The importance of ergonomics training

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On December 1, 2015, Posted by , In Retail ergonomics, With No Comments

Training, training, training!

I always tell our customers that installing flexible, adjustable workstations is fantastic… but only if they show their employees how to use them!

Too often I go to a site where there is a great set up – adjustable chairs, foot rests or screens so that different users can set things up to suit themselves – only to find its not used because the operators don’t know about it or don’t know why they should change things around to suit themselves.

If this happens then buying the adjustable equipment has ended up being a waste of money… its critical to tell your people about it!

One of our very best customers takes a lot of care to get their checkouts as user friendly – ergonomic, if you will – as they possibly can.

They have adjustable chairs and footrests…
Their touchscreen is height and reach adjustable…
The scanning task is as well designed as is feasible…

It occurs right in front of the body, with belts and/or rollers to ease loading, and there is a hand scanner so that large or heavy items can stay in the customer’s trolley. A lot of time, effort and budget has gone into getting their checkouts just right.

I was asked to visit a store where there was one staff member reporting shoulder pain after starting work at new, just installed checkouts. I went along and watched the employee working at the checkout so I could see her work patterns and postures.

It was quickly apparent what the problems were…

No one had shown her how all the new stuff worked – or even told her that it was adjustable. I spent the morning talking with her about why it’s important not to reach too far or too high and why it will hurt and feel tired if she does.

We talked through the chair’s adjustments, and figured out where it was going to be best for her to put the footrest once she had the chair right. Learning that she could move the screen lower over the scanner and slightly closer to her was a revelation.

“Learning that she could move the screen lower over the scanner and slightly closer to her was a revelation.”

We also spent some time talking about standing to work… This is NEVER a popular suggestion but I can’t stress how important it is and how much better it is for employees. However, this is a battle for another blog… In the end, she was delighted with the new checkouts!

After my visit I fed back that several employees on site at the time of the visit hadn’t been shown how the new checkouts could be adjusted to suit themselves….

The information about how and WHY the checkouts can and should be adjusted needed to be included in training.

All training for checkout employees – new starters, refresher courses, return to work, whenever equipment or furniture changed… If the employees don’t know what or how to set up the checkout then all the ergonomic aspects were a wasted investment!

Information and training are vital in helping people to use things in the best way possible! Don’t forget to include it to ensure improved ergonomics at any workstation

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