Work Safe

Ergonomics

Ergonomics, the science of adapting the work environment to the physical needs of employees, can play an essential role in increasing productivity through injury and stress prevention. Ergonomic best practices can be applied throughout virtually every area of an organization to reduce the impact of continuous strain and repetitive motion. Ergonomic solutions can be as simple as promoting safe lifting techniques, proper posture and more frequent breaks to adapting your equipment to the specific needs of your workforce.

Preventing fatigue and discomfort by conforming to the body’s minor demands now can ultimately result in avoiding costly debilitating problems, such as musculoskeletal disorders, that might lie ahead. Along with achieving optimal efficiency and productivity, placing an emphasis on the physical well-being of your workforce boosts morale, cuts back on absenteeism, saves money and enhances employee gratification, resulting in better customer service and reduced turnover.

Do I really need an ergonomic solution?
When you’re weighing the importance of ergonomics as part of your overall commitment to workplace safety, consider these statistics:

  • Overexertion, which includes injuries related to lifting, pushing, pulling, holding, carrying, or throwing, was the leading cause of disabling injuries in 2008—costing businesses $13.40 billion in direct costs (1).
  • Repetitive motion was among the top ten leading causes of disabling injuries in 2008—costing businesses $1.3 billion (1).
  • Musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs), often referred to as ergonomic injuries, accounted for 29 percent of all workplace injuries requiring time away from work in 2007 (2).
  • Nursing aides, orderlies, and attendants had a MSD rate of 252 cases per 10,000 workers in 2007, a rate more than seven times the national MSD average for all occupations (2).

 

Sources:

1Liberty Mutual Research Institute for Safety, 2010 Liberty Mutual Workplace Safety Index.
2United States Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, December 2008.

Do you have questions about how Missouri Employers Mutual or the WorkSAFE Center can help your workplace? Contact us today to learn more about our resources and custom safety training.

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