Performing an ergonomic evaluation when someone is already injured is not an ideal place to start. With the average cost of one ergonomic-related injury at approximately $32,500, being proactive is more important than ever. Companies can cut down drastically on the workers compensation and injury rates by preventing an injury from occurring in the first place.
How can you help to prevent ergonomic injury to yourself and others at your workplace? Try these three steps:
Step 1: Get Support from Leadership
Begin by addressing the importance of ergonomics by presenting OSHA’s Ergonomics: The Study of Work publication with a supervisor or with Human Resources, and show how preventative measures can reduce injuries, increase comfort and performance, and lessen company expenses. Encourage leadership to include ergonomics as a company goal and criteria for all departments, and establish a budget for preventative equipment.
Step 2: Form an Ergonomic Committee
In conjunction with Leadership, form an Ergonomic Committee that will create a program to comply with Federal OSHA guidelines, and establish policies and procedures for preventative ergonomic evaluations, necessary ergonomic equipment, injuries, follow-up and reporting. The Committee will also provide employee ergonomic education, including posture re-training, stretching and movement breaks, and encourage employees to point out potential hazards.
Step 3: Follow Through and Follow Up
Utilize the policies and procedures put in place by your Ergonomic Committee to evaluate your own needs and the needs of co-workers. Implement the needed equipment and reevaluate its effectiveness. Then, establish lists of effective equipment as company guidelines for future needs. Finally, produce reports validating the cost-effectiveness of early prevention and present them to your Ergonomic Committee and Leadership for future programs.