Canadian Occupational Safety

July/August 2020

Canadian Occupational Safety (COS) magazine is the premier workplace health and safety publication in Canada. We cover a wide range of topics ranging from office to heavy industry, and from general safety management to specific workplace hazards.

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Page 26 of 31 27 "[Another step] would be to encourage movement — we're too static, sedentary. We need to break up our tasks and encourage movement, change postures frequently." – Dr. Judy Village, president of the Association of Canadian Ergonomists ORDER BY 6 PM FOR SAME DAY SHIPPING A HOT SELECTION OF SAFETY ITEMS π SHIPPING SUPPLY SPECIALISTS COMPLETE CATALOG 1-800-295-5510 Working from home may have also led some workers to change certain behaviours, such as taking breaks, he says. "Working from home adds a totally different dynamic to how your workday is structured." Indeed, workers at home may not be taking breaks frequently enough or moving around enough during the day. This is why working in an office can lead to better ergonomic practices. "In the office setting, you have more often than not more opportunity to take breaks built into your day and equipment such as standing desks may be available. The real benefit to either environment is focusing on achieving proper postures and finding opportunity to frequently change your position," says Gargiulo. Another important thing when going back into an office setting, he says, is early reporting of discomfort when getting re-acclimated to the office environment. "Speaking up early is really an important part for any office ergonomics program," says Gargiulo. Planning for the future "I think we're going to see a bit of a transition, with more people working from home," says Gargiulo. Tech could be an answer to managing employees working remotely. "What software does is give you the capability to reach your employees wherever they might be. [Tech] provides assessment and training to the individual, and ultimately what that can do is really help them understand… and ultimately update their resources," he says. Gargiulo says tech can provide empowerment to the employee to solve their own problems and whittles down the group of people on which to focus. You can then prioritize your resources. One of the big challenges with people working from home is that you are not able to see workers in person. Tech may be a great solution for management, and it could also maybe help keep track of employees' ergonomic concerns from a distance. "As we start to look into the permanency of working from home for some people — even on a part-time basis — the biggest thing that will have to be addressed is adapting [ergonomic] plans to account for people in the home environment, so that they'll still be as comfortable as people working in the office," says Gargiulo. Indeed, with the shift in how we perceive our jobs and our workplaces, many employees may now prefer to work from home permanently or at least a couple of days a week. Workplaces will have to adapt to make sure they are covering all the bases and all ergonomic concerns. Gargiulo says it is also important that work office programs start covering working from home more robustly. There is a need to get those parts of the program developed and established, so that they can be established and successful. There needs to be more holistic training to cover both aspects of that environment.

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