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Would you like to reduce your workers’ compensation and health care costs, improve productivity and decrease staff turnover and absenteeism? Ergonomic Assessments may be the answer.

Really – Ergonomics?

Musculoskeletal injuries or disorders (MSDs) affect the muscles, tendons, joints and soft tissues of the body. Statistics published by Safe Work Australia report MSDs accounted for 57% of all serious claims in 2016-2017, with ‘body stressing’ – accounting for 40% of all serious claims. These are high statistics - the issue warrants attention.

Integrating ergonomic assessments into your workplace safety plan can be simple:

  • Integrate an individual ergonomic assessment into your induction planning for new employees. Invest in prevention by ensuring the environment and tools matched to the physical capacities of your new employee. Begin their employment with a strong message of safety and prevention of injury as your priority.
  • Plan ergonomic assessments in sync with an office re-vamp – especially when you invest in new equipment for workers. Ensure your equipment meets Australian Standards and fits each individual employees’ capacities and limitations.
  • Empower your employees by gaining regular feedback about their work environment and the equipment they use. Respond to this by engaging a qualified assessor to provide workplace solutions training around these issues.
  • Respond to a report of pain or symptoms by requesting an ergonomic assessment to manage and minimise further costs associated with down time, absenteeism and injury.

 The Cost of Poor Ergonomics

For an injured employee an MSD injury causes pain, suffering and lifestyle setbacks. For an employer, costs of MSD claims and time lost at the workplace are significant. The average time lost for a serious injury claim in Australia is 5.8 working weeks. The average compensation paid for a serious claim has risen to $11,500 (Safe Work Australia, Australian Workers Compensation Statistics 2016-17).

Getting Ergonomics Right Within a Changing Workplace

Safe workplace management has become complex. We are adopting flexible workplace policies. A third of all employed persons are working from home in their main job, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics and ‘hot desking’ within larger office spaces has become more prevalent. Employees using computer workstations need to be well educated on their position in relation to their workstation, and how equipment is used.

The Importance of Assessment and Education

An ergonomic assessment is a proactive approach to prevention – rather than a reactive and more costly reaction to injury. Preventing injury is a win-win situation for employee and employer. Down time is avoided or minimised. Pain and suffering are avoided. Work efficiency is maintained and supported. And premiums are lowered with decreased claims.

Altius Group provides Ergonomic Assessments and intervention services to assist to create an optimal match between employees, their environment and the equipment they use. We conduct simple ergonomic assessments to more comprehensive assessments where pain or injury are present. All types of workplaces can be assessed, and changes or adjustments are recommended in line with ergonomic principles.

Rehabilitation Services Occupational Therapist, Diana Chambers, has a long history of working with employers to assist to prevent injury and manage rehabilitation programs. She says, “I usually find by the time people seek the help of a health professional, their symptoms are well advanced. In many instances their problems could have been avoided if they’d known what to do from the start. Well-timed strategies, such as ergonomics training during induction, or trouble shooting an ergonomic challenge, can be very effective in resolving symptoms”.

Altius Group conducts training workshops, tailored to suit the needs of each workplace, to empower employees to foster an ergonomics ethos. In addition to conducting Ergonomic Assessments across a range of organisations, we also conduct Home Office Assessments. For further information please contact us.