Addressing ergonomics in the workplace can reduce the rate of employee injuries. Many companies that have high rates of musculoskeletal injuries and other disorders have poor track records of supplying proper equipment and training employees on how to avoid injuries. Proactively addressing ergonomic issues protects workers from injury and boosts productivity and efficiency.
The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way many industries operate. In particular, it has resulted in a sharp increase in the number of work-from-home employees. However, the speed at which lockdowns occurred also meant that many workers were required to work-from-home without proper chairs, desks, etc. to perform job-related duties.
With nearly 85 million Americans working at home, this meant many workers were suddenly cast adrift into unfamiliar work environments. Prior to the pandemic, only about 7.5 million people worked from home. The sudden shift resulted in dramatic declines in productivity, increased complaints of physical ailments, and drastic reductions in morale.
Companies that addressed these issues and engaged their employees to find solutions are reaping the rewards. Gradually, productivity is increasing, morale is improving, and physical ailments, including work-related musculoskeletal injuries, are becoming less frequent.
It is well-documented that investing in proper equipment and thorough training goes a long way towards reducing workplace injury rates. When everyone, from customer service personnel to line workers and office personnel, has the proper equipment to perform their job, they are much less likely to suffer a work-related injury.
Time and time again, OSHA data and other metrics show that employers who invest in training have employees that consciously take steps to protect themselves and others from injury. Similarly, when employees have the proper tools, they are less likely to suffer an injury by attempting to use a poorly designed tool or a tool that is not properly adapted to the completion of the required tasks.
Focusing attention on ergonomics promotes workplace safety and a positive work environment. The more support and information workers have access to, the more engaged they are in their work and their role in protecting themselves and others from work-related injuries. Over time, this results in fewer workers’ compensation claims, fewer days away from work due to injuries, fewer fatalities, and a healthier, stronger business model that benefits both the employee and the employer.