Like all other aspects of health and safety, ergonomic issues need to be addressed as early as possible to limit the outcome of occupational diseases and injuries. There are significant benefits to ergonomic interventions, such as absenteeism, ergonomic risk assessments, musculoskeletal ‘hot-spots’ and other occupational health issues.
The most common reasons for not including any form of ergonomic intervention is that it is deemed expensive! However, early interventions (during designing for a facility, or maintaining where work will be done) has a number of benefits. Studies completed at the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries completed (reported by a review of 250 ergonomic case studies to reveal the impact on business goals on savings, productivity and quality. Table 1 indicates a summary of the findings, which indicate the sample size of each case study, and in terms of the findings, with an increase of 25% in productivity, 48% decrease in labour turnover, a 75% decrease in lost workdays, and a 58% decrease in absenteeism. What is more significant is that the average payback or return on investment period was 7 months.
Table 1. Average findings of 250 ergonomic case studies on business goals.