One challenge that small and large businesses have in common is being able to afford the strategies that they believe will lead them to achieving their business goals. Certainly, one of those strategies is to retain and protect valued employees by ensuring their health and safety at work. The costs associated with workplace injuries, employee lost time, WCB and disability claims far outweigh the costs of implementing some proactive ergonomics.
Here are some cost effective ergonomic considerations that will help your staff stay safe and will help you stay within your budget:
1. Provide ergonomic screening assessments and accommodation for all new employees to ensure the proper set up of furniture and accessories and to prevent future musculoskeletal injuries. This could be a simple checklist tool that outlines ergonomic risk factors for chair, desk and accessory set up and include commonly recommended items for quick implementation.
2. Provide ergonomic education to new and existing employees to promote healthy working behaviors, proper body mechanics and will teach them how to recognize symptoms of MSI's, so early intervention can be introduced before their condition becomes chronic.
3. Choose task chairs that accommodate most of your employees, offering adjustable seat depths and backrest heights. For the very short, very tall and very wide, there are some chairs that you can order different sized seat pans and back rests to mix and match as your employees require. One example is the Global Tritek Ergo Select.
4. Create an Ergonomic Solutions Catalogue for your workplace that includes products from your office supply and furniture vendors, as a go-to list of commonly prescribed ergonomic solutions. This will make it easy to quickly implement the solutions when ergonomic risk factors have been identified.
5. Provide Ergonomic Assessor Training for designated employee/s to conduct the ergonomic assessments in house, saving on professional consultation fees associated with each ergonomic assessment that will be required.
6. Get connected with social media; namely Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter, using the hashtag #ergonomics, read blogs and evidenced based articles on ergonomics to keep current with best practices in the field.
If you are part of a large business, creating an ergonomics committee using your WPHS group is a great way to get the topic of ergonomics on an agenda. If you are part of a small business, appointing an Ergonomic Coordinator would be the first step to creating accountability and designating some of the above duties. Regardless of the size of the company, the goal is the same; spend as little as possible and protect your employees as much as you can.
If you have some cost-effective ergonomic methods that have been successful in your workplace, please share!
Marnie Courage, OT, Reg(MB)