Thursday, 21 March 2013

Update from Get Ergonised

Get Ergonised is blogging again! 

Yes, it has been a while between blogs (oops) but we're back! As a quick update, Get Ergonised has continued to provide services to businesses in Sydney and Melbourne, and has kept spreading the word on good ergonomics to anyone who will listen. Linda, the director, is currently 7 months pregnant with her first baby, so will be taking a short break from mid-May - July 2013, however will then be well and truly back on board!

Until then, Get Ergonised will be running as usual. So if your company has been considering getting ergonomic assessments completed for their employees, now is a great time to contact Linda to arrange them. Check out the website for a special offer on full day rates - great value! 

1300 820 877

Saturday, 15 September 2012

Ergonomic Controversy!!

Does having an ergonomic set up really make a difference?

The article below raised some interesting points, namely that having an ergonomic set up, whilst beneficial, would not prevent injury, and instead people need to change out of a sitting posture more often during the day. My thoughts are along similar lines - that the two - workstation set up and changing posture regularly, should go hand in hand. As I've said so many times during assessments - you can have the most ergonomic chair in the world, but that won't help if you sit with poor posture and don't move from your desk all day!

Here are some of my tips to get you up and out of your chair during the day:

  • Avoid having a printer on your desk. Instead, set your printouts to go to a printer across the office
  • Half fill your water jug / bottle so that you get up more often to get refills
  • Walk over to your colleagues to talk to them rather than sending an email or using messenger
  • Hold stand up meetings
  • Start a mid-morning and mid-afternoon 5 minute group stand-and-stretch session in the office
  • As a rule, stand up to access anything that is above shoulder height when you are sitting
  • Take your breaks away from your desk - if you can leave the building and go for a quick stroll, even better! 

Here is the article:

Whilst it is very important to change your work posture during the day, it is equally important to acknowledge how much time is spent sitting down when at work. In saying so, a well set up workstation will help to prevent bad work postures putting additional strain on your body.

Until next time,
1300 820 877

Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Free tips!!

Who likes getting something for free? I know I do!

How about something that will actually make you feel better too (and not just because it's free)? Yes again.

Here are a couple of free tips from me to you, I hope you take one or both on board.

Sore back when washing the dishes? Often the smallest forward tilt can bring on a great deal of back pain.

TIP: There are two quick and easy ways to help alleviate the pain

1. Stand close and lean your hips onto the bench. This will make your body bend more naturally at the hip rather than through the spine, relieving the pressure instantly.

2. Open up the cupboard door below the sink. There is often a small ledge which is the base of the cupboard. Rest one foot up on the ledge and keep the other on the floor. This can change the weight distribution through your back, and give sore and tired muscles a break.

Sore hand / wrist when squeezing the petrol pump trigger? It can take a few minutes of standing and squeezing to fill a car. And that can place a lot of strain on already sore fingers, hands and wrists.

TIP: You don't have to squeeze the trigger the whole time! See if the pump has a little attachment like below..

OR use petrol cap lid and slot it into the trigger space. The petrol will continue to fill automatically and you can just stand next to it with hands on hips or getting your discount voucher ready or if you are really keen, clean your windscreen while your car is getting filled! The petrol will stop flowing once the tank is full, so there is no risk of the petrol overflowing (in Australia anyway).

Hope you found those useful!

Until next time,
1300 820 877

Monday, 16 July 2012

What a pain in the neck!

Who out there has ever experienced a pain in the neck? No, I don't mean the tight muscles that would love to be massaged; I mean pain that results in crying out in pain with certain movements, difficulty sleeping due to not being able to lie down without getting sharp pains, and having to turn your whole body side to side when talking to people next to you because it's too painful to turn your head.

For the first time in my life, I felt this pain last week. I couldn't even pinpoint what had caused it - I was on holidays, on a cruise, and hadn't handled my heavy suitcase for a few days. The only thing I think it could have been was a gradual onset, leading to an acute episode of pain from carrying a satchel style camera bag with a heavy SLR camera for hours on end while exploring gorgeous European cities. 

The pain was terrible. It was limiting. It hurt. And it got me thinking...

In today's society, how much strain do we place on our necks each day? Let's look at a few possible causes:

  • Mobile phones: While they used to be used for making phone calls, and then the introduction of sms in the late 1990's, they are now seemingly permanently attached to our hands at any appropriate (and often inappropriate) moments. Neck flexion often begins first thing in the morning when we reach out to pick up our phones from our bedside tables to check what has been happening with our friends and in the world during the past 7 - 8 hours as we slumbered. The neck flexion may continue through breakfast and I've even heard of people who put their phones in zip-lock plastic bags to use whilst in the shower!! Waiting for, and then catching the train or bus to school or work brings forth more neck flexion while our thumbs tap and slide across the little screens. Sneaky phone checks at work are often done by reaching across the desk to open the top drawer. Then more phone checks at lunch, and repeat the same pattern on the way home.. with final checks before going to bed.
  • Computer screens: As much as I used to despise this phrase when one of my earliest managers would  say it to me, "You just don't know what you don't know". How many people really know what height their monitor should be? Based on the people I've seen during the hundreds of ergonomic assessments I've done, sadly not all that many. So often, they are positioned too low, too high, too far or too close to be comfortable. So here it is, the magic formula:
Eye level to be in top 1/3 of screen
Centred to user and keyboard
Distance from user:
Approximately an arm's length from user

  • Handbags: Most of the time, they are just plain too full and much too heavy, and result in pressure on one side of the neck! It's worth doing at least a fortnightly spring clean of bags, which means everything comes out and only essential items go back in. Do you really need the 1L bottle of water while getting to and from work? How about leaving it at work, and using a 500ml or smaller bottle during travelling time to keep hydrated? Or for those of you who just have to carry lots of things to and from work, including laptop, iPad, files etc., how about considering a trolley bag? They don't have to be bulky or ugly, there are some really nice ones on the market. And yes, you will have to carry the bag up and down stairs, but think of all the in-between times when you can just roll it behind you! There are alternatives to having red strap marks on your shoulders from the pressure and weight of the  bag. 
I'll leave it there, but there are so many other possible causes.. craning neck when driving, not using good manual handling technique when reaching down to pick up kids off the floor.. I could go on and on.. but I won't. This time. 

The key to avoiding such neck pain is by ensuring your environment is correctly and safely set up around you, so that it isn't even an option to get it wrong. Limit phone use, position your monitor correctly, lighten up the load in your handbag.. and yes, I should have used a camera backpack to evenly distribute the load. Lesson learnt. 

Until next time! 

1300 820 877

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

The Economics of Ergonomics

I came across this interesting article from an Ergoport newsletter.. It's great to see some actual figures outlined in how ergonomic assessments and devices can actually SAVE money per employee! 

We all know the benefits of suitable ergonomic equipment and furniture although can we actually put a price on it? Scenarios vary from case-to-case with psycho-social, physiological and environmental factors.  The cost estimation hypothesis below may help determine a return on investment at a rudimentary level.  Human Resource hourly employment rate savings are the prime source of measurable productivity gains within an organisation (Time = Money).  An example of time/cost savings is generated by utilising ergonomic devices (keyboard, mouse & laptop stand) where an Ergonomic deficiency was recognised.  An example of a common Ergonomic deficiency would be a worker performing work on a laptop computer without an external keyboard, mouse and appropriate stand: (keyboard, mouse & laptop stand cost: $300)

Savings Calculations:
  • Average life of Ergonomic Intervention items (combined) = 5 years
  • Value added employee performance savings per day = 5 minutes (1% of time worked per day)
  • Intervention set; usage per day, per employee = 7.0 hours
  • Average hourly rate per employee = $42 (includes 20% incremental costs)
  • Productivity savings per employee per day =  Productivity rate (5 minutes / 7.0 hrs) =  0.0119 %
     0.119 $42 x 7.0 hrs. = $3.50
  • Number of days to recoup cost of interventions = $300 / $3.50 = 85.7 days
  • Number of years to recoup cost of interventions = 85.7 days / 300 = 0.29
  • (ROI of 0.29 yrs. assumes 200 work days per employee year)
  • Value added time = 5 years – 0.29 years = 4.71 years
  • Cost savings = 4.71 years x 200 work days/ year = 942 days
  • 942 work days x $3.50 = $3297
This ergonomic intervention set would save $3297 per employee after initial cost
Additional cost savings/ can be attributed to increased employee output, fewer errors due to reduced fatigue/ discomfort, lower costs for medical, workers compensation, lost time, restricted work days, and various other supervisory /indirect costs.

‘Article courtesy of Ergoport Pty Ltd’.

Contact Get Ergonised to find out how we can save you money in your business! 

1300 820 877

Sunday, 27 May 2012

Queen's birthday special: The painful facts about high-heels

This is one for all the women out there: Are you a flats or heels girl? 

I for one am a flats girl. The handful of times I have worn heels for short periods, I've ended up with terrible blisters and sore feet - an instant reinforcement for me that I should get back into my comfy flats asap! I've seen many women (with back or hip problems) lament about the fact that they can no longer wear heels.. they no longer have a choice, but many still do. Have a think about what heels are doing to your body - the higher the heel, the greater the damage. If the thought of wearing flats causes involuntary shivers down your spine, try a smaller heel, one that doesn't make you topple if you take a misstep. Don't believe me? Read the fact sheet below:

Problems from back pain to joint degeneration to ingrown toenails can accompany the wearing of those stylish pumps.

Scary huh?

Until next time,
1300 820 877

Monday, 14 May 2012

It's a bit nippy!

It almost feels like winter already! I suppose we're not that far off the chilliest season of the year, 2012 is really zooming along, isn't it? 

With the cold comes coats.. and scarves.. and boots.. and gloves. But despite piling on the layers, most people will be walking around outside with their arms crossed, head tucked down and shoulders hitched up, bracing themselves against the chilly air. And for your body, that means TENSION!

Think of the soothing feeling of a lovely massage in a nice heated room. Firm, warm fingers run up and down your back, relaxing your muscles, easing away the knots.. Think how nice this feels, so calm, so relaxed.. Now read the 2nd paragraph again and imagine the difference your body feels when trying to keep warm in the cold. Such a contrast!

For people who have been feeling aches and pains for the past few months, the start of winter will likely exacerbate those symptoms, purely due to how we tend to hold ourselves when cold. The more tense the muscles, the more significant the pain. The more pain we feel, the more tense we hold ourselves.. it's a lose / lose situation.

To try to break the cycle, we need to see what factors we can control:

1. The weather? Not the last time I tried.

2. Our clothing? Yes, layer away! Don't be afraid to pull the thermals out if it gets much colder than it did this morning. The main areas to remember to keep warm are your neck (a nice chunky scarf will do the trick), hands (woollen gloves), feet and head (to retain the heat). Of course the rest of you will be covered up too!

3. Ourselves? Yes again. When you notice yourself tensing up in the cold, make a conscious effort to roll your shoulders back, lift up your head and straighten your back.. and then take a deep breath and notice your body relaxing with the outward breath. My Get Ergonised clients will know how fond I am of visual prompts, so find something visual that will remind you to check your winter posture... whether it be any time you see someone in a red coat, or wearing a hat.. you get the idea. A visual reminder, just for you... just for your body.

Keep yourself warm, keep yourself ergonised.

Until next time,