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Sponsored: Mission Critical. Mission Ergonomics

Control room ergonomics are a matter of health and safety and an issue of efficiency and overall productivity.

Control room ergonomics are a matter of health and safety and an issue of efficiency and overall productivity.

Well-designed control room balance fits the demands of the job to the capability of the operators. An important aspect of any successful ergonomic control room upgrade is the console. Acting as a central nervous system, the console in any control room connects the operator to the technology, with significant impact on ergonomics.

The cost vs. benefits of incorporating an ergonomically designed console in a control room is analyzed from regulatory compliance, health and safety, and operator efficiency.

Regulatory Compliance

While the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) provides specific ergonomic guidelines for certain industries, the General Duty Clause requires employers to keep their workplace free from recognized serious hazards, including ergonomic hazards. OHSA will cite for ergonomic hazards under this clause or issue ergonomic hazard alert letters to implement ergonomic programs that reduce and prevent workplace musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs).

Proactively reducing the risk of employees’ ergonomic injuries is simple risk mitigation. By incorporating ergonomic standards in the initial design of a control room, organizations prevent the inflated cost of reacting to a citation from OSHA and retrofitting control rooms after ergonomic-related injuries have occurred. Proactive = cost-effective.

Health and Safety

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), MSDs account for nearly 70 million physician office visits annually in the United States, and an estimated 130 million health care encounters, including outpatient, hospital and emergency room visits.

The Institute of Medicine estimates the economic burden of workplace MSDs, as measured by compensation costs, lost wages and lost productivity is between $45 billion to $54 billion annually.

When considering ergonomic investments in their workspaces, organizations must consider how the upfront investment can prevent negative circumstances from impacting their bottom line.

And what organizations must believe is that subtle improvements won’t financially move mountains. Ergonomic monitor mounts with appropriate sightlines and viewing angles can reduce eyestrain, neck and back pain. Proper work surface height and keyboard placement can decrease incidents of carpal tunnel syndrome, improve posture and alleviate or prevent back pain.

Operator Efficiency

Control room operators are human, and thus prone to making mistakes. In fact, human error is increasingly cited as the cause of accidents in industries with highly complex control rooms. In these technical environments, operator error can stifle operations and result in disastrous consequences.

Ergonomically designed control rooms optimize interfaces between operators and machines by taking into account the equipment, tasks and limitations of the operator. These designs achieve greater productivity and reduce human error.

Furthermore, ergonomic control rooms improve flow and efficiency, requiring fewer operators to perform the same number of tasks, without sacrificing quality of work. This potentially results in financial gains with reduced staffing costs.

What It’s Worth

An ergonomic program is just good business—from the overall health of your employees, to the financial health of your organization. Newly innovated consoles, such as the Vue and Sightline recently unveiled by Winsted, prioritize ergonomic design.

Winsted's new Vue work stations are easily configurable for all environments and come in static or height adjustable. These configurable work stations offer different widths and connecting cabinets for accommodating multi-operator solutions. Horizontal/Vertical adjustable monitors mounts offer the best in class for ergonomic viewing.

Winsted's new redesigned Sightline console is the ultimate in configurable and modular design and is offered in static or height-adjustable versions, plus two different console depths. These configurable consoles come with concave and convex corners to create solutions that fit any room size for multiple operators. Horizontal/Vertical adjustable monitor mounts offer the best in class for ergonomic viewing.

You can learn more about ergonomically friendly consoles at Winsted.com.