Why You Should Improve Your Workplace Ergonomics
If your employees suffer frequent illnesses and injuries, you may need to improve your workplace ergonomics. Most employers are well aware of the various physical, chemical and biological hazards that could threaten their workers’ health and safety. In practice, many seek professional help from an occupational hygiene specialist to eliminate or minimise such threats. However, they are generally far less aware that how employees perform their allotted tasks can also harm their health or increase the risk of accidents. While the risk is most prevalent among workers engaged in physically demanding tasks, even those in relatively sedentary jobs are not exempt from danger.
Preventing Musculoskeletal Disorders through Workplace Ergonomics
One of the primary aims of workplace ergonomics is the prevention of musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) – conditions that affect the joints, muscles, tendons, ligaments and nerves, causing pain, discomfort, and fatigue. An MSD may develop gradually over time but will often occur spontaneously due to overexertion. Not only can these conditions be debilitating, but they can also heighten the risk of accidents among those affected. From an employer’s viewpoint, failing to address the threat of MSDs could lead to absenteeism and reduced productivity and may even result in claims for industrial compensation.
Taking whatever steps necessary to improve your workplace ergonomics offers several significant benefits. There may be some problems, like unsuitable seating or incorrect handling, which you would be able to spot without expert help. However, it will definitely pay to arrange for an occupational hygiene company to conduct a professional inspection. Naturally, this service carries a cost, but the net gains will likely exceed your initial outlay substantially once you implement the inspector’s recommendations.
Benefits of Improving Workplace Ergonomics
Studies have shown that there are essentially five ways in which a company stands to benefit when taking the appropriate steps to improve its workplace ergonomics.
1) Reduced Costs:
By protecting your workforce from the risk of musculoskeletal disorders, you will experience a significant reduction in the number of lost workdays. Furthermore, you will avoid costly payouts arising from claims for industrial compensation. MSDs contribute to around a third of these claims.
2) Increased Productivity:
The act of redesigning a task to avoid the possible consequences of overexertion, excessive bending, or stretching will lead to greater efficiency. Inevitably this will manifest as increased productivity. Your company could experience an increase of up to 25%.
3) Improved Quality:
It doesn’t need a workplace ergonomics specialist to work out that employees don’t perform at their best when they are uncomfortable, exhausted or in pain. Under such circumstances, errors, omissions and oversights are frequent, resulting in faulty products and costly waste. Studies have shown that rectifying these problems could reduce mistakes and scrapped products by as much as 67%.
4) Better Employee Engagement:
Relieving your employees of fatigue and discomfort not only reduces absenteeism but improves quality and productivity. Evidence of your concern for their well-being will also improve morale, inspire company loyalty and reduce staff turnover.
5) Promotes Safety:
By minimising the risk of MSDs, you are helping to encourage a company-wide safety culture that will benefit all.
IOH Solutions will Assess Your Workplace Requirements
IOH Solutions is a registered occupational hygiene specialist delivering services to companies in Gauteng and the Eastern and Western Cape. We invite you to contact us to learn more about our workplace ergonomics services.