By: Suzanne Gainey
In uncertain economic times the last thing you want to be worried about is how you will provide for workers’ compensation, the associated rising medical costs, and the potential cost of losing an injured employee from your crew altogether due to a more extreme work-related injury or disability. Ergonomic productivity innovations could very well be something you haven’t thought much about. Maybe it is time to be proactive, rather than reactive, with worker injury and fatigue-related stresses that could be mitigated or altogether avoided with the proper ergonomic solutions.
According to the U.S. Department of Labor, 33% of all injury and illness cases are attributed to Musculoskeletal disorders (MSD’s). MSD’s are injuries or pain in the human musculoskeletal system, including the joints, ligaments, muscles, nerves, tendons, and structures that support limbs, neck and back. Workers who spend too much time on their feet are at a greatly increased risk of pain and discomfort from these types of injuries.
Research conducted by Ergo Plus found that approximately $1 out of every $3 in worker’s compensation costs are attributed to MSD’s. Further, indirect costs from an injury can also lead to up to twenty times the direct cost of the injury itself. With stats like this, employers could save their bottom line by implementing ergonomic innovations in the workplace. Providing a work environment that reduces this type of injury is an opportunity for significant cost savings for any employer.
You may be wondering what the primary risk factors are that you should be thinking about regarding ergonomics. Let’s explore this a little bit.
Ergo Plus reports that there are three primary ergonomic risk factors to consider.
- High task repetition
Many work tasks and cycles are repetitive in nature, and are frequently controlled by hourly or daily production targets and work processes. High task repetition, when combined with other risks factors such as high force and/or awkward postures, can contribute to the formation of an MSD. A job is considered highly repetitive if the cycle time is 30 seconds or less.
- Forceful exertions
Many work tasks require high force loads on the human body. Muscle effort increases in response to high force requirements, increasing associated fatigue which can lead to an MSD.
- Repetitive or sustained awkward postures
Awkward postures place excessive force on joints and overload the muscles and tendons around the effected joint. Joints of the body are most efficient when they operate closest to the mid-range motion of the joint. Risk of an MSD is increased when joints are worked outside of this mid-range repetitively or for sustained periods of time without adequate recovery time.
Exposure to these workplace risk factors puts workers at a higher level of MSD risk. Fortunately, these types of factors can be mitigated by ergonomic innovations. We would also like to add to this list for the standing workers, what are they standing on? Are your workers standing on a hard or unforgiving flooring surface, such as concrete, for long hours while they are completing repetitive tasks as described above? If so, SmartCells has custom flooring solutions for virtually any workspace or workstation configuration.
We know that it isn’t easy staying ahead of the many challenges businesses face today. Keeping your company afloat in uncertain economic times may take some creative solutions on all fronts. We hope this information helps you gain an understanding of how ergonomic solutions could positively affect your workers and potentially save your company from going under due to injury related costs from MSD’s.
At SmartCells, we provide solutions to top companies such as Amazon, Costco, and Boeing to name a few. SmartCells® Cushioning Technology mats, flooring and insoles are ergonomically engineered to help your workforce feel great, and meet your ergonomic health, safety, and productivity needs.
Do More. Feel Good. With SmartCells. www.smartcellsusa.com .