What Are Musculoskeletal Disorders (MSDs) Costing You?
MSDs are the leading cause of pain, suffering and disability in American workplaces. They account for about one-third of all worker’s compensation costs, and also cost organizations hours of lost productivity, costly legal fees, tedious administrative time, and a damaged safety culture.
Here’s the thing: a big MSD problem presents you with a big MSD prevention opportunity. It’s an opportunity to contain costs and add tremendous value for your organization. Most importantly, it’s an opportunity to help the people in your organization work with less fatigue/discomfort and prevent the painful experience of an injury.
Infographic: The Cost of Musculoskeletal Disorders
Going all-in with MSD Prevention might be met with some resistance from other leaders in your organization. If this happens to you, you need to be armed with the right information to educate the leaders resisting this process.
We’ve put together a few facts and figures in the infographic below. You can use these facts to convince others in your organization of the value of an MSD prevention process. Of course, the best figures you could use are costs of MSDs at your facility.
Here’s the infographic:
Contain Costs and Add Value With a Proactive MSD Prevention Process
Cost containment is an important aspect of MSD prevention. But it doesn’t stop there.
MSD Prevention through proactive ergonomics and proactive healthcare adds value to your organization in many ways.
Benefits of Proactive Ergonomics
1. Proactive ergonomics reduces costs. By systematically reducing ergonomic risk factors, you can prevent costly MSDs. With approximately $1 out of every $3 in workers compensation costs attributed to MSDs, this represents an opportunity for significant cost savings. Also, don’t forget that indirect costs can be up to twenty times the direct cost of an injury.
2. Proactive ergonomics improves productivity. The best ergonomic solutions will often improve productivity. By designing a job to allow for good posture, less exertion, fewer motions and better heights and reaches, the workstation becomes more efficient.
3. Proactive ergonomics improves quality. Poor ergonomics leads to frustrated and fatigued workers that don’t do their best work. When the job task is too physically taxing on the worker, they may not perform their job like they were trained. For example, an employee might not fasten a screw tight enough due to a high force requirement which could create a product quality issue.
4. Proactive ergonomics improves employee engagement. 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.
5. Proactive ergonomics creates a better safety culture. Ergonomics shows your company’s commitment to safety and health as a core value. The cumulative effect of the previous 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 better human performance for your organization.
Benefits of Proactive Healthcare
1. Proactive healthcare reduces costs. The further upstream healthcare is delivered, the less expensive it is. This is why insurance companies will sometimes pay for preventive maintenance/checkups: the earlier a problem is identified, the easier it is to correct it and prevent surgery, medications and an expensive rehab plan. The same concept applies in the workplace. Having a preventive healthcare professional on-site caring for your workplace athletes will reduce costs.
2. Proactive healthcare improves employee engagement. An on-site preventive healthcare professional (Athletic Trainer) serves as an advocate for workplace athletes This is perhaps the greatest benefit of them all. Weekly engagements with an athletic trainer reinforce the idea that the company cares about the health and well-being of its people. The workplace athletes realize that someone is there to help them. Better employee engagement improves employee retention and reduces presenteeism/absenteeism, and it can be a real competitive advantage for your organization.
3. Proactive healthcare creates a better safety culture. This is the real goal we set out to achieve for clients, and the presence of an on-site athletic trainer makes an exponential difference to the safety culture of an organization. Providing your people with preventive healthcare is a real statement — not a safety slogan kind of statement, but a real action that helps people. If you want to foster an excellent safety culture, actions are what count.
Calling All Prevention Pros: What is your MSD prevention opportunity?
A prevention-oriented MSD prevention process gains an unstoppable momentum. Every year more risk factors are reduced. There are fewer injuries. The financial impact of this process eventually becomes clear, creating a “prevention dividend” that frees up more resources to reduce even more risk factors. And on and on it goes until you have a world class MSD prevention process.
The key is to recognize the MSD prevention opportunity and get started.
Lesson 7 Key Takeaways
- MSDs are the leading cause of pain, suffering and disability in American workplaces. They account for about one-third of all worker’s compensation costs, and also cost organizations hours of lost productivity, costly legal fees, tedious administrative time, and a damaged safety culture.
- A big MSD problem presents you with a big MSD prevention opportunity.
- There is huge value in implementing ergonomics and healthcare in your organization proactively.
- The key is to recognize the MSD prevention opportunity and get started today.