace and therefore, our services expand across any, and all, industries.

Ergonomics Regulations, which form part of the Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) Act (85 of 1993) were published in December 2019, thereby legislating ergonomics in South Africa.  This means that, by law, you need to comply with the Regulations.

Who will the regulations affect?
  1. Any employer or self employed person who MAY expose any person to ergonomics risks in the workplace and
  2. Any person who designs, manufactures, supplies or imports machinery, plant or work systems for use at a workplace.
What do these Regulations require?
    1. All employees are trained on various ergonomics aspects
    2. A workplace ergonomics risk assessment must be conducted and an ergonomics programme implemented (no specific risk assessment type is stipulated, but it must be relevant to your business)
    3. Ergonomics is considered in all steps of the design, supply and manufacturing life cycle (including design, installation, transporting, operation, maintenance and decommissioning stages).
    4. Medical surveillance is conducted and records are kept