From The Ergoweb® Learning Center

Readers Respond: Behavior, Sex, Regulations and Kids

To the editor:

“How integral to ergonomics is worker behavior? Experts say it can be an extremely effective component, as long as it doesn’t stray from the science of ergonomics”. . .I like that (“Relying On Behavior.” The Ergonomics ReportTM, January 12, 2005.) — “…as long as it doesn’t stray from the science of ergonomics.”

Hmmm, straying would be like annual, mandatory, ergonomics training for nurses while, at the same time, requiring them to bend forward and lift people of all sizes.

Many hospital nurses are in the ironic position of being required to perform hazardous lifting in order to keep their job and are then fired when disabled by the lifting.

Thanks. Keep up the good work.

Anne Hudson, RN, BSN
Coos Bay, Oregon

Dear Editor:

I was quite disappointed in the decision to post the recent article, “Sex Workers Get Ergonomics Guidelines” (Ergonomics TodayTM, October 22, 2004). I do not consider this important or useful news. On the contrary, it is ridiculous and unworthy of the extensive attention it probably received being posted on your website. Personally, I’m disgusted and morally opposed to efforts to legitimize the sex industry, but furthermore I believe that the promotion of such information only serves to adversely impact the respectability of the discipline of ergonomics. I hope that better judgment is exercised when considering articles of this nature in the future.


Mike O’Brien, MS, CPE

Dear Editor:

I’m writing to inform your staff of a correction to the article “Could Ergonomics Regulation Be On the Horizon?” (Ergonomics TodayTM) from July 7, 2004. The McGuinty government is actually hiring 200 more inspectors which almost doubles their existing staff of 230. It’s great news for our province and hopefully a step towards ergonomics regulations that could better protect our Ontario workers.

Thanks for making the event known throughout North America.


Taylor Greenfield, B.Sc., ACE Ergonomist
Occupational Health Clinics for Ontario Workers, Inc. (OHCOW) Windsor Clinic

Dear Editor:


It truly is about time you “somewhat” recognized that the ONLY reason humans” get hurt is NOT the workplace! (“Raising Kids Can Hurt.” Ergonomics TodayTM. May 7, 2004.)

The majority of employees work an average workweek of 42-50 hours. Considering that the week consists of 168 hours and the employee sleeps an average of 6 hours per day (42 hours – and is that ergonomically correct?) just what does anyone think they do the other 76 hours? Do they stand in an ergonomically correct position? Sit in an ergonomically correct position? Do nothing? HARDLY!

They raise children, clean house, mow the lawn, wash the car, play on the computer, run the bases, ride the bike, move theirs, or their neighbor’s, entire households, and whatever other plethora of physically demanding – non ergonomically designed tasks.

So how the heck can anyone try to conclude that the “Soft Tissue” “Repetitive Injury” only comes from the “Workplace”? Lets get real and stop trying to only “Punish” the employer, but also remember that the employee controls more than two-thirds of his life. And since that is a FACT, why are we spending millions only on the workplace when there is NOTHING spent to correct that time the employee is in control of their surroundings?

I will say this facetiously – Let’s pass a law that says – If you work for a living then you can DO NOTHING ELSE. Then we can watch the workers compensation costs drop most dramatically, then we can enjoy the fact that employees do not suffer, then we can stop trying to assess all the pain and suffering onto employers who do nothing more than provide their employees with enough income so that they can do all those NON-ERGONOMICALLY designed tasks, activities and/or pleasures!

Let us think this through — who can “honestly” say that the “workplace” is the only cause of the “problem”? WHO?

The workplace is only a “piece” of the employee’s life that, rightfully so, should not add any additional pain and suffering to an employees life, hence an “Ergonomically Correct” workplace. Outside of that, why does the employer become the “Welfare Agent” for the other abuses that the employee “willingly” subjects him or herself to?

Who can, and is willing to dispute this?

Rod Gonzalez
Safety Manager

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