Good design contributes functionality and safety, not just appearance.
The company Bodystance produces the Backpod to help deal with upper back and neck pain, so they want to make sure their staff have an ergonomically sound workplace. Product Design student Toni Linington was asked to help by designing a workstation for their factory. Toni was able to draw on her background in health for this project as well as using her design skills.
Toni visited the company's factory in Christchurch to understand the issues. She found that two people of different heights were using the same non-adjustable desk. She investigated how they used the desk to ensure that her design would meet their requirements. With the company's approval Toni's brief evolved to identify opportunities to streamline work processes, to make their work easier and more efficient. She used design tools and strategies to find a solution that best addresses the current and future needs of a growing business.
"How a design looks, feels, works and all the different ways it might be used are important considerations for me."
The final concept was for a modular ergonomic work system which was designed around the needs of the user in terms of minimizing hazards and ease of use. The two basic workstations can be connected to each other, are height adjustable at the push of a button from 550mm to 1200mm, with the ability to pre-programme favourite settings for each user and for specific tasks. A lease system to make this system more accessible for small growing businesses to enable them to meet the recommendations of Work Safe NZ. Some of the systemic changes which Toni recommended have been implemented already. It makes sense to Toni to design out health hazards so that employees can work more safely.