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May 18, 2023 in Features
By Aaron Miller and Gina Vahlas, Canadian College for the Certification of Professional Ergonomists

Photo: Adobe Stock
By Aaron Miller and Gina Vahlas, Canadian College for the Certification of Professional Ergonomists

Companies across Canada are facing historic challenges with a competitive talent landscape, an exhausted workforce, and pressure to control costs. There are many factors contributing to these challenges but at the heart of achieving organizational performance are the employees, who are the key to success. Companies that create an organizational and physical environment that supports employees will improve their company’s overall human and organizational performance. This includes not only meeting operational targets, but creating a working environment where employees can do their best work each day.

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, increasing research is demonstrating that workers are trying to find purpose in their work and want a workplace culture that supports their physical and mental health, as well as, their social needs. Now is the time for companies to better understand their impact on their workers to ensure that their culture, vision and physical workplace “fits” with supporting worker psychological and physical health.

‘Fit’ is important, relating to employee well-being, job satisfaction, and organizational performance. To enhance how workplaces can fit employees and lead to improved performance, turn to ergonomics, which is also known as, human factors and often used interchangeably. According to the Association of Canadian Ergonomists, ergonomics and human factors are the scientific discipline concerned with the interactions between humans and other elements of a system (environment, people and objects) with the goal of optimizing human well-being and overall system performance. This ergonomics/human factors approach can create that fit between the work environment and the employee to improve their overall health, well-being, and ultimately their ability to thrive within a workplace and at the same time improve organizational performance.

An ergonomic approach can not only have significant financial benefits, but also related performance benefits to companies. A publication by the International Ergonomics Association (IEA) described a large-scale study that found that ergonomic interventions had an average payback period of 8 months, improve productivity on average by 25%, reduce workers compensation costs by 68%, reduce employee turnover by almost 50% and reduce employee absenteeism[1],[2]. Ergonomic programs engage participation from diverse employee perspectives to create opportunities for “fit” and improve the implementation and sustainment of changes- over time.

Canadian Certified Professional Ergonomists (CCPEs) can help companies implement effective ergonomic programs and interventions. CCPEs are the only Canadian certified ergonomists that have demonstrated that they have the knowledge, skills, and abilities to create and support the development and implementation of ergonomics systems. To protect employers and the public, the Canadian College for the Certification of Professional Ergonomists was formed in 1989 and those ergonomists with the CCPE designation have met the educational standards and professional competencies across the full scope of ergonomics and human factors.

The Canadian College for the Certification of Professional Ergonomists has a directory of CCPEs from across Canada who can support organizations with their ergonomic needs. To find a CCPE, please go to www.cccpe.ca. For more information about ergonomics/human factors in Canada, please go to www.ergonomicscanada.ca.

[1] International Ergonomics Association (2022). Giving your business the human factors edge. Retrieved from Giving your business the human factors edge | CIEHF (ergonomics.org.uk)

[2] Goggins, R., et al. (2008). Estimating the effectiveness of ergonomics interventions through case studies: Implications for predictive cost-benefit analysis. Journal of Safety Research, 39, 339–344.

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