Selling ergonomics. It can be one of the most difficult aspects of ergonomics – other than assessing and analyzing the ergonomic risk, but that’s a whole other post! This post shares some simple, direct and helpful information that can help you educate, inform and win clients and colleagues about the value of ergonomics so you can get where you want to be whether it be personal or corporate ergonomic initiatives.
Surprising Ergonomic Facts
1. There Is A Link Between Work Exposures And MSIs
Obviously the more exposure to risk of any kind, the more susceptibility of a negative outcome. The same is true with musculoskeletal injuries (aka MSIs) and ergonomic risk. And, this is especially true for heavy computer users! The common ergonomic risks are repetitive actions, forceful exertions, and awkward postures and you can find more information on these specific risks here. Once recognized and evaluated, ergonomic principles can be applied to reduce exposures to these risks as part of a comprehensive program to solve MSI concerns. Based on this research, approximately 1 million people take time away from work because of repetitive motion or overexertion to treat or recover from musculoskeletal pain or functional loss! Additionally, this research shows that overexertion injuries and disorders, such as low back pain, tendonitis, and carpal tunnel syndrome, are the leading cause of work-related disabilities and Workers’ Compensation costs in the United States and other industrialized nations.
2. ‘Ergonomic’ Type of Injuries Are The Most Common Injury Type
According to the workers compensation board statistics (2015), 40% of all reported injuries are musculoskeletal injuries (MSIs). MSIs were reported as far back as 1990 as being the single largest class of work-related health problems in the Ontario (province in Canada) workforce. This still remains true today and this spans in the majority of jurisdictions throughout the world.
3. Low Back Injury Is Extremely Common
There has been estimates that back pain has effected up to 80% of the entire world population. Low-back pain is a leading cause of work absenteeism in Canada and other industrialized countries. The good thing is that most workers with acute low-back pain (i.e. pain for up to six weeks) return to work following a relatively straightforward path. However, some workers do not.
4. An Ergonomics Program Can Reduce Injury Frequency And Pain
Ergonomics programs can reduce frequent and severe pain among office workers with musculoskeletal injuries. This study assessed the effectiveness of an office ergonomics training program for computer users. Worker compensation costs and injury rates were examined before and after implementation of an ergonomics program. The researchers found that the average cost per claim was considerably reduced ($1553 in the post- versus $15,141 in the pre-intervention period). The value in ergonomics programs is their early identification, recognition, and countermeasures for injury indicators and ergonomic risk factors. Not surprisingly, since the injury cost was decreased so significantly, the average injury rate also was reduced in the post- (6.94 per 1000 employees) versus pre-intervention period (16.8 per 1000 employees).
5. Resistance Training Can Help With Upper Extremity Injuries
This systematic review found strong evidence that resistance training can prevent upper extremity musculoskeletal injuries. Resistance training improves muscular strength and endurance by exercising a muscle or muscle group against some form external resistance. This can be weights at the gym or just using your own body weight. The most promising resistance programs had durations between 20 and 60 minutes spread between one and multiple days per week. Workplaces can help prevent and manage musculoskeletal injuries of the shoulders, arms and hands by allowing workers to do resistance training on the job.