June is National Safety Month! Every week, Neumann Safety Manager James Machamer will share industry insights to promote National Safety Month and help foster a safer work environment. This week’s topic is Ergonomics and Musculoskeletal Disorders (MSDs).
What is Ergonomics?
Ergonomics is a way of designing workstations, work practices, and workflow to accommodate the capabilities of workers. Ergonomic design reduces risk factors contributing to occupational ergonomic injuries and illnesses such as sprains, strains, and cumulative trauma disorders (CTDs).
If work is performed in awkward postures or with excessive effort, fatigue and discomfort may result. Under these conditions, damage can occur to muscles, tendons, ligaments, nerves, and blood vessels. Injuries of this type are known as musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs).
The increased frequency and cost of ergonomic injuries and illnesses affect all industries and occupations, with manufacturing, retail, and service industries taking the hardest hit. These injuries include carpal tunnel syndrome, tendinitis, and MSDs. When reviewing the OSHA 300 Log, approximately 30%-50% of recordable injuries are related to ergonomics!
Safety Tips on Musculoskeletal Disorders by Neumann BrosMSDs increase the cost of doing business directly and indirectly. Direct prices include medical services and higher workers’ compensation premiums. For example, the cost to close an ergonomic-related workers’ compensation claim can average more than $9,000. Indirect costs include employee turnover, absenteeism, and retraining, while productivity, quality, and employee morale suffer. Estimates indicate that the indirect costs associated with MSDs can be 4 to 10 times higher than direct costs. Preventing ergonomic risk factors in the workplace often costs a fraction of a workers’ compensation claim. In smaller companies, one ergonomic-related claim can mean the difference between being above or below the profit margin.