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Ergonomics can be seen as an expense when the economical benefits of improvements are not recognized or communicated.
Injuries are not caused by what workers do, but how they do it. This article focuses on how to make hospitals more ergonomically practical for staff.
This article uses a case study to demonstrate that an ergonomics initiative can be used to cost-justify system improvement projects-and improve overall ergonomic conditions in the process. If successful, such initiatives can elevate the status of ergonomics to that of bottom-line contributor.
When asked, most safety professionals assume or advocate that site-wide workplace stretching
programs help reduce work-related musculoskeletal disorders (WMSDs). However, among researchers and
some safety professionals, there are serious questions concerning the effectiveness of stretching programs
in reducing WMSDs or improving human performance.
Years ago, industry groups were arguing about the efficacy of ergonomics as a science. No one was discussing costs, but they were fighting over a science that England, Sweden, Australia and other countries have applied and known about for years.
With the economic challenges we all currently face, one thing is clear: we cannot afford not to invest in ergonomics. Fiscal responsibility means companies are choosing carefully the programs they implement and any initiative that can show measurable gains or a reduction in cost is likely to “weather the storm.” Demonstrating payback on safety programs is an ongoing challenge for many safety professionals.
This article provides a strategy for safety professionals to financially justify an investment in ergonomic equipment to their CEO’s.
Retaining a budget for ergonomics can be a challenge in any economic climate. While safety management professionals understand the consequences of neglecting ergonomics (e.g., increased workers’ compensation costs, lost productivity due to fatigue and injury, absenteeism,) those consequences may not be as obvious to executive management. Several best practices can be utilized to demonstrate the economic value of ergonomics as a cost-saving, productivity-enhancing tool that contributes significantly to a company’s bottom line.
The direct costs (DCs) associated with an accident /injury are relatively simple to calculate, as these are the expenses paid for personnel receiving treatment as a result of an accident/injury. Most often, these costs are documented through bills paid directly by the employer and/or their insurer. However, indirect costs (IDCs) associated with the same accident/injury are often not as easily identified and calculated. Therefore, the following case study is presented to outline a methodology to calculate the IDCs associated with accidents/injuries in the workplace.
In the following discussion, I propose to make a business case for ergonomics. Before I returned to graduate school, I was a practicing engineer for 10 years, six of those years as a plant engineer. One thing that came to mind as I gathered my thoughts for this article and reflected on some experiences is that when I was a plant engineer I was required by upper management to justify equipment purchases with a two- to three-year payback period. If I could not show that a project would pay for itself in two or three years, it would not be funded.
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