Workers in office and industrial settings can face a number of physical factors potentially putting their health at risk. From stresses and strains to the repetition of an activity, many businesses are increasingly relying on ergonomics to minimize these risks.
But what is ergonomics? Put simply, it’s the science of fitting a job to a worker, rather than attempting to fit a worker to a job.
And improving ergonomics can have a big effect on the bottom line. The National Safety Council (NSC) says intervention before injury increases safety and profits. The NSC pegged the potential injury-prevention return on investment as high as $6 for every $1 spent.
Risk assessments identify potentially dangerous work environments and possible solutions. An employee frequently bending to the floor, for instance, may mitigate possible injury through the introduction of a waist-high bench. Pressure on joints and muscles is reduced, along with injury risk.
The Occupational Health and Safety Administration also stresses the importance of ergonomic assessments. OSHA estimates a third of worker injury and illness cases are musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) and says, “ergonomics helps lessen muscle fatigue, increases productivity and reduces the number and severity of work-related MSDs.”
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