Companies often wait until an ergonomic issue presents itself to address this important and possibly costly problem. Why is this an issue? Because eventually, workplace injuries related to ergonomics will present themselves. According to OSHA
- “Work-related musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) are the most widespread occupational health hazard facing our Nation today.
- Nearly two million workers suffer work-related musculoskeletal disorders every year and about 600,000 lose time from work as a result. Although the median number of lost workdays associated with these incidents is seven days, the most severe injuries can put people out of work for months and even permanently disable them.
- The direct costs attributable to MSDs total $15 to $18 billion per year, with indirect costs (such as resulting management costs or the cost of production losses) increasing the costs to employers to more than $45 billion”.
Source: OSHA, Occupational Safety & Health Administration
Even if you are not ready to implement a full ergonomics program right now, having a plan in place for how you will deal with ergonomics in the future is crucial. Strategic program planning will help you determine:
- What policies will your company follow when it comes to ergonomic issues
- What ergonomic standards will your company adhere to when it comes to equipment that is needed
- If special equipment is needed, what equipment are you going to select to be cost effective
- What system works best for you to intake, track, report and follow up with ergonomic complaints
- What is the best approach to educate your employees so they do their part in helping to prevent injuries
- What are the internal resources available to address this problem and when do you need outside assistance