Safe and sound at work: Ergonomics science betters workplace environment

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Heather McDuffie
  • 78th Air Base Wing Religious Affairs

Have you worked in an unorganized office where you tripped on boxes and paper flew?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics in 2017, musculoskeletal disorders ergonomic cases accounted for 28.6% of all worker injury and illness cases. Musculoskeletal disorders impacts include muscle strains, lower back injuries, carpal tunnel syndrome, tendinitis, rotator cuff injuries, epicondylitis and trigger finger.

Ergonomics is a useful science concerned with designing and arranging things people use so that people and things can interrelate efficiently and safely. There are many ways you can begin to implement workplace ergonomics.

First, encourage employees to report injuries and safety hazards, which is reported on an Air Force Form 457, USAF Hazard Report, to identify and provide important information about hazards in their workplaces to prevent more safety accidents.

Second, encourage employees to download the Airman Safety Action Program cell phone app to report safety hazards to prevent more injuries. The app, known as Airman Safety App, can be downloaded for Apple and Android devices, and is provided by the Air Force Safety Center.

Third, use the team email survey to ask employees if their workplace is ergonomically efficient, and use Occupational Safety and Health Administration vocabulary games and safety literature.

Fourth, encourage employees to use safety signs, wear proper personal protective equipment, and use good driving, sitting, standing and lifting posture.

A poor working environment can lead to fatigued, frustrated and hurt team members, which can result in lower work productivity, poor product quality and negative feedback. The positive points of integrating workplace ergonomics include reducing costs, improving productivity, quality of work, improving teamwork, and encouraging a better safety and health culture within the unit.

Overall, implementing workplace ergonomics can better the environment for yourself and people around you.


Staff Sgt. Heather McDuffie works as the Robins Air Force Base Chapel and Refuge Facility Manager, Voluntary Protection Programs and Safety Representative.