The word “ergonomics” is derived from the Greek words Ergon, meaning “work,” and Nomos, meaning “study of.” However, Scungio has his own definition. “Ergonomics is the science of adapting the job and the equipment and the human to each other for optimal safety and efficiency,” he says.
THE HIGH COST OF ERGONOMICS ISSUES
The cost of injuries such as MSD is higher than many lab workers may expect. Scungio says the costs add up:
- $20 billion annually
- 1/3 of all workers’ compensation costs are because of MSDs
- MSD cases typically cost twice the amount of other work injuries
The cost to organizations is also high:
- Workers’ compensation payments
- Medical bills for injured employees
- Lost revenue when employees miss work
- Replacement staff costs
The effects of poor ergonomics are far-reaching:
- Decreased productivity
- Unhappy employees
- Increased sick days
- Health issues such as carpal tunnel, trigger finger, tendonitis, back pain, deafness and computer vision syndrome
There’s also the cost of a person’s compromised lifestyle. Scungio explains that people nearing retirement often come to the unpleasant realization that their dreams to travel or do other long-awaited activities are in jeopardy because their body is in pain from decades of not following ergonomics best practices.
“Isn’t it more cost-effective to prevent these injuries today?” he asks.