There’s an old saying – to understand someone, you have to walk a mile in their shoes. This can (and should) be applied to any profession, including ergonomics. If your organization requires the services of an ergonomic consulting firm, would you not want someone who can relate to the needs of your company? Besides the right qualifications and experience, having an ergonomic consulting firm whose corporate mission, values and structure align with yours benefits both parties, leading to solutions that are almost always met with success.

Once you’ve narrowed down your list of qualified ergonomic consulting firms, here are a few points to consider to ensure there’s a perfect match:

Employees vs. Independent Contractors

The majority of organizations in need of ergonomic services have a corporate structure with employed staff, not contractors. Therefore, who would most understand both your business and employees’ needs, a firm with independent contractors or one who has employed staff like yours?

    • A consulting firm that utilizes contractors does not necessarily need to initiate their own workplace safety practices or hold insurance for their workers since they are independent contractors. Therefore, they would not understand the issues and costs of organizations that do.
    • A consulting firm with employees has a dedicated work force to fully commit to a project. Independent contractors may have other clients with deadlines to be met. Therefore, a firm who relies on independent contractors also relies on their schedule.
    • A consulting firm utilizing independent contractors has less supervision or control over a contractor’s work. Employees, on the other hand, generally have an office where their work can be monitored and resources or discussions with co-workers and peers are readily available.
    • Firms with contractors are at risk of being investigated by government if they misrepresent employees as contractors. This can cause further disruption in client projects. Furthermore, if contractors are deemed employees, back taxes, interest and penalties are owed. In this case, bank accounts could be frozen and a firm’s operations could potentially cease altogether, along with the services they are providing for you.


The firm’s values regarding employees

    • Does the consulting firm practice in-house what they preach offsite?
        • Does the firm genuinely care about the well-being of their staff?
        • Is this firm’s staff equipped with proper fitting ergonomic chairs and desks? Are their workstations set up properly?



    • Employees who are treated with respect and have support from their employers tend to stay with their firm longer. They also care about the growth and reputation of the firm. Who would you rather deal with – several changing faces on your project or develop a long term relationship with a consultant?
        • Is there a high turn-over in staff?




Remember that there is more to selecting the right ergonomic firm than just professional qualifications and related experience. In order for a firm to deliver the ergonomic interventions you need, it needs to be walking on the same path as you!