Business Owner’s Responsibility to Ergonomic Assessments at Your Employees’ Home Workplace

When we consider employee injuries, it’s natural to think of construction and manufacturing. While it’s true these industries have a high risk of accidents and injuries, it’s important to remember that all businesses are at risk. Even office workers face getting injured. When you are considering your workers’ compensation, it is essential to take your ergonomic risk factors into account. After all, office workers often report musculoskeletal pain and injuries such as lower back pain and wrist injuries. In many cases, these injuries are a result of poorly constructed work stations.

 

As an employer, you must ensure everyone is working in a safe environment. During COVID-19, you may have been forced to send employees home to work and they may not be in the office as frequently as before. As a result, you have less input and control over the ergonomics of their work environment. However, that does not shift the responsibility entirely. Supplying your team with the right tools to improve their wellbeing at work and acting on an ergonomic assessment helps to support the health of your team and keeps your workers’ compensation claims in check.

 

What is an Ergonomic Assessment?

An ergonomic assessment is an objective measure of the risk factors in your workplace that could cause musculoskeletal disorders or injuries to your workforce. The goal of conducting this assessment is to identify these risk factors so that you can make measurable improvements if needed. To create a safer, healthier, and less injury-prone workplace, consider an ergonomic risk assessment. Take a look at the OSHA Ergonomic Assessment Checklist to get started.

 

Conducting an Ergonomic Assessment

  1. Review any existing data. Look at claims data, workplace injury reports, workers’ compensation reports, first aid logs, and any other data you have available.
  2. Walk through the workplace. Get a real-life understanding of the environment that your employees are working in. Make notes about any issues you see. Involve your employees in the process by asking them questions about their remote working conditions.
  3. Analyze data and prioritize risk. Identify issues where you can improve and understand how these improvements will impact your employees and data. We also recommend identifying areas for short-term and long-term impact.

 

Self-Assessments For Workers at Home

Every employee is different. What’s more, your employees may be working from home more often. With that said, it is essential they know the basics of how to perform ergonomically. Ergonomic self-assessments are critical during this age, especially as there is no one-size-fits-all solution. Select an assessment that your team can use to check their working environment. Be sure to include questions about each employee’s chair, monitor, mouse, and phone. The assessment should inform the next possible steps each employee can take to improve their work area. Read more about self-assessments here and take a look at our at-home safety tips for employees.

 

What are the Benefits of Ergonomic Workplaces?

  • Reduces costs. With a healthier environment comes a lower risk of accidents and injury. Ergonomic work areas help to minimize back and neck pain from poor posture that can result in an insurance claim down the line. That results in fewer sick days and lower workers’ compensation costs.
  • Increases productivity. By designing a job to allow for good posture, less exertion, and better heights, the workstation becomes more comfortable and efficient.
  • Improves mood and energy levels. Too much sedentary time has been linked to heightened risks of anxiety and depression. Unhappy workers are less likely to be productive. Simply utilizing tools such as standing desks can allow for happier, more engaged employees.

 

As always, our PMC Risk Management team is here to answer any questions you may have relative to risk management, telecommuting, claims, and how they will be handled as more of our national workforce settles into working remotely. For more information contact our Risk Management Specialist, Dave Brewer at dbrewer@pmcinsurance.com or (781)365-1705.