How Ergonomics Reduces Workplace Injuries

Ergonomics is transforming workplaces by reducing the risks of musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) for employees and slashing workers' compensation costs for employers. MSDs like sprains, strains, and back pain are frequent causes of work-related injuries, leading to lost workdays and significant compensation expenses. Ergonomics, rooted in science and worker-centric design, enhances employee comfort, decreases the risk of MSDs, and improves retention rates. Fewer MSDs mean fewer lost workdays and a decline in workers' compensation claims. Ergonomics is a win-win, boosting workplace well-being and financial bottom lines. Learn how to implement these principles with Work Health Solutions today!

Ergonomics is a hot topic in many industries. Many leading companies, such as Tyson Foods and Dow Chemical Company, are integrating ergonomics into all of their operations. So what are the benefits of having and using ergonomic processes? Studies show that ergonomics decreases employee risk for musculoskeletal disorders and lower costs for employers. Keep reading to find out how ergonomics reduces workplace injuries and how it can save companies hundreds of dollars in workers’ compensation costs.

The Dangers of Muskuloskeletal Disorders

Muskuloskeletal disorders (MSDs) are injuries or disorders of the muscles, tendons, joints, cartilage, and nerves. Work-related musculoskeletal disorders (WMSDs) can occur when a work environment and performance contribute to the condition or the condition worsens due to work conditions. MSDs can be caused by overexertion, repetitive motion, or events leading to bodily reactions like bending, twisting, or stretching. MSDs are linked to Repetitive Strain Injuries, which are when small repetitive tasks cause strain injuries. Some examples of MSDs include the following:

  • Sprains and Strains
  • Back Pain
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Hernias

MSDs are among the leading causes of missed work days due to injury. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, over 270,000 cases of injuries or illnesses involving MSDs occurred in 2018 in the private sector. Ergonomics can prevent the development of WMSDs.  Ergonomics is very effective at decreasing one’s risk for developing MSDs.

What is Ergonomics?

Ergonomics is the science of designing and modifying the workplace to fit the worker while keeping the capabilities and limitations of the worker in mind. The word ergonomics comes from the Greek word “ergos”, which means work, and “nomos” meaning law. Polish scientist Wojciech Jatrezebowski introduced ergonomics in the seventeenth century. It did not become popularized until the manufacturing age of World War II. Since then, numerous studies have been conducted regarding the effectiveness of ergonomics in the workplace. Utilizing ergonomic principles in the workplace greatly benefits both employees and employers.

The Benefits of Ergonomics to Employees and Employers

More Comfortable Working Conditions

Implementing ergonomic principles, like swapping standard equipment for more ergonomically minded equipment, can increase comfort for employees. Some working environments force workers to use awkward postures to complete a task which puts stress on the workers; musculoskeletal system. 

Ergonomics effectively decreases one’s risk for WMSDs because it eliminates or limits the amount of repetitive motion in a task and creates a more effective work environment. A task is considered highly repetitive if the cycle time is thirty seconds or less. An effective ergonomics process will reduce excessive or unnecessary movements, decreasing the risk of repetitive strain injuries.

Improved Retention

Employees are more likely to stay at a job where they feel that their safety and well-being are valued by management. Implementing ergonomic principles and showing employees that they are valued is a great way to reduce hiring costs.

Decreased Lost Work Days due to MSDs

Injuries caused by MSDs can have lasting effects on an employee’s health and ability. Days, weeks, and even months of valuable work time can be lost due to MSDs. This leads to decreased profit margins and excessive strain on other employees, which can lead to more injuries. Since ergonomics effectively reduces the risk for MSDs, there is less frequency of missed work days due to injury.

Decreased Workers’ Compensation Claims due to MSDs

According to OSHA, MSDs account for 33% of worker’s compensation costs in the United States. For an injury like a strain, the employer can be responsible for paying nearly $65,000 in direct and indirect costs. With fewer WMSDs because of ergonomics, employers will have a lower risk regarding workers’ compensation claims.

How to Implement Ergonomic Principles in the Workplace

There are a few steps to a safer workplace. Start by assessing the needs and abilities of your workforce. Look at each individual task in an employee’s daily work and check for any repetitive motions, uncomfortable positions, or unnecessary actions. Reaching out to an occupational health professional, like Work Health Solutions, can help you to identify the safety needs of your workplace. Try asking your employees if they have any concerns about their work and see if they have ideas on how to improve the ergonomics of their workspace. After eliminating unnecessary actions and repetitions and implementing ergonomically-minded equipment, check in with your employees periodically to ensure the system works.

Implementing ergonomic processes is important for reducing the risk of workplace injuries, but ensuring employee awareness is also extremely important for improving safety in the workplace. Have regular safety discussions in the workplace and ensure that employees understand and practice safety protocols. 

How Can We Help?

Work Health Solutions offers comprehensive healthcare solutions for your medical needs, including injury prevention. Our qualified team treats patients and employers alike and always provides top-quality service. Our quality service is backed by years of experience working with academic and research institutions, corporate healthcare, Fortune 25 companies, small government, and local businesses. Reach out today with any questions you may have about how we can assist you!

Work Health Solutions

Work Health Solutions

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Work Health Solutions is dedicated to preserving a safe work environment and improving existing programs and care for local, regional and national organizations.

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Dr. Michael Tenison

A series of notable accomplishments distinguish Dr. Michael Tenison’s career in medical operations and healthcare management:

  • Successfully led medical operations at a national healthcare provider, focusing on optimizing healthcare delivery and patient outcomes.
  • Oversaw the regional medical practices in key markets like Oregon and Northern California, ensuring consistent, quality medical care and service delivery.
  • Demonstrated exceptional leadership in building and mentoring a large medical provider team, enhancing team performance and patient care standards.
  • Implemented strategic company policies and protocols, significantly improving center efficiency, clinical quality, and patient experiences.
  • Played a pivotal role in financial planning and identifying growth opportunities for healthcare services, contributing to the organization’s overall success.
  • Served as a primary point of contact for regional employer clients and insurance companies, fostering strong relationships and effective communication.
  • Maintained high medical care and case management standards through diligent supervision, chart audits, and performance metric analysis.

Dr. Matt Feeley

Dr. Matt Feeley is a renowned figure in military aviation medicine, with a robust background in occupational and environmental medicine from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. 

  • Former Naval Flight Surgeon, exemplifying his expertise in aerospace medicine and commitment to military health.
  • Served with distinction at NSA Bahrain and HSM-37, earning the COMPACFLT Flight Surgeon of the Year award for exceptional medical service.
  • Supported U.S. Marines VMFA-323 aboard the USS Nimitz, MACG-38, and VMU-3, demonstrating versatility and leadership in diverse medical environments.
  • Broad interests and significant contributions in global health, corporate medicine, and aerospace medicine, highlighting his multidisciplinary approach.
  • Proven track record as a dynamic leader, well-equipped to face the challenges in a fractional medical directorship role with innovative solutions.

Dr. Glen Cheng

A physician-attorney with a dedication to healthcare innovation, informatics, and digital health.

  • Currently spearheads employee health protection and promotion within the VA Pittsburgh Health Care System.
  • Trained in residency at Harvard, achieving board certification as a physician; also a licensed patent attorney with experience as FDA regulatory counsel.
  • Co-founded Acceleromics, a consulting firm providing clinical and regulatory guidance to digital health startups.

Erin Davis

 Chief Clinical Officer at Work Health Solutions, certified in Adult-Gerontology (AGNP-C) and Athletic Training (ATC).

  • Oversees clinical operations and ensures high clinical standards across the company’s national field staff.
  • Former Manager of Clinic Operations and Occupational Health Nurse Practitioner at Stanford University Occupational Health Center (SUOHC).
  • Specialized in treating occupational injuries and illnesses, and provided medical surveillance and travel medicine consults at Stanford and SLAC National Accelerator Lab.
  • Dedicated to sports and occupational injury treatment and prevention.
  • Assistant Clinical Faculty at UCSF, mentoring students in clinical rotations within the Adult Gerontology and Occupational and Environmental Health Program.
  • Holds leadership roles as Treasurer and President Elect of the California El Camino Real Association of Occupational Health Nurses (CECRAOHN), affiliated with the American Association of Occupational Health Nurses (AAOHN).

Dr. Robert Goldsmith

Expert in benefits design and onsite innovation with specialization in the pharmaceutical industry.

  • Previous role as Executive Director for Employee Health at Novartis Services, Inc., leading health services and clinical support.
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  • Former private practice in internal medicine in Stamford, Connecticut, and Medical Director consultant for GTE Corporation.
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  • Holds a medical degree from Albert Einstein College, an MPH from the University of Connecticut, and completed training at Greenwich Hospital and Yale-New Haven Medical Center.
  • Assistant professor in the Department of Medicine at the Vagelos School of Medicine, Columbia University.
  • Serves as a team physician for high school athletes in Stamford.
  • Published works on occupational health risks, primary prevention, and exercise-induced asthma.