Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Take the strain out of work

Ergonomics becoming a hot job market around the world ...

"Repetitive strain injury may be the scourge of the modern computerised workplace, but experts say a few simple measures could put an end to the problem, which costs UAE businesses millions of dirhams a year.

Recent studies in the Netherlands have shown almost half of all office workers reported pain in the upper-neck and limbs, which they attributed to conditions in the workplace. Finding a solution to repetitive strain injury (RSI) or work-related disorders can save companies huge sums of money. Estimates of how much these disorders cost economies range from 0.5 per cent to two per cent of the Gross National Product (GNP).

Backache, shoulder and neck pain, RSI, tendinitis, carpal tunnel syndrome and eye strain are just a few problems office professionals face and the UAE is no different.

Dr Abraham Paul, orthopaedician at the Union Medical Centre, Karama, sees up to 30 people a day who suffer from work-related problems. “Back, neck and shoulder pain, ligament strain and RSI are the most common ailments due to long hours spent at badly-designed workstations,” he says.

However, some firms have been quick to catch on that by implementing the best health and safety practices, they can help reduce sick leave and make for healthier offices. As a result ergonomic experts are being hired by companies to look into office and workstation design. Ergonomics is the scientific study of equipment, office furniture and workstation design for the purpose of improving efficiency, comfort, productivity and safety of workers.

These experts advise companies about the design and layout of workspace, air quality, noise levels, lighting, temperature control, how user-friendly their software is and how compatible it is with the work being done. They also advise clients about psychosocial aspects such as job satisfaction, occupational stress, shift work, perceived work interference, user and task compatibility and work-life balance.

While in the West ergonomic experts are hired on a regular basis, this concept is still new in the UAE. Dubai-based ergonomics consultant Charles van Schalkwyk, who advises companies such as British Petroleum, Petrofac, Shell, Johnson & Johnson, Nissan ME, Kinnarps and McDonalds in the UAE, says a properly designed workstation leads to better performance at work."    (Continued via Emirates Business 24|7)    [Ergonomics Resources]

RSI Producing Call Center - Ergonomics

RSI Producing Call Center

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