Most of us devote the majority of each day to sitting at our desk without a second thought as to any underlying hazards. After all, office work is safe, right. We’ve been using standard office equipment such as our desk, chair, keyboard, mouse, and monitor for years without filing a single incident report.
Yet, soft-tissue and joint discomfort account for loss time, turnover, absenteeism, and over-utilization of healthcare dollars among those who work in business finance, and underwriting. This includes: mortgage and loan processors; auditors and accountants; and analysts and fraud investigators.
Financial service employees are susceptible to injuries related to workplace stressors—known as musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs)—despite the perception of low-risk. As a result, work injuries related to MSDs should be considered not as a traditional safety loss, but as a part of improving organizational operations and workplace efficiency.
As with any other aspect of workplace management, leadership should be committed to a productive workforce. With early intervention, even if they’re experiencing numbness, tingling or burning sensations you can remedy the problem before it gets seriously expensive. We know that “one size does not fit all”, so it’s better to start with the proper fit on the first day of employment, rather than wait for symptoms to develop.
Office ergonomics should include all employees, both new and existing. Don’t assume that long-term employees understand ergonomic principles or that they’re working without discomfort.
Every employee can receive the benefit of an assessment. You’ll never know what an employee is experiencing unless you ask. It’s important to provide a method so individuals can understand their own risk factors and needs.
5 Steps to Savings
By using discomfort surveys to measure risk, attention can be given to those who need it, before an injury is reported.
Step 1: Asses individual risk
The assessment should begin with a confidential discomfort survey and online assessment. Once completed, it can be reviewed to prioritize risk and triaged to the most appropriate assessment method (virtual or on-site support).
Step 2: Train employees
Training material should be provided to show proper workstation fit, and stretching guidance.
Step 3: Identify solutions
A visit with the employee allows one to confirm the area(s) of concern and make recommendations for those with high or extreme levels of discomfort. We provide an in-depth on-site visit for those with high or extreme levels of discomfort or reported injuries.
Step 4: Track closure
Once the assessment is completed, a summary report should be available to act on. Typically, facilities management team members will review the recommendations and decide how to proceed, and plan for special accommodation as needed.
Step 5: Follow up
A key element to successful follow-up is to track and trend employee discomfort data. Consider data that includes:
- prevalence of discomfort;
- average and maximum discomfort;
- number of employees with high and extreme discomfort; and
- individual body part discomfort prevalence.
Measure it – Monitor it
Your program needs data that can prioritize further efforts including: (1) employees who are still experiencing high or extreme levels of discomfort, and (2) employees who have not participated in an ergonomic assessment.
Don’t have an ergonomics program in place yet? Contact Performance Ergonomics today and we can help you launch an ergonomics program.