A Consultant Ergonomics Physiotherapist, Dr Chris Okafor, has lamented the low awareness of ergonomics despite its numerous benefits in Nigeria.
Okafor described ergonomics as science that deals with the individual, how he fits into the work environment in relations to his health and productivity at the office.
According to him, many workers are developing complications including back, neck pains and other musculoskeletal disorders due to low awareness of ergonomics.
He said that workplaces could reduce health hazards to their workers and increase productivity with proper application of ergonomics.
“Every work an individual does has a bearing on his health and productivity; ergonomics looks at the well being of the worker, vis-à-vis the nature of his office environment,’’ he told News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos on Tuesday, June 11.
“For an individual whose nature of work often involves sitting down for a long time, ergonomics emphasises on that individual making every effort to ensure that his sitting is optimal.
“That is, he sits in the right posturing; correct chair that does not make him develop back or neck pain, or challenges that has to do with the muscular system or the bone.
“It affects every aspect of the workforce including drivers, who sit for long periods; engineers, who work on high buildings; pharmacists or nurses who are always on their feet.
“Ergonomics practice is global and tries to correct some of these challenges; however, in Nigeria, the awareness is low.’’
He harped on the need to increase awareness of ergonomics so that workers would not continue to work just to earn salaries while their health deteriorated without their knowledge.
The ergonomics expert noted that workers must be free to approach their employers to address their working positioning in order to improve their productivity at work.
“Workers should make basic demands to use good working tools, which if there are none, can lead to health problems like back or neck pain for those whose work involves sitting for long hours.
“Also, those whose work involves standing for long periods need to be protected; those in engineering that involves climbing high buildings need protection as well,’’ the ergonomics expert stated.
He called on the government to include ergonomics in higher institutions and secondary school curriculum for proper inculcation of the subject matter.