Article: Employers’ Obligations for an Ergonomic Workplace

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Employers’ obligations for an ergonomic workplace in the Netherlands

Providing an ergonomic workplace is an important issue for employers. Not only is it good for employees' health and well-being, but it can also lead to higher productivity and lower absenteeism. But what exactly does ergonomics entail, and what are the obligations for employers in this area? In this article, you will find an overview of the main points.

Ergonomics

Ergonomics is the science that deals with the interaction between people and their working environment. It involves designing workplaces and work processes to suit the individual requirements and needs of employees. This can lead to a reduction in physical and mental strain and an increase in employee productivity and well-being. In the workplace, many aspects can affect ergonomics. For instance, the posture in which people work is important, as is the height of the desk and chair.

Ergonomic office space

Obligations for employers

As an employer, you are obliged to provide an ergonomic workplace for your employees. This means that you must ensure that the workplace meets certain requirements. Below is a brief summary of the most important obligations:

-   Providing a well-adapted chair and desk.

-   Ensuring a well-lit space with natural light and plenty of plants.

-   Arranging a good monitor.

-   Providing training and information.

By complying with these obligations, employers can ensure that their employees can perform at their best.

Office Furniture

Office furniture is key to providing an ergonomic workplace. Using properly adapted furniture allows employees to work comfortably and productively. Some of the most important office furniture are the desk and office chair.

Ergonomic office chair

Desk and desk chair

An ergonomic desk is designed to suit the user's individual requirements and needs. This can mean having the right height for a comfortable posture and being able to adjust the height and other settings. Using a non-ergonomic desk can lead to physical complaints such as back and neck pain because it is not designed to suit the physical characteristics of the worker. Using an ergonomic desk can help prevent or reduce these complaints by ensuring that the user can work in a proper posture.

A good office chair is designed so that the back and the muscles in the back are well supported. This can be achieved, for example, by having the chair fitted with a good backrest and seat. This ensures that the back and muscles are under less strain, which can help reduce back pain and fatigue.

It is also important to adjust the office chair to the right height. If the chair is too high or too low, it can lead to unnatural posture and fatigue of the legs and feet. In general, using a good desk and office chair can help reduce back pain and fatigue, complaints that are common when working behind a desk.

Monitor

A good monitor is very important for an ergonomic workplace. This is because a good monitor ensures that the user's eyes and neck are not strained. A monitor that is too small or of poor quality can lead to eye and neck complaints because it can be more difficult to see texts and images sharply and clearly. This can lead to eyestrain and poor neck posture, which in turn can lead to fatigue and pain. In addition, difficulty seeing texts and images leads to frustration and lower productivity.

A high-resolution, appropriately sized monitor makes texts and images easier to see, which makes reading and working on the computer easier. This then leads to greater efficiency and effectiveness at work.

Ergonomic WFH setup

Lighting and greenery

Lighting is also an important part of an ergonomic workplace. Natural light is best for the eyes and can help keep workers sharp and alert. This is because the light from the sun contains different wavelengths, so it can better match people's biological rhythms and therefore help them focus better. If natural light is not always available, artificial light with the right wavelength and intensity can also work.

In addition to proper lighting, having plants and greenery in the workplace can also help improve ergonomics. Studies have shown that seeing nature and greenery in the workplace reduces stress and improves concentration. Moreover, plants help improve humidity and air quality in the workplace, which can contribute to a more comfortable working environment.

Ergonomic keyboard and mouse on desk

Training and awareness

Employee training is important when it comes to ergonomic workstations. By making people aware of the need to step away from their screens from time to time and stand up straight at their desks, they can set up their workstations in a way that is comfortable and healthy. This can help prevent physical complaints such as back and neck pain, which can lead to better performance and productivity in the workplace. It is important to take regular time to evaluate workplace ergonomics and make any adjustments to ensure that employees can continue to work comfortably and healthily.

In addition to these tips, an employer can look at keyboards and mice designed to keep the hands and fingers in a natural and relaxed position. Examples include tilted keyboards, keyboards with curved keys or a tilted mouse equipped with special grip features. It is also important to place these at the right height and choose the right position to avoid an unnatural posture.

In short, using ergonomic office accessories and furniture such as keyboards, mice, desks and office chairs can help reduce fatigue and pain that often occur when working at a computer. It is important to think carefully about the type of furniture and accessories used and to ensure that the equipment purchased is designed to allow the hands, fingers and back to assume a natural and relaxed position. Moreover, it is important to ensure that furniture is placed at the right height and position to avoid unnatural posture. In this way, it is possible for employees to work comfortably and productively.

Health & Safety portal

Finally, as indicated earlier, employers have an obligation to provide an ergonomic workplace for their employees. By complying with these obligations, employers can ensure that their employees can function as optimally as possible. More information on employers' ergonomics obligations can be found on the arboportaal.nl website.

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