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Ways to reduce ergonomic worker injuries

One national property and casualty insurance underwriter estimates that some 20 percent of all employees call off work because of injuries that can be attributed to poorly designed offices. Workers who are employed in physically demanding fields or who work in retail establishments, factories and offices all suffer ergonomic types of injuries. These types of injuries result in ever-increasing costs for employers each year.

Among the different ergonomic injuries, musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) are reported most often at 33 percent. These types of injuries reportedly cause employees to take off work more than any other type of workplace injury.

Another report, co-authored by Liberty Mutual and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), suggests that overexertion injuries are also costly for employers. These injuries, which are caused by carrying, pushing, throwing, lifting, holding and pulling, are estimated to cost employers as much as $13.8 billion annually. It's believed that all types of serious, yet nonfatal worker injuries cost $60 billion in damages for employers each year.

Researchers note that only simple modifications are needed to protect workers against ergonomic types of injuries. One measure that's proven to reduce injuries is reducing the gap between where a warehouse worker is preparing shipments and where they're being palleted.

Another measure that's been shown to be successful is when parts bins can be relocated higher off the ground or at a shorter reach distance for employees. Lowering worker computer screens can reduce the incidence of neck and back strain as well.

If you've suffered either an overexertion or some other type of ergonomic injury in the workplace, then a Dauphin, Pennsylvania, workers' compensation attorney can provide guidance in your legal matter.

Source: Property Casualty 360, "Reduce ergonomic injuries by changing your work environment," Jeffrey Smagacz, Nov. 02, 2017

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