Ergonomic investments: Good for business… and your employees, too
Is your organization looking to reduce workers’ compensation claims, increase efficiency and improve employee satisfaction at your workplace?
Many costly work-related injuries are due postural stresses, repetitive movements and fatigue resulting from repeated stresses and strains on the body. Incorporating small, but significant ergonomic changes can increase efficiency and employee satisfaction, creating a work environment that is safer and more comfortable for your workforce.
Low-cost, high-impact changes
Ergonomic process changes can improve your workplace environment significantly, reducing the incidence of costly injuries and workers’ compensation claims. Improving a repetitive work-related task so it encourages good posture, less exertion and fewer motions, can make a significant difference — without costing a lot of money.
Improving your workplace’s ergonomic environment can reap other benefits, too. It can boost employee morale and productivity. Employees will take note, especially if they leave their jobs each day feeling less fatigued than before the changes were made. Ergonomic investments show employees that you value them — specifically their health and wellbeing — and that you are willing to invest in a safe, healthy workplace.
Creating an ergonomic-focused workplace should be considered a sound investment — instead of an expenditure
On the flip side, maintaining a poor ergonomic work environment can lead to frustrated, fatigued employees who are less comfortable (and less productive) and unable to do their best work.
A homegrown success story
For about 20 years, Aurora’s ergonomic specialists have partnered with hundreds of Wisconsin employers, assisting businesses and industries of all sizes. With more than 32,000 of its own employees, Aurora has incorporated ergonomic solutions into its own workforce with great success.
For example, several years ago radiologic technologists at Aurora St. Luke’s Medical Center in Milwaukee were experiencing injuries at an alarming rate, resulting in more than $200,000 annually in workers’ compensation and lost productivity costs. A thorough analysis of the portable x-ray process concluded that the root cause of these injuries was ergonomically unsound lifting practices.1
A combination of process improvements and implementation of ergonomic principles resulted in a new, safer procedure that essentially eliminated caregiver injuries associated with performing portable x-rays. These process changes improved departmental productivity by 18% and yielded cost-avoidance savings of around $200,000.
Customized ergonomic assessments
Aurora Health Care offers employers ergonomic assessments that focus on creating a productive, yet comfortable workspace, while keeping an eye on costs.
Ergonomic specialists can evaluate your employees’ workstations and provide innovative, cost-effective recommendations for changes, including:
• Chair support
• Desktop organization
• Lighting to reduce eyestrain and neck pain
• Keyboard, monitor and telephone placement
Practical solutions for real-life problems
Aurora’s specialists use a combination of anthropometrics, biomechanics, physiology and psychology to determine the ideal solution to your particular situation. Customized worksite assessments are available throughout Aurora’s service area in southeastern Wisconsin.
One size doesn’t fit all
Aurora’s ergonomic assessments are tailored to:
• Your organization’s specific environment
• Your employees’ needs
• The exact requirements of the tasks employees are performing
Post-assessment reports include:
• Instructions on proper body mechanics and specific stretching exercises
• Directions on how to maintain an ergonomically friendly workstation
• Recommendations for modifying current equipment
• Options for increasing workstation productivity and employee comfort
It takes professional expertise and in-depth knowledge to improve the ergonomic environment of a workplace. Successful companies continue to integrate ergonomic principles into their operations because of the proven benefits. They know it’s the right thing to do — for both their bottom line and their employees, who remain their most valuable asset.
1 Loose, Robert. “A Better Way to Perform Portable X-rays.”; Radiology Management; Jan./Feb. 2011, pp.30-37.
Jennifer Seidl, PT, is the director of Work Specialty Rehabilitation Services, part of Aurora Employer Solutions. To learn more, visit aurora.org/employersolutions