While the number of workplace accidents is going down, the cost of treating workplace injuries continues to rise, and according to the latest Liberty Mutual Workplace Safety Index, worker injuries are now costing employers about one billion dollars each week.
Leading the list of workplace injuries is overexertion, defined as injuries from excessive lifting, pushing, pulling, holding, carrying or throwing of an object – injuries that can often be prevented or limited through ergonomics. In 2002, the cost of overexertion-related injuries was $10.3 billion. In 2003, that figure jumped by more than 10 percent to $12.5 billion.
“Managing the significant and growing cost of workplace injuries is a critical challenge facing all companies, regardless of size, industry and location. Improving workplace safety is key to managing this nearly one-billion dollar per week impact – prevent the injury, avoid the associated costs,” said Senior Vice President of Commercial Insurance for Liberty Mutual, Brian Melas, in a company press statement.
“This is where there is real potential to get at the benefits of a safer workplace – protecting employees and avoiding the financial impact of on-the-job injuries,” reiterated Melas.
For employers, not only are on-the-job injuries expensive, both to treat and through the impact they have on productivity, but the rapidly rising costs may make it more important than ever to review an existing ergonomics program. Overall, ergonomics can help create a workplace that works with the worker, resulting in increased productivity and performance and a reduction in errors and injuries.