Monday, August 29, 2011

Why should businesses invest in ergonomics?

Central Wisconsin Business 22 August 2011 - the Raikowski column

Statistics from the article:

* The Occupational Health and Safety Administration indicates that MSDs account for one-third of the 1.7 million occupational injuries and illnesses in the U.S. every year and represents its largest work-related injury and illness issue
* Including workers' compensation costs and factors such as restricted duty time, reduced worker productivity, and diminished work product and quality, OSHA estimates that MSDs annually cost the U.S. workforce $54 billion.
* The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health reviewed hundreds of scientific studies. The estimated cost savings associated with averting a single musculoskeletal disorder-related workers' compensation claim is a whopping $22,546. This total includes the value of lost production, medical costs, insurance administrative costs, and indirect costs to employers.

The FOH cites examples of employers reporting positive returns on their ergonomics program investments including:

* Between 1992 and 1996, the New York Times reported that it reduced its workers' compensation claims by 84 percent, reduced lost work time by 75 percent and decreased lost workdays by 91 percent as a result of its ergonomics program.
* Intracorp reported that a public service company with 330 employees realized a return of $7.35 for every $1 invested in its ergonomics program.
* Northwest Aerospace Company realized a 10- to 15-percent increase in productivity (a benefit of greater than $200,000) following implementation of an ergonomics program.
* Jerome Foods Inc. reported saving $3 for every $1 invested in an ergonomics program.

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