Why Ergonomics Should Be A Priority For Small Businesses
To a lot of small-business owners, ergonomics may seem like something the other guys have to worry about — the big corporations, the ones with large HR departments and risk-management strategies — and certainly not something that matters to you. However, before you write off office ergonomics as a luxury concern that doesn’t matter on a small scale, ask yourself: Would you like to lower worker’s compensation costs? Does boosting productivity matter to you? How could saving money make a difference to your business bottom line? The fact is, because of what a significant impact it makes, ergonomics is much more than a luxury; it’s a necessity — and for new companies, it could even be the determining factor between failure and success.
Why exactly is ergonomics so important? What do you need to know about it? To help answer these questions, here’s a look at three of the top reasons why your business needs to make ergonomics a top priority:
- Ergonomics Saves Money. Nobody has to tell you that workers’ compensation costs can be a major strain on a business — but did you know that, according to OSHA, musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) represent $1 out of every $3 spent on workers’ compensation, with annual costs reaching $15 to $20 billion? Indeed, work-related MSDs are the most common and prevalent occupational health hazard facing the nation today, stemming directly from inadequate ergonomic protection. This means that choosing not to pay attention to ergonomics is, in fact, setting your business up for heavy expenses, near or far, down the line. What’s more, failing to account for ergonomics in the workplace can make your workers less productive and more frequently absent — increasing costs even further. If, on the other hand, a business takes ergonomic improvements seriously, it often boosts productivity by 10 to 15 percent, according to HR.BLR.com. In order to reduce the expenses of medical treatment, prescriptions and insurance premiums in business, ergonomics is vital.
- Ergonomics Helps You Retain Workers. It doesn’t matter what their size, companies that don’t think about how to retain their employees usually become companies with high-turnover rates. Along those lines, one way to support your workers in the office environment is through thoughtful ergonomics planning. By providing comfortable, supportive chairs and office furniture, you show your staff that you care about their well-being, and seeing that makes them much more likely to stick around. Plus, ergonomics does more than boost morale; it also reduces the amount of pain that individuals feel in the workplace, which is good for everyone.
- Ergonomics Saves Time and Boosts Productivity. Office design is about more than aesthetics — when ergonomics are considered, workers are able to be as productive as possible, equipped to get work done in the shortest amount of time. In fact, according to research from Deepesh Desai, CPE, ergonomics engineer with Humantech Inc., “Seconds can be shaved off a work shift every time a worker can avoid reaching for tools or taking unnecessary steps. That saved time either can be used to create more product or put toward another task. It then can be converted into a dollar value and calculated as ROI.”
Clearly, ergonomics is more than just a safety precaution, it is a valuable tool for saving money, reducing turnover and lowering the amount of wasted time in your business processes. With the right tools — from workstations made to fit workers’ bodies to job hazard analysis — as well as regular reassessments, even small businesses can help their workers have better posture, fewer injuries, less exertion, more productivity and more satisfaction in the workplace. No matter what your industry, it’s vital to take ergonomics seriously. Look into developing a comprehensive ergonomics program today!