In this unit lesson, we discuss the benefits of implementing an ergonomics program. One of the most compelling reasons for the application of ergonomics is injury prevention. However, regardless of the moral and ethical arguments for injury prevention, businesses do not always find it cost effective. In your opinion, what is the best way to bridge the gap between the cost of an ergonomics program and an increase in production/decrease in injury rates?
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In nearly every job I have worked I have had this same debate: the cost of implementing an ergonomic program vs. the cost of not implementing one. In my opinion when organizations skip out on investing in employees health through the implementation of an ergonomic program they are just sealing their own fate and will eventually end up paying the price through occupational injury/illness’ that could have been avoided with the implementation of a comprehensive ergonomic program. One way I have attempted to bridge this gap is through trialling different programs or software without fully investing. I have used humantech- which is a video based software that identifies risk based on videos you take of employees performing tasks such as packing of lifting. When you can work with vendors to provide a free trial, sometimes the results you can get from this trial will be enough to convince management to make the investment in a program. One additional technique is to prepare and present on the cost savings of avoiding an accident. Employers tend to focus on the initial investment and fail to be proactive- when in retrospect they may end up paying the same or more reactively. Making these numbers clear is a sure way to get management buy in. Too often do organizations fail to look at an ergonomic program as an investment. A successful program will also tend to improve increase of productivity as well as an increase in job satisfaction for employees.