Strong ergonomics in the workplace has the ability to improve productivity while keeping the employees safer. Of course, you care about the health and well being of your employees, but it is sometimes difficult to assess the financial implications of ergonomics and manage how your organization can keep profits instead of losing them to workers’ compensation claims.
It’s in the Numbers:
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has stated that ergonomic injuries alone have direct costs to businesses of approx. 17.5 billion per year. With regards to the total annual economic loss from ergonomic injuries in the workplace, it is approximately 50 billion dollars. These injuries make up at least 34% of all workplace injuries, according to a report conducted by the Bureau of Labor Statistics in 2013. Industries with the highest incidence rates in this report included: transportation and warehousing, healthcare, entertainment/recreation, agriculture, construction, and manufacturing.
So, what are you waiting for? Improve YOUR workplaces ergonomics today! Here’s a few tips and prevention techniques to get you started…
Tips & Tricks to Improve YOUR Workplace Ergonomics:
You’ve heard it a thousand times, and there’s a reason. Posture is very important to achieve proper ergonomics, slouching puts pressure on the discs and vertebrae in your back. If you primarily sit, use the support of your chair; sit with your hips toward the back of the chair to make sure that your hips have plenty of support. If you spend most of the day standing, think about keeping your shoulders back but relaxed, your bum tucked in, don’t lock your knees, and place your feet shoulder distance apart. Lastly, try to move around at regular intervals and bend & stretch often.
2. Become Informed
Would you ever just hop in an airplane and start flying with no experience? No. Well at least I hope not. Using proper ergonomics is similar, you need to first inform yourself of what ergonomics is and how it can benefit you. Whether you choose to teach yourself or hire a professional to come in and assess your workstation is up to you.
3. Don’t STAND for Bad Flooring
For employees spending long hours on their feet, ergonomically designed flooring is a must; without it, employees cannot work at optimal performance due to lack of comfort and pain. Providing employees with good ergonomic floors can increase productivity and comfort and improve physical health. Looking for ergonomic flooring? Safe-Flex is the number one ergonomic rated floor matting in the industry. Thousands have made the switch.
4. Spend a LITTLE Time, Save A LOT of Money
When doing a repetitive process, take the time to make sure it’s not going to strain the worker’s body. An example provided by Occupational Safety and Health demonstrates the importance of this. “At an outdoor catering event, a restaurant manager had to lift and carry about 20 carton boxes of food (22 kg each) and 80 cases of mineral water (8 kg each) for about 15 feet, over a 2-hour period. That evening, he went to see the doctor complaining of acute back pain. He received 3 months of medical leave.” These three months of medical leave could have potentially been avoided if a little extra time was taken to ensure the process was safe and efficient.
5. Workstation Design: Back to the Basics
The basics should not be ignored; look at the set up of your equipment. Position yourself at your workstation so you are not reaching to do your work. Have any tools you need within easy access and in the right order. Put tools back where they belong so you aren’t searching for them. Make your station efficient with everything at arms length but allow enough space so you can get around them easily, have room to shift positions and do some stretches.
6. Physical Environment
The environment you work in should be adjusted to yield ultimate production, so long as it does not inhibit the workplace from being safe. Things like lighting, temperature and noise are all very important. Limiting workplace noise can avoid hearing damage as well as prevent stress and annoyance. Cold temperature can constrict blood vessels and decrease a person’s coordination. Certain lighting can cause eyestrain since poor lighting makes people work harder to see properly.
7. Sit to Stand Workstation
A key component to good ergonomics is change of posture; installing stations that are able to change in height allow employees to adjust their posture to a position other then seated as they have the option to stand as well. Static posture when standing can lead to muscle fatigue so if you do choose to incorporate standing workstations as an option make sure you have ergonomic flooring to stand on. Ergo Advantage Inc.’s Safe-Flex matting uses dome technology to encourage movement and reduce fatigue while also distributing the persons weight which reduces stress.
We want to help you achieve your ergonomic goals and more. Our mission is to provide you with environmentally friendly floor matting that is comfortable, safe, attractive, and ergonomic all while saving you money short and long term.