The topic of ergonomics seems to be popular right now, especially in the workplace. This allows opportunities for exploring some viable ergonomic changes that can be implemented in the workplace. Approximately $1 out of every $3 spent in workers compensation is related to a Musculoskeletal disorder (MSD) due to insufficient ergonomic protection 1 methods to reduce exposure. This is something with which employers are becoming more and more familiar. However employers aren’t the only ones who should be considering ergonomic assessments. Ergonomic assessments can be beneficial for employers, attorneys, physicians and adjusters. There are two types of ergonomic assessments with two different perspectives:
- What is it? A work station evaluation is used to determine changes needed or recommended in order to reduce a workers risk for injury.
- When should you request this? Complaints of pain by workers in a particular area, increased injuries in the area, observation of workers wearing self-made splints or braces, chair pillows or other workstation modifications, or a suspicion that the work environment needs change.
- What will happen? The evaluator will examine the workstation or job task and make recommendations for change and reasoning why those are important.
- How is this done? The evaluator will use set standards, guidelines, and clinical knowledge in order to develop a risk assessment for the position
- What is it? A causality evaluation is used to help determine if a work activity, posture, etc. could have contributed to or caused an injury.
- When should you request this? When the injury complaints are chronic in nature, when injury complaints seem inconsistent with the job performed, when the person complaining is a relative new hire. There are many other reasons to consider requesting a causality evaluation: for example, if you want to have a better understanding of the inherent job risks as they contributed to the injury.
- What will happen? The evaluator will look at the movement, postures, work history, medical history and work environment of the employee.
- How is this done? The evaluator will use set standards, guidelines, and observation in order to develop a risk assessment for the position.
- What is the end result? The evaluator will determine how likely the worker’s injury was caused by their job and make recommendations to decrease this risk in the future.
There are many benefits of ergonomic assessments including a significant decrease in workers compensation costs, decreased risk of injury, and increased employer awareness of potential issues. If you would like more information on ergonomic assessments or to schedule an assessment, please give us a call at Job Ready Services (919)256-1400.
-Submitted by Caitlyn Turner, ATC, Technician II at Job Ready Services, LLC
Photo by Glenn Batuyong and used via Creative Commons License.
1 Jeffress, Charles. Statement before subcommittee of employment, safety, and training. 2000.