What are the benefits of an ergonomics program in the workplace?

Q:

What are the benefits of an ergonomics program in the workplace?

A:

The benefits of an ergonomic program are twofold; benefits for worker and benefits of employer.

Benefits for worker include less pain and suffering from chronic musculoskeletal disorders of the soft tissues (ligaments, muscles, joints, cartilage), which include bursitis, tendonitis, and carpel tunnel syndrome, to name a few. An effective ergonomic program will help reduce health insurance costs of the employee.

Benefits for employer include a reduction work related MSDs of which will also reflect a reduction of workers’ compensation and health costs. Another benefit would include a decrease of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) beyond medical treatment injuries that are posted on the 300 Log. Below are a few more examples that include benefits for employers who develop an ergonomic program:

  • Less employee turnover
  • Less training of new hires to replace injured employee as a result of an MSD
  • Reduction of employer Experience Modification Rate
  • Improved employee moral and productivity for eliminating potential MSD related injuries

It is important to note that some OSHA Approved State Plans such as California have a regulatory requirement to establish and Ergonomic Program. For states that fall under Federal OSHA jurisdiction, employers may be cited under the General Duty Clause of the OSHAct under Section 5:

"(a) Each employer -- (1) shall furnish to each of his employees employment and a place of employment which are free from recognized hazards that are causing or are likely to cause death or serious physical harm to his employees."

Implementing an ergonomics program and encouraging workers to report ergonomic issues early helps prevent MSDs as well as other common workplace injuries. Work-related ergonomic-injuries can be prevented with proper awareness through education, engineering controls and fitting the job to the person. An ergonomics program is a sound investment in your workers safety and the financial well-being of any organization.

Have a question? Ask Michael here.

View all questions from Michael Aust.

Share this: