5 Key benefits of a strong workplace ergonomics process:
A review of research by the Washington State DLI highlighted five key proven benefits of improved ergonomic design and processes.
- Ergonomics reduces costs. By reducing ergonomic risk factors such as poor postures or static or repetitive movements, you can prevent costly work-related musculoskeletal disorders (WMSD). With the median direct compensation paid for a serious claim being $8900 per claim in 2013-14, when almost 33% of all serious claims were due to musculoskeletal injury, improving ergonomics provides a real opportunity for significant cost savings to a company. It should be remembered, that in addition to the direct cost of a claim, it is estimated that indirect costs such as lost productivity, retraining and absenteeismmay be up to twenty times the direct cost of an injury.
- Ergonomics improves productivity. The best ergonomic solutions will often improve productivity, which in turn can improve wellbeing and reduce workplace stress. By analysing the tasks required and designing a job to allow for good posture, less exertion, fewer motions and less reaching, the workstation becomes more efficient. This can lead to both time and energy savings, as well as reduced musculoskeletal load.
- 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.
- Ergonomics improves employee engagement. Employees notice when a company demonstrates a genuine care and concern for their health and safety. If an employee does not experience fatigue and discomfort during their workday, staff turnover and absenteeism is likely to reduce, and morale and employee involvement is likely to increase.
- Ergonomics creates a better safety culture. Investing in, and improving workplace ergonomics shows your company’s commitment to safety and health as a core value. The cumulative effect of the previous four benefits of ergonomics fosters 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 organisation. Reducing musculoskeletal injuries can also reduce your workers compensation insurance premiums.
So when considering whether ergonomics is a good investment, the answer is most emphatically, ‘Yes!” It is a great way to reduce costs, and increase productivity and revenue. It is a great investment in your team!
Department of Labor and Industries [DLI] (2000). Cost-benefit analysis of the ergonomics standard. Olympia, WA: Author.
Goggins, R.W., Spielholz, P., & Nothstein, G.L. (2008) Estimating the effectiveness of ergonomics interventions through case studies: Implications for predictive cost -benefit analysis’. Journal of Safety Research, 39, 339–344