How can ergonomic simulation improve work conditions?
Updated: Apr 6, 2020
Virtual Reality (VR) is one of different technologies at companies’ disposal and that enables productivity and work conditions improvement for their employees. Ergonomic simulation for example, with the help of Virtual Reality applications can help companies improve their employees’ work conditions and productivity process enhancement. Virtual Reality has changed our vision of our reality by creating a new one. A new one in which we have all the power.
Many different ergonomics simulations available
Companies need change, they need to be up-to-date to stay in the business course. That’s why, at Light&Shadows, we are offering Virtual Reality with the possibility of ergonomic analysis thanks to: an application with body trackers and a quotation table/ analytic dashboard with different levels of activity difficulty and the musculoskeletal solicitations present in the application XR Ergo. It allows a precise idea of the worker’s ergonomic at his workstation. It is one of the software coming from the New XR SUITE.
The reasons why ergonomics analysis have so much importance for companies is that it can help the progress of employees ‘work conditions and productivity. By tracking the movements of an avatar or of a real person, the analysis enables ergonomists to study the good and bad aspects of a real or future workstation. By good or bad aspects, we mean:
- What is good for workers, like the posture they had, and that it will not cause injuries in the future,
- What is bad for workers, bad conception of the workstation that implies bad movements and/or postures. It will impact the health and productivity of workers.
Benefits of such analysis for industrials
By studying the worker’s body reactions, industrials -with ergonomists- can make the improvements needed which lead to more satisfied workers in better health conditions due to less work injuries, better work conditions (ergonomics ones), more comfort. And as a result, a better productivity.
According to Berlin and Adams in their book Production Ergonomics: Designing Work Systems to Support Optimal Human Performance, [ the real cost of bad ergonomics can be divided in categories:
Presenteeism (the state when workers ignore discomfort or pain and keep working, implying decrease in the quality and productivity of their tasks)
Sick leave (costs are even more significant for the company, when employees need to take prolonged periods of sick leave)
Employee turnover (poor work environments lead to a high turnover of personnel as people are either too injured to work or choose to leave the company as the job does not fulfil their needs and they fear that they will become sick if they stay too long. Thus, leading in further cost for the company to replace them)
Production losses (Production losses frequently occur as a result of poorly designed workplaces and absenteeism)
Quality and business losses (A number of quality-related issues stemming from poorly designed workplaces have costs associated at a company level. Quality losses mean that scrap costs increase, as well as large sums of money being spent on recalls and warranties)
Legal costs (In some cases workers press charges and take companies to court over the poor working environment they were subjected to, resulting in companies paying substantial fines as well as their corporate image being damaged.) ]
Berlin, C and Adams C 2017 Production Ergonomics: Designing Work Systems to Support Optimal Human Performance. Pp. 189–212. London: Ubiquity Press. DOI: https://doi.org/10.5334/bbe.k . License: CC-BY 4.0
Still according to Berlin and Adams in their book : “The costs associated with bad ergonomics were also noticed at Volvo Car Corporation; with estimates indicating that on average poor ergonomic work operations costs $170,000 annually (Falck, 2005).”
Ergonomics is not only a matter of health at work but also a matter of strong economical impact on a company’s business.
What does it imply? (analysis of existing or future workstations - ergonomics quotations)
VR companies like Light&Shadows help companies in their development. The results and goals of this ergonomics analysis and studies are the health, the well-being of their collaborators, the diminution of their turnover and avoid quality and productivity crisis in a predictive way.
The ergonomic simulation can occur during the pre process of an industrial installation. For example, the industrial wants to optimize his pre phase and prefer to make the ergonomics analysis before the installation of his workstations to solve problems before they actually happen. It can also occur when the installation is done and the direction realizes the bad working conditions of its collaborators (health problems, increase of sick leaves).
The importance of ergonomics at work has raised awareness in companies and show his unavoidableness now and for the future.