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Ergonomic Workstations Are Proven to Prevent Workplace Injuries
While organizations should always look for ways to minimize workplace-related injuries to protect their employees’ health, manage costs and comply with regulatory requirements, recent data from The Occupational Safety and Health Association (OSHA) shows that office-related injuries have actually increased significantly in recent years. As a result, OSHA has recently become much more aggressive in enforcing higher citation classifications and enhanced penalties for workplace-related injuries.
To avoid these penalties and address potential workplace injuries, a number of different companies have recently conducted various studies to assess the issues and possible solutions. The results overwhelmingly show that ergonomic workplace solutions can contribute considerably to reducing the frequency and cost of workplace-related injuries, and as a result, improve employee morale and even increase productivity.
Ergonomics Case Study – Dow Chemical
Dow Chemical recognized the cost of workplace injuries. Some experts within their office found data from the CDC showing that ergonomics injuries cause up to $20 million a year in workman compensation claims, absenteeism and reduced productivity.
They conducted a study to determine the effectiveness of ergonomic solutions designed to reduce workplace injuries. The head of Environmental, Health and Safety (EH&S) for Specialty Chemicals for the company stated that the study provided very insightful research that proved ergonomics can be very effective. Their study showed that ergonomic changes reduced the prevalence of injuries by over half. Here are some key benefits that the study highlighted:
- Only 30% of ergonomic injuries resulted in lost productivity after the changes were implemented, which was a significant decline from the period before the changes were made.
- The ergonomic solutions that the company adapted helped reduce the number of overall injuries nearly 90%.
- The company is confident that the cost savings would be higher if additional ergonomic furniture was purchased.
- The data shows that ergonomic workstations can both decrease the prevalence and severity of worker injuries.
Knoll Study Shows Need for Ergonomic Technology for Generation Y Employees
Knoll Workplace Research conducted a meta-analysis of a variety of other studies on ergonomic injuries and solutions. They found that ergonomic problems are probably already a concern for many workers in their mid-30s to mid-40s. They said that the problem was clearly growing, but cited compelling research showing that using ergonomic desks and workstations can be extremely effective. Knoll urges companies to introduce systems that can help reduce these problems.
“While ergonomic challenges are increasing, there are also emerging opportunities to reduce injuries,” the authors wrote. They stated that using furniture that helps employees maintain a neutral posture is one of the best ways to reduce such injuries.
This study is particularly encouraging for companies that have a large number of millennial and Generation Y employees. These employees are particularly worried about their health. According to an article in the Huffington Post, even workers in their earlier 20s are worried about the bad workplace related habits that they are developing, specifically those hunched over their computers for hours at a time. The Knoll study shows that introducing ergonomic workstations can ease the fears of these young adults, which is important since they many of them will be spending their entire careers in front of their computers.
Ergonomics Seating Study from University of Indiana
A team of researchers from the University of Indiana sought to understand the importance of ergonomic seating. They studied several different chairs to determine which ones tended to provide the best ergonomic benefits. Their research found that the following features appeared to reduce the cost of ergonomic injuries in the workplace:
- Height adjustability
- Lumbar support
- Reclining features
- Clearance room
- Armrest support
- Back support
The results of this study should be useful for companies that are trying to complement ergonomic workstations with ergonomically designed chairs.
Deficiencies of Computer Workstation Design
Two research professors from Sultan Qaboos University in Oman conducted a study on the impact of computer workstation designs on employees. Their study found that 53% of employees using a poorly designed computer workstation suffered from eye strain. Nearly half of those individuals also suffered from back or neck pain. The research found that employees using an ergonomic desk or workstation were noticeably less likely to suffer from that pain.
Based on conclusions of the study, here are some of the changes that employers should make:
- Replacing bent and unsupported chairs with chairs that better fit employees’ bodies.
- Removing office tables and using ergonomic computer workstations instead.
- Using workstations that are positioned to minimize glare and making sure that computer screens do not face windows.
Estimating the Effectiveness of Ergonomics Interventions through Case Studies: Implications for Predictive Cost-Benefit Analysis
Three researchers from the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries studied the effectiveness of ergonomic workstations and the overall returns that organizations can expect. They evaluated a number of different case studies and found that the research seemed to consistently show that ergonomic workstations can significantly reduce costs of absenteeism, medical claims and lost worker productivity. They showed that over three quarters of the organizations investing in ergonomic solutions broke even on their initial investment in less than a year.
Studies Prove Benefits of Ergonomic Workstations
Many experts have debated the benefits of ergonomic furniture over the past decade. The growing body of research on the topic clearly shows that ergonomics appears to be a very worthwhile investment for companies trying to reduce the cost and prevalence of worker injuries. To learn more about Omnirax’s ergonomic and custom design built methodology, please connect with David Holland, our Vice President of Design and Customer Sales – email@example.com.Topics: Office