Benefits of Workplace Ergonomics Programs
What is Ergonomics?
Ergonomics is the scientific study of people at work. The goal of ergonomics is to reduce stress and eliminate injuries and disorders associated with the overuse of muscles, bad posture, and repeated tasks. This is accomplished by designing workplaces, tasks, tools, lighting, and equipment while keeping in mind the capabilities and limitations of the employee. Poor worksite design can lead to fatigue, frustration, physical pain, lack of productivity, and possible workers’ compensation claims.
Benefits of Workplace Ergonomics Programs:
- Reduces Costs: By reducing ergonomic risk factors, you can prevent costly musculoskeletal disorders. Musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) are injuries or pain in the joints, ligaments, muscles, nerves, tendons, and structures that support the limbs, neck, and back. MSDs make up one-third of worker’s compensation costs. Also, indirect costs can be up to twenty times the direct cost of an injury. Therefore, there is an opportunity for significant cost savings.
- Improves Productivity: The best ergonomic solutions will often improve employee productivity. By designing a job to allow for good posture, less exertion, fewer motions and better heights and reaches, the workstation naturally becomes more efficient.
- Improves Work Quality: Poor ergonomics leads to frustrated and fatigued employees that don’t do their best work. When the job task is too physically taxing on the employee, they may not perform their job to the best of their ability. For example, a worker might not fasten a screw tight enough due to a high force requirement which could create a product quality issue.
- Increases Employee Engagement and Retention: Employees notice when the company is putting forth their best efforts to ensure their health and safety. If an employee does not experience fatigue and discomfort during their workday, it can reduce turnover, decrease absenteeism, improve morale and increase employee involvement.
- Creates a better safety culture: Ergonomics shows your company’s commitment to safety and health as a core value. The cumulative effect of the above four benefits of ergonomics is a stronger safety culture for your company. Healthy employees are your most valuable asset. Creating and fostering the safety and health culture at your company will lead to overall better human performance for your organization.
Where to begin:
A good place to start is by observing your workplace and surveying employees to determine what areas may need improvement. No one knows the ins and outs of a workplace better than your employees. Once you have determined which areas of your office or workspace could have a better ergonomic design, you can begin introducing tools and changes that will provide more comfort and less strain. HRi has an OSHA certified workers’ compensation and risk manager on staff and our team would be happy to assist with creating an ergonomics program for your company. Please contact HRi if you are interested in learning more about ergonomics in the workplace.