Ergonomics: A Ground-Up ApproachSep, 25
By Dr. Kevan Orvitz, Founder and President - MEGAComfort International Inc.
Ergonomics can elevate a workplace from an uncomfortable gloomy environment to one that’s comfortable, safe, and efficient. The study and practice of ergonomics is weaved into our daily lives, often without us even realizing it. Our office chair, car controls, or desktop instruments are frequently designed with ergonomic functionality and goals. Ergonomic concepts can be used in almost everything within health and safety, including items at your workplace and around your home.
The field of ergonomics strives to improve the workplace environment in the hopes of preventing injuries. Recently, the Ergonomics International Journal published a study ”Effects of an Insole Program in a Manufacturing Setting: Impact on Lower Extremity Muscle Activity”. This study focused on workers who spent a great deal of time during their workday standing or walking on concrete hard floors. In the past, these employees utilized anti-fatigue matting and were later switched to anti-fatigue insoles. MEGAComfort was honored to provide the insoles for this study.
The results of the study showed that 98 percent of the workers surveyed who used these ergonomic insoles, reported a reduction in aches and pains in their feet, lower legs, hips and lower back. These findings were supported objectively using electromyography (EMG) – the recording of electrical activity of muscles. The EMG results indicated a statistically significant reduction in lower leg muscle activity by 9.6 percent in workers while they were wearing the insoles compared to not wearing the insoles.
The study revealed that wearing ergonomically designed insoles, that limit muscle activity during each work shift can have a positive cumulative effect over the course of a worker’s career. As well it confirmed that insoles could be considered a cost-effective alternative to anti-fatigue floor matting.
Prior to founding MEGAComfort, I spent time working in an automobile factory. Each day I watched as workers suffered through their day with aches and pains. As a podiatrist I immediately knew the solution started on the ground. Employers were spending a fortune on anti-fatigue matting which is limited in it’s ability to cover a work area, especially for mobile employees. Not only does it leave most of a workplace void of any anti-fatigue protection but I saw it peel and chip away, causing more slips, trips, and falls.
Employees required more care and comfort. Studying the employee’s ailments and employers needs, I created a personalized comfort zone for all workers and developed the ergonomically designed MEGAComfort Personal Anti-Fatigue Mat (PAM) insole. The PAM insole features a deep heel cup and arch cushioning and is available in multiple sizes to properly fit each worker.
Creating a more ergonomic workplace can seem overwhelming. However, all it takes is one step in the right direction. Aligning your company with other companies and products focused on improving workplace safety, employee engagement and comfort can dramatically increase the success of your wellness and safety programs. Incorporating ergonomic products into your employee’s PPE or safety program is a great way to engage workers in their wellness and personal safety. Safety starts from the ground up. You can reduce slips, trips, and falls, lower healthcare costs and increase productivity and engagement just by taking the right (ergonomic and comfortable) steps.