Ergonomics (or Human Factors) aims to improve workspaces and environments to minimise risk of injury or harm. It is the practice of designing products, systems or processes to take proper account of the interaction between them and the people that use them.
Why is Ergonomics Important?
Below are the percentages (related to specific areas of the body) based on accepted workers’ compensation claims, excluding commuting claims, between 2000-01 and 2007-08. Successful workers’ compensation claims are harmful to the injured for obvious reasons as well as the employer. Employers Insurance claims can increase staff absent due to injury, puts pressure on the remaining staff, loss of income due to capacity issues and reputational loss with clients and/or prospective employees.
What kinds of injury or harm are hairdressers at risk of?
The main hazards to hairdressers fall into five categories:
2. Infectious Diesase
3. Pain & Injury
4. Stress, and
5. Eye & Lung Irritation
Sometimes small modifications to work procedures, posture, habits, and/or work station design can make a big difference in the way you feel at the end of a day and mitigate the above hazards. Whilst simple, these methods are often neglected such as wearing gloves when mixing and using chemicals; washing hands and equipment regularly; organise your work for comfort by designing the “job to fit the worker, not forcing the worker to fit the job; manage your bookings and rest; and finally, allow good ventilation.
It is important to listen to the signs your body presents to you. If you suffer pain in the wrists or hands after a long day of cutting, blow-drying or highlighting hair, examine your work area and work practices to see if they may be causing the problems. Learn to make adjustments, investigate new technology and tools. Raise or lower chairs to avoid odd angles and awkward positions.
How do you get OOS?
- Repetitive motions, vibration, excessive force, and awkward positions are frequently linked to ergonomic disorders. These disorders can be reduced or eliminated by:
- Keeping your elbows close to your sides as much as possible
- Not working with the back bent, twisted by more than 20 degrees
- Following the hand position sketch as illustrated
- Stretching your neck, arms, and back between clients,
- Evenly distributing your weight on both feet, resist compensating one pain by adding another,
- Keeping yourself limber and strong,
- Establish and maintain a regular stretching and strengthening program.
Some things you may not even be aware of are:
- An extremely hot or cold salon can be uncomfortable and unpleasant and result in increased muscle tension.
- Inadequate lighting can cause hairdressers to adopt awkward postures to compensate for the poor lighting.