Why is Ergonomics Important?

According to OSHA, work-related musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) affect over 1.8 million U.S. workers each year. More than 600,000 of those MSDs are serious enough to cause absence from work, resulting in a significant cost – both direct and indirect – to employers and employees. In fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that 34% of all lost workdays are a result of MSDs.

Economic Impact

The financial impact of MSDs is striking: an estimated $20 billion is spent annually on direct costs for MSD-related injuries (e.g. medical bills, workers compensation, and possibly legal fees) and seven to ten times that much for indirect costs (e.g. lower productivity or required rework if the injured employee is still working but not able to produce the required goods or services, injury investigation, costs associated with hiring and training replacement workers, etc.). For example, a back injury that costs $50,000-$90,000 for medical expenses and time away from work translates to $350,000-$900,000 in indirect costs. A carpal tunnel surgery that costs approximately $30,000 creates $210,000-$300,000 in indirect costs.

Another issue affecting workplace productivity and efficiency is “presenteeism.” This occurs when employees do not report an injury as work-related, but rather continue to work with an injury. Employees who are at work and do not appear to be injured may be functioning at a decreased level of productivity. Some estimates indicate a one-third decrease in productivity in the presence of pain or illness.

And for employees, the long-term personal impact of MSDs can be devastating. Besides its obvious impact on employment, MSDs can also make it very painful or even impossible to perform such simple personal tasks such as buttoning their clothes or brushing their hair.

Ergonomics: Prevention Is The Best Strategy

A comprehensive ergonomic assessment can pay huge dividends in workplace productivity, efficiency, and employee safety. Work Injury Solutions has the expertise to assist employers in preventing the devastating economic and personal impact of work-related MSDs in both office and industrial settings through:

  • Detailed ergonomic evaluations,
  • Training in MSD risk factors and prevention,
  • Physical demands job analysis, and
  • Identifying how to accommodate work requirements and activities for employees with medical restrictions and disabilities.

Contact us today to schedule an assessment for your business.