02-672-3189 ellenbuckstein@me.com

The Cost of Reaction vs. Prevention

Clients who call for an ergonomics risk assessment have often experienced recurring episodes of pain.

Sometimes it’s acute back pain that has cost them a week or more of work, on more than one occasion. In between those episodes they have suffered from chronic low grade back pain and sciatica. They are terrified of the next episode. They are vaguely aware that prolonged sitting is no good, but the nature of their work involves a lot of computer time.

Or it could be their neck when pain prevents them from turning their head to the right or left to speak with someone sitting next to them.

Would you make any changes to your workstation if they were free?

Often, it’s excruciating upper limb pain that is the cause of lost work time. Not everybody has kids who are willing to do their typing for them during after hours, but people resort to this when they have no choice.

When I meet a client, there is usually a very large gap between their awareness of the importance of good ergonomics and their current habits and setup at work. Nobody wants an injury to develop that will affect their productivity or ability to work, but most people aren’t doing anything to prevent it.

Good Ergonomics is Good Economics

Fully one third of all workplace illness and injury reports are work related musculoskeletal disorders (WRMSD’s) according to U.S. Bureau of Labor statistics.

This refers to injuries that develop gradually through overuse of the musculoskeletal system. A WRMSD is an injury that is worsened by the task or environment. Although the statistic includes factory ergonomics, poor office ergonomics are often a preventable cause of WRMSD’s. The more you keep doing the damaging activity without making any changes, the worse the injury gets.

Ergonomic Injuries have a higher cost than other workplace injuries when measured in terms of lost productivity and absenteeism.

The economic impact of WRMSD’s in the United States is estimated at over $50 billion per year. OSHA (The Occupational Safety and Health Administration agency of the U.S. Department of Labor) claims that “For years, many employers have known that good ergonomics is often good economics. And those employers have not only saved their workers from injury and potential misery, but they have saved millions of dollars in the process.”

Warning Signs

There are usually early warning signs of ergonomic injury but many individuals ignore them. Warning signs that you are on your way to a debilitating injury include:

  • Reluctance to do a task
  • Tiredness and irritability at the end of the day
  • Making adaptations to furniture and equipment
  • Use of splints while working
  • Use of painkillers to keep on working

You are your own Best Investment

You or your employer have already invested money in office infrastructure and equipment. Now you need to be able to continue working.

Are unpleasantness and discomfort (the precursors of pain and injury) preventing you from doing your job? Can you afford to let a musculoskeletal injury affect your livelihood? Would you earn more money if you weren’t in pain?

Would you make any changes to your workstation if they were free?

You are your business’s most important asset.  The time for you to identify and assess ergonomic risk factors in the workplace is before they affect your productivity or cost you lost work days.

Contact me for an ergonomic assessment today, and decrease your ergonomic risk profile while increasing your productivity.