Is ergonomics worth the investment? Learn the benefits of ergonomics in the workplace, backed by 250 case studies.
Editor’s note: This is an installment of the Workplace Ergonomics 101 series.
Are you looking to reduce worker’s compensation and health care costs for your company?
Is improving productivity one of your company’s core business objectives this year? How about improving product quality?
If this is the case (and I’ll assume it is), then establishing or improving upon your company’s workplace ergonomics process should be on the top of your to-do list.
In fact, leading companies are integrating ergonomics deeply into all of their operations. And it’s no wonder when you take a look at the benefits of an effective ergonomics process.
The Washington State Department of Labor and Industries reviewed 250 ergonomics case studies to reveal the impact of ergonomics on business goals like cost savings, productivity and product quality.
What did they find? That ergonomics is well worth the investment. You can check out an overview of their findings here: Examples of Costs and Benefits of Ergonomics [PDF]
Benefits of a Workplace Ergonomics Process
Here are five of the proven benefits of a strong workplace ergonomics process:
1. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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 & health culture at your company will lead to better human performance for your organization.
Workplace Ergonomics – Is it worth the cost?
So is an ergonomics process worth the cost? Yes, absolutely! Not only is ergonomics good for your business, it’s great for your people. As health & safety professionals, we need to be able to demonstrate the value of ergonomics to get buy-in for the process.
Good managers consider the following when making decisions:
- Will this increase our revenues?
- Will this decrease our costs?
- Is this the right thing to do?
When considering a workplace ergonomics process, you can answer with an emphatic “YES!” to all three of these questions.
Over to you …
What are some of the benefits of ergonomics you’ve seen at your facility? Do you plan on spending increased time, attention and resources on ergonomics this year? How do you make the case for your ergonomics process?
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