What is Ergonomics?
Also known as occupational health or business health, the word “ergonomics” comes from two Greek terms: “ergon” (to work) and “nomoi” (natural laws). In essence, ergonomics applies to how we work and designing that work environment to fit our bodies, allowing us to perform without developing strain injuries or disabilities over time.
Ergonomics teaches workers to develop body postures that prevent injury, exert muscle force in a safe way and use joints (such as the neck, back and wrists) at their mid-range of movement to avoid chronic strain.
Benefits of Ergonomics
Ergonomic disorders are the fastest growing category of OSHA-recordable injuries and illnesses. Workers’ compensation costs for these disorders are between $15 and $20 billion annually (Bureau of Labor Statistics). Having a solid ergonomics program in place at your company can not only combat these costs, but contribute to the overall health and productivity of employees.
- Reduce injuries and claims
- Reduce absenteeism, sick days and lost time
- Improve productivity and time utilization
- Improve employee morale, job satisfaction and foster stronger organizational commitment
- Reduce employee conflict and turnover
- Significantly improve self-image and outlook on life for all employees
Ergonomics through St. Luke’s IMPACC
IMPACC (Injury Management Prevention and Cost Containment) is a nationwide program that promotes working smart to create “industrial athletes” and prevent injury on the job. Originally created by Lauren Herbert, DPT, OCS, in 1982, this program focuses on corporate wellness and injury prevention. IMPACC employs physical therapists trained in musculoskeletal movement, posture and orthopedics to improve productivity, customer service and the overall health of employees.
IMPACC work smart services has been implemented nationwide, helping more than 100 organizations ranging from factory lines to bakeries and banks. St. Luke’s began the IMPACC program in Sioux City and the surrounding area in the 1980s; since, it’s helped to make a 30% to 80% reduction in work injury claims, days away from work, restricted work days and worker compensation costs.
Each workplace has different business health needs, so the IMPACC program is structured with three components:
- Evaluation: formal work risk analysis including workplace setup, review of OSHA logs and identifying risk factors contributing to ergonomic injuries, claims and costs.
- Training & Coaching: onsite training for team members that includes work smart stretches, exercises, screenings and workspace set-up recommendations to prevent injury.
- Maintenance: follow-up work smart preventive coaching that can include review classes, educational workshops and leave-behind materials.
The St. Luke’s IMPACC program was recognized for its effectiveness in a feature story for WELCOA and in a recent IHS Innovations article. Read additional related articles. To learn more about IMPACC, contact Erik Nieuwenhuis, our work injury prevention specialist: