According to the National Safety Council, a worker is injured on the job in the US every seven seconds. In 2017 alone, more than 111,000 such injuries required time to recover away from work, per the NSC. Looking at the numbers behind the situation of it all, companies spend upwards of $94 billion annually on various costs associated with workers’ compensation. That number is rather staggering, isn’t it? Well, it’s the real impact of poor ergonomics and less than stellar material handling procedures. Let’s look at why.
Manual material handling tasks are stressful on the bodies of workers. The strenuous lifting work fatigues the musculoskeletal system — when fatigue outruns recovery, it creates a muscle imbalance that can eventually lead to musculoskeletal disorders and ailments. Now, what is a musculoskeletal disorder? Musculoskeletal Disorders or MSDs are injuries and disorders that affect the human body’s movement or musculoskeletal system (i.e. muscles, tendons, ligaments, nerves, discs, blood vessels, etc.) They’re often caused by ergonomic factors such as task repetition, forceful exertions, and repetitive awkward postures. Some of these injuries are serious and can negatively impact a worker‘s health significantly.
According to the Material Handling Institute, there are more than 380,600 cases annually of ergonomic injuries leading to missed days. Industries with the highest incident rates include warehousing and manufacturing, where a lot of material handling tasks are routinely performed. That translates into 32% of all workers’ compensation claims being attributed to material handling activities.
On top of that, injuries caused by poor ergonomics statistically impact older people more than young people. And it is a known fact that America’s workforce is ageing; the average age of workers is 46 today.
To reduce the chances of injury, an organization should actively practice engineering and administrative controls in order to improve the ergonomic structure of the workplace. This can be done in various ways:
- Use a device like an air hoist or air balancer to lift and reposition heavy objects to limit force exertion
- Use a device like articulating jib to reach inaccessible places to avoid injuries due to awkward posture
- Properly use and maintain pneumatic and power tools
- Redesign tools to enable neutral postures.
With adequate measures to improve ergonomics, you can prevent injuries and save money on compensation claims. Here at Conco, we can help you do just that with our rage or operator based material handling equipment. Check out our products here.