"In the current difficult economic times, it has become more important than ever to look at how we can reduce costs in business while improving productivity and efficiency. Although ergonomic changes can initially cost a company some money, the savings in improved productivity and in eliminating lost work time due to injuries can be well worth the initial price.
In fall 2003, the Journal of the American Medicine Association published the results of a study on the effect of common pains on work productivity. Over 28,000 working adults in the United States participated in phone interviews. Researchers found the most common pain conditions resulting in lost productive time were headaches (5.4%), back pain (3.2%), arthritis pain (2.0%) and other musculoskeletal pain (2.0%). On the average, those reporting lost time due to a pain condition lost 4.6 hours per week. Surprisingly, lost productivity was reported as decreased performance at work rather than time spent off work recovering. The researchers estimated that this reduced productivity cost businesses $61.2 billion each year.
In an article published in the June 2004 edition of Canadian Occupational Health Magazine, Dr. Heather Tick, clinical director for the RSI Clinic in Toronto, recommended a proactive approach to treating the lost productivity by fixing the problems in the workplace contributing to pain. The article highlights a success story of a manufacturing company that used ergonomics to reduce injuries. In addition to reducing injuries and improving productivity, the ergonomic improvements also eliminated work place fines that had been levied on the company for excessive injuries and enabled the company to receive refunds for having injury rates below industry standards." (Continued via Bella Online, Marji Hajic) [Ergonomics Resources]