Benefits of Integrating Ergonomics Into The Workplace

Posted on: Dec 08, 2014 by: mike

Regardless of industry/sector, every business will benefit from the use of ergonomics. Unfortunately, however, many employers overlook this process, turning a blind eye to the root cause of work-related injuries. This results in increased costs, higher turnover rates, and other problematic scenarios. To learn more about the ergonomics and the benefits it offers in the workplace, keep reading.

What Is Ergonomics?

The International Ergonomics Association defines ergonomics as “the scientific discipline concerned with the understanding of interactions among humans and other elements of a system, and the profession that applies theory, principles, data and methods to design in order to optimize human well-being and overall system performance.” In other words, ergonomics is the process of modifying an environment to the meet the unique needs of a person/worker or group of people.

Protects Against Musculoskeletal Disorders

Arguably, the greatest benefit of integrating ergonomics into the workplace is the simple fact that it protects against musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs). MSD is a blanket term used to describe any injury involving the joints, ligaments, muscles, nerves and/or tendons. Some of the most common types of MSDs include carpal tunnel syndrome, tarsal tunnel syndrome, tendinitis, epicondylitis and lower back pain. Injuries such as this are particularly problematic in workplaces that aren't modified to the meet the needs of the worker.

By creating an ergonomic workplace, however, employers will reduce the risk of MSDs among their workers. An employer could place anti-fatigue mats in workstations where employees are forced to stand for long periods of time, for instance. The mats will reduce stress and tension on the worker's feet, which subsequently protects him or her from certain types of MSDs.

Cost

Employers who fail to offer an ergonomic workplace for their employees will end paying more in the form of worker's compensation, broken/damaged equipment, re-training employees, and other associated costs. The Centers For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) ranks MSDs as the second leading cause of disability worldwide, only behind lower back pain.

Fewer Sick Days

Of course, another reason why employers should integrate ergonomics into their workplace is because it reduces the number of sick days workers take. It's not uncommon for employees to call out or schedule time off due to MSD-related injuries. This subsequently costs the company money, further increasing the costs associated with poor ergonomics.