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Ergonomic hazards are about adapting the work environment to be within the capabilities to prevent injury.
There are many common hazards in the workplace, of them, Biological, Chemical, Physical, Safety, psychosocial, and Ergonomic hazards are the most known and common hazards and risk factors in the workplace.
In this article, we are going to see in detail about common ergonomic hazards in the workplace.
Ergonomic is an applied science that is concerned with the design of workspace tools and tasks to match the psychological characteristics and capabilities of the worker.
Ergonomic hazards can affect company profit not only this but the employees’ health also would be affected by these dangerous ergonomic hazards.
Ergonomic hazards come from physical factors that can result in musculoskeletal injuries.
Ergonomic hazards are found in almost all workplaces and have significant long and short-term causes on the employees’ health.
Musculoskeletal injuries are injuries that affect the musculoskeletal system, including damage to muscles.
Table of Contents
- 10 Most Common Ergonomic Hazards
- What Is An Ergonomic Hazard?
- What Are The Effects of Ergonomic Hazards?
- What Could Be A Cause Of Ergonomic Injury?
10 Most Common Ergonomic Hazards
Let’s go ahead and get into the 10 most common ergonomic hazards both at work and at home.
1. Poor Posture
Poor posture is one of the very common ergonomic hazards in the workspace.
Awkward postures affect millions of employees all over the world.
When employees sit in one place for a long period of time while having an awkward posture, they might feel a bad feeling, and later on, it may be a very dangerous disease.
Companies should be more concerned about these things and make a fix for such a problem in the first place, otherwise, even their companies’ profit will be influenced by these ergonomic hazards.
Making a workplace look good and having a nice sitting is one of the best things that a company can do for its own advantage and the employees’ health.
Poorly designed seating conditions can increase the risk factors of ergonomic hazards and injuries.
They can result in employees sitting in awkward postures for long hours.
Controls that are placed out of reach and that might require workers to bend forward or reach awkwardly to get the items, are some of the things that can cause awkward postures and ergonomic hazards in the workspace.
These ergonomic hazards are common in offices and workplaces with high risk factors as well.
But, it also affects workers in manufacturing or any industry who sit in awkward postures for long periods.
It is usually the result of poorly placed devices, such as controls placed just out of reach that might require a worker to lean forward or reach awkwardly to get to them or sit with awkward postures.
A poorly designed chair or stool that encourages slouching can be a cause for problematic and awkward posture.
2. Stationary Positions
Stationary positions are one of a few common ergonomic hazards in the workplace that can cause trauma for employees in certain companies.
Almost all company employees have such problems since their employers ask them to do hard work and finish a certain task in a short period of time.
The same is true of jobs that put workers in weird positions, causing workers to have awkward postures which can also cause spine trauma.
Poorly designed seating and working stations can cause awkward postures which are a high risk factor for ergonomic hazards.
These common ergonomic hazards may also happen in any place like in a home while playing a video game, reading fiction, doing repetitive tasks, and watching movies.
People tend to sit for a long period of time doing repetitive tasks in one place when they have full attention to that certain thing or are obliged to finish that task at a certain given time.
When employees sit in one position in awkward postures for a prolonged time they use less energy than they do when they stand or move.
Some studies have linked sitting for a long period of time that is happening in our day-to-day life can cause some health issues and is one of the prevalent ergonomic hazards.
They include obesity, high blood sugar, excess body fat around the waist, and abnormal cholesterol levels which causes metabolic syndrome.
Any extended sitting such as at a desk, behind a wheel, or in front of a screen have a risk of health which can cause a certain type of disease.
But, unlike some other researches, this analysis of data from more than 5 million people found that 60 to 75 minutes of medium intense physical activity a day may reflect the effects of too much sitting in the same position.
Another research implies that sitting time contributed little to mortality for people who were most active and worked tirelessly for a task.
So employers should have a good awareness of these common ergonomic hazards, which might affect their employees’ health and their companies’ profit.
3. Excessive Vibration
Excessive vibration is one of the most common ergonomic hazards in the workplace.
Excessive vibration can cause decreased blood flow and muscle contractions.
Jackhammer is the most recognizable tool that causes this vibration-related damage to your body or employee’s body in the workspace.
Most manufacturing companies use some of the vibration tools and these tools are the main cause of common vibration ergonomic hazards to their employees which finally results in a decrease in their company’s income.
Where there is vibration on the tools we are using our body tends to feel them even if you are not aware of them, then after some time, this may cause a health issue to your body.
Employees should be aware of this trauma that means if an employee is aware of these common ergonomic hazards he or she can prevent himself or herself from these kinds of common ergonomic hazards in the workspace.
One of the main reasons why excessive vibration is one of the common ergonomic hazards in the workplace is that it vibrates our internal bodies, our stomach, or our hands’ muscles.
Where there is an excessive vibration our muscles can be damaged in such a way that they might stop functioning.
A little vibration by itself might not cause health issues or some kind of damage to our body, but when there is excessive vibration, here comes the issue, it can be a significant risk factor and cause of ergonomic hazards.
The effect of excessive vibration might not be seen in a short period of time, but in the long run, it has an effect that is similar to death caused by being overweight.
4. Indoor Air Quality
All human beings breathe air, without air you can’t even survive some minutes.
But not only the air matters but its quality even matters, since there is a percentage of oxygen, hydrogen, and other minerals.
So by that, it means if there is less percentage of oxygen than needed the quality of the air is not enough to be good for humans.
When we come to the workspace since most offices are in a house with doors and windows, air quality is one of the main and common ergonomic we should care about and be aware of.
An employee’s activeness depends not only on his or her talent but also on the environment he or she is working in.
The better the air quality of employees’ workplace the better the productivity of the employees.
Having an air quality regulator and an indicator is a plus to have in a workplace, having this may increase the performance of an employee by letting them feel nice and comfortable.
A poorly designed ventilation system and air quality regulator can increase the risk factor for employees and pose ergonomic hazards for workers.
An employer should usually ask himself or herself if there is inadequate air quality and take action to make the air quality adequate.
Nowadays lighting is becoming a major issue in almost all companies even in the big ones, it’s because lighting can affect the effectiveness of an employee very much.
Having adequate light in the workplace lets the employees of the company feel comfortable, effective, and creative in their jobs.
Hence having inadequate lighting in a workplace has a dramatic impact on the health and effectiveness of employees.
5. Extreme Temperatures
The temperature of the workspace is one of the most common ergonomic hazards.
Employees’ office should be at a mild temperature not too cold and not too warm so that the employees’ health can be good.
Employers should be aware of the temperature of the office they provide for their employees.
Extreme temperature is one of the main reasons why many employees get sick and have some heart disease and lung trauma.
High temperature or heat in an office or workspace can make the employee sick, and the employee can’t do his or her job properly since the high temperature is a disturbing condition.
Even the guests who come to the office once can feel the temperature of the office and if it goes high or low they don’t want to wait for a longer time or even the normal time they would wait in there.
So, this might result in poor customer service since the customers are not willing to come again to such an office having an extreme temperature.
The employer of a company should take care of this issue by asking the employees daily and having a temperature regulator in their office.
It is a good practice to ask an employee about their environment and office what to add and what to remove, if an employer does this, not only is helping his employee to feel good and be in a good health condition but also adding value to his or her business and get a good income at least maintains his or her business.
So checking if your workplace is at a good temperature is one of the tasks you should do if you need to avoid the most common ergonomic hazards in your workplace.
6. Poor Or Inadequate Lighting
Inadequate lighting is one of the common ergonomic hazards in the workplace.
Many employees complain about inadequate lighting even though it might not be easily noticeable.
Over time inadequate lighting or poor lighting can cause stress or have a bad feeling to employees or even guests who come to the workspace with poor lighting.
Your mind is sensitive to lighting, if you notice how you react in the dark or inadequate lighting and power full light, you can easily deduce that lighting matters.
You feel sleepy when it is dark and feel awake when there is light, it is natural to feel this way, so proper lighting has a big impact on our daily tasks.
That would be great if the workspace has some hole or window to intake sunlight so that the customers feel creative and comfortable.
Most of the big companies like Google, Microsoft, and Apple use a workplace that has an outside view and some sunlight intake.
This makes the employees of these big companies feel good and creative in their careers, and those employees want to stay in such a company for a longer period of time.
Natural light is preferable to manmade lights, but if we don’t have such an environment we can even make adequate light to make the workspace feel like it has natural light.
By using this strategy we let the employees of a certain company feel creative and like their workplace, and if they enjoy their workplace their productivity is also to increase in such a manner.
7. Contagious Illnesses Spread By Sick Workers
A contagious disease is one of the worst ergonomic hazards in a workplace that everyone should take care of.
An employee may get ill of some contagious disease without his awareness he or she might come to the workplace as always, if there is no such system that checks whether one employee has a contagious disease or not, then all the employees in the company might be infected in a matter of hours.
The best example of this is Covide-19 which affects almost all companies in the world.
Employers of a certain company should be updated with the contagious disease at the current time, and make the proper prevention which is recommended by health workers.
Though contagious disease comes once or twice in a century, they pose high risk factors and you should be aware and ready to tackle it if the contagious disease occurs in your generation.
If we take COVID-19 as an example, the employer of a company can prevent this contagious disease by letting his or her employees work remotely in their home, and also if some employees must come to the workplace he or she must provide a means to test them or measure their temperature.
Generally speaking, all employees and employers should be aware of any contagious disease and how to prevent them if they occur.
You know that the main prevention method for a contagious disease is giving awareness to the people and employees in a certain company.
If all your employees have awareness of the contagious disease it would be easy to tackle and prevent the disease even if it spreads fast.
Disturbing noise is one of the common ergonomic hazards which occur in the workplace.
The workplace needs a silent place that other places where the employees who are working in the workplace need concentration based on their field, if a certain field or task needs more concentration then some noises can affect the performance of the person who needs a concentration.
Disturbing noises should not only be avoided from a workplace environment but also home since they might cause illness or make you vulnerable to a certain disease.
By its nature, a workplace or an office needs an environment that is clean from disturbing noise, so an employer should be aware of this issue and make some changes to the company’s environment and based on the level of concentration the tasks need.
If the environment is having too many noises then the employees can’t concentrate on their work and even draw their attention to the sound outside the workplace or inside.
Some employees may even be compelled to leave the job because of disturbing noises even if they are satisfied with the other thing in the workplace.
So having a workplace that is free from a disturbing noise is a must-have thing if the employees need concertation and should have things if the tasks don’t need more concentration.
Bad noises disturb almost all human beings if they are around you, even if you are doing nothing.
So try to make your workplace as silent as possible and have not disrobed noises in and around the workplace or office.
9. Chemical, Cleaning Products
Chemicals and cleaning products are also one of the common ergonomic hazards in the workplace.
As you can see a chemical or cleaning products have their smell that smell might be so hazardous that it can’t let us sit for even minutes.
Even a soap, used for cleaning the roof of the office, can have a bad smell that can make you feel bad or stressed.
So knowing what cleaning products the office employees is crucial for the health of the office.
Many can be said about this topic as it happens in most workplaces and makes many employees complain about the bad smell which comes from these chemicals or cleaning products.
If you want a comfortable workplace and with a good smell, you should take care of the chemical and cleaning products, which means you should choose the best cleaning product for your workplace, or ask some other people which the best cleaning product is.
There might be some employees with some lung disease who are very sensitive to those chemicals or cleaning products smell.
So to keep those employees in a comfortable situation and a good health one should choose a cleaning product with a good smell or with no smell.
An employer might not notice the bad smell in a workplace but should ask his or her employees if there is a bad smell from those chemicals or cleaning products, by doing such things he or she can make sure that the office he or she provides for his or her employees is good and safe.
Stress is also one of the common ergonomic hazards in the workplace which results in low performance of an employee in a certain company.
Stress may come from various things you might hear it in many scopes, so as you know it is one of the most common ergonomic hazards not even in the workplace but also in the home and other areas.
If an employee feels stressed, then he or she is not going to do his or her task properly as expected, instead, you might notice boredom in his or her face.
Making a workplace suitable for employees and users help employees to feel comfortable as a result decreases the risk factors of stress that might occur in an employee’s mind.
Stress in a workplace might come not only from the placement of the office but also from the communication of clients and employees, so you also need to have a good rule that can make your employees feel comfortable.
Therefore, reducing ergonomic hazards and reducing risk factors is of great importance
Speaking and asking employees about their day-to-day life increases the connection between the employer and employee and prevents the employee from stress.
The effect of stress in the workplace is easily noticeable, that the effectiveness of the employee decreases in a short period of time, and once he or she gets out of stress, the effectiveness of the employee returns to what it was.
So as an employer you should take care of these ergonomic hazards in your workplace and make the office of your employee comfortable and which can let them drop stress, and as an employee, you should make your office look good and feel comfortable so that stress won’t come around you.
What Is An Ergonomic Hazard?
Ergonomic hazards are physical conditions that may pose a high risk factor of injury to the musculoskeletal system.
They can cause long-term injuries and result in physical disorders.
What Are The Effects of Ergonomic Hazards?
The effects of ergonomic hazards can range from poor productivity, strains, stresses and long-term physical disorders.
What Could Be A Cause Of Ergonomic Injury?
An ergonomic injury can be caused by a number of ergonomic hazards and risk factors, which may include awkward postures, poorly designed seating, long working hours, poor ventilation, excessive vibrations and more.
There are many and different ergonomic hazards in the workplace in this article we have provided you with the 10 most common ergonomic hazards in the workplace which we found the information from different researches and data.
As you can see a workplace should be suitable for the client who uses the office, making a workplace comfortable, and avoiding the common ergonomic hazards add more value to your companies and the health of your employee.
If employees love their work and feel comfortable they tend to be a creative and full function for their job but if employees don’t like their workplace they tend to do a bad job and be less effective in their daily work.
We hope you have enjoyed the article we provided you with and try to avoid those common ergonomic hazards in your workplace.