Spotting the little things that can make big changes to let people avoid chronic workplace pain is what Craig Kipling does best.
The 32-year-old and principal consultant of ergonomic consulting firm Healthy Posture Inc. helps companies and individuals eliminate unnecessary aches and pains in the workplace by making sure their work spaces are ergonomically sound.
Kipling has a degree in Kinesiology but always had a love for business as well so he started Healthy Posture five years ago to meld the two together.
“My vision was I wanted to take my schooling and apply it in the corporate world,” he said.
Ergonomics involves making sure things like body positioning, posture and the distance someone has to reach are optimized for the least physical strain possible. While tiny motions like typing or turning to reach for a telephone keypad might seem inconsequential, the regular, consistent strain can add up to chronic pain and repetitive-stress injuries.
Just by seeing how a person uses their workstation, Kipling can tell where the problems are and work individually with them to set up their work space. A good desk setup can mean freedom from unnecessary muscle and joint pain.
“We’re all different heights and all different sizes, so each workstation has to be individually specialized for each employee. You shouldn’t come to work and have go home and ice yourself or heal yourself,” Kipling said.
Kipling says incorrect monitor positioning in is the number one reason why people develop shoulder and back pain in an office setting. Contrary to much common thinking, a computer monitor should not set with the eye at the centre of the screen, since the eye’s most common habit is to look down — Kipling says most people set their monitors far too high for ergonomic comfort.
Though Kipling has a steady stream of corporate clients now, the early going was tough because many businesses weren’t aware of how ergonomics impacted their employees.
“You say you’re an ergonomic consultant and some people don’t know what the word means. Right from the start nobody knows who you are — it’s all word-of-mouth,” Kipling said.
Luckily, employers are becoming more aware that taking time to prevent injuries is far more cost-effective for their businesses, particularly those with larger numbers of employees, than having to pay to fix injuries after they happen.
“It costs less money to be proactive than it does to deal with somebody who develops an injury later.
Companies are starting to understand the importance of ergonomics,” he said.