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Work injury: Better ergonomics might improve productivity

Workers in some industries in Illinois are at risk of suffering musculoskeletal disorders. This type of work injury typically develops over time, and it may cause chronic pain before the victim realizes the severity of the condition. Employers are encouraged by safety authorities to assess the functional design of their facilities and the different workstations. An area that is ergonomically enhanced can increase productivity and lower the risk of developing musculoskeletal injuries or disorders.

Different aspects will have to be considered to assess an area for the purpose of identifying ergonomic risk factors. These include, among others, the need to work in awkward body postures, apply high force and also the frequency or repetition of such tasks and the type of exposure workers must endure. A clear picture of each job and the body parts used to perform it is necessary for an ergonomics assessment.

The next step will be to determine the causes for the identified risk factors and then design solutions to eliminate or reduce them. Implementing those solutions and maintaining the program will be the final step in the process of creating an ergonomically safe workplace environment. Getting to this stage could be a costly affair, and failing to maintain the program and to reassess the workstations from time to time could make the monetary investment worthless.

Musculoskeletal injuries include a variety of conditions, depending on the type of job the victim does. Although the Illinois workers' compensation insurance program covers all on-the-job injuries, those caused by bad ergonomics might be questioned. Proving it to be a work injury might be easier with the help of an experienced workers' comp attorney.

Source:, "5 Keys to Sustainable Safety and Ergonomics", Scott Smith, April 6, 2018

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