Regardless of what type of occupation you have, whether an office desk job or construction work on a high rise, you could be at risk for being injured at work. According to the most recent data released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), in 2014, there were 2,953,500 reported injuries and illnesses in the workplace (private sector). Among the cases, a significant amount were injuries to the back (162,720) and sprains/ strains (331,180).
Often times, these types of injuries occur when a workplace is full of ergonomic hazards and as a result, many injured employees seek worker’s compensation benefits. According to Hasner Law, employers are responsible for providing a safe work environment for all employees and if an employee becomes injured on the job, he or she has the right to file for worker’s compensation benefits to help cover the costs that add up after being out of work. Therefore, it’s advantageous for everyone, employers and employees, to make the workplace more ergonomic.
What is Ergonomics?
These days, there’s lots of talk about ergonomics, but maybe you are unaware of what it is or it’s purpose. In short, ergonomics is the study of work and the science of designing the workplace. An ergonomic-friendly workplace considers the capabilities and limitations of all employees and strives to prevent injury and maintain the health of workers.
For instance, in efforts to reduce the effects of ergonomic hazards (such as repetitive movements or awkward posturing), workplaces enact workstations or devices that are ergonomic and prevent issues like carpal tunnel syndrome and back pain associated with an uncomfortable workspace.
An example of an ergonomically designed workstation includes adjustable and wireless keyboards, computer display screens that tilt up or down, proper lighting and anti-glare filters on the computer monitor, and a chair designed for proper and healthy posture and is suitable for long periods of sitting.
Advantages of Reducing Ergonomic Hazards at Work
Taking the time to re-evaluate the workplace and see where ergonomic changes could be made benefits everyone in the workplace. Here are some of the advantages of reducing ergonomic hazards that lead to musculoskeletal disorders (MSD):
- Saves Money: Although it may cost more to assess and develop an ergonomic workspace, companies ultimately end up saving money on costs associated with workers’ compensation. Additionally, less money is lost when there are fewer absences in the workplace due to injury.
- Increased Productivity & Quality: Ergonomic solutions lead to fewer issues associated with standing, sitting, and reaching. As a result, employees are more likely to work efficiently and focus on the quality of their work, which leads to increased productivity.
- Improved Employee Morale: When employees are working in an environment that is hazardous to their health, it’s natural for morale to be low and as a result, employers may see an increase in absences and high rate of employee turnover. Create a better workspace and employees are more likely to feel, act, and do better overall.