Providing an impressive benefit package to employees is
expensive and sometimes isn’t in fact what sets your organization apart from the
rest. Most of us won’t argue that benefits aren't worth the cost, but as any employer
or HR professional can tell you, the expense is huge. In addition to the
obvious benefit costs employees see, such as healthcare and retirement
contributions, there’s a major benefit lurking in the dark going unnoticed by
employees: workers’ compensation insurance.
For most employees, workers’ compensation coverage isn’t
even a blip on the radar when considering a benefit package. It’s only a
consideration when an employee is injured on the job. However, it’s often one of the largest benefit expenses a business incurs. Fortunately,
this is one area in which the goal of cutting costs really is a good thing for
employees; the fewer claims you have, the lower your premiums will be and the
healthier workforce you’ll have at the office.
If you’re working in an office and clerical setting, you
probably won’t see many newsworthy claims like a more physical job would, such
as those working in the construction industry. (And if you do have the same
type of claims as employers like that, we need to talk about proper working
conditions.) However, you will see back and neck pain, carpal tunnel and maybe
even eye problems. The good news is, there are easy fixes for most of these
issues. Try these four ergonomic tips to save your employees from aches and
pains and your budget from feeling workers' compensation insurance cost pains as well.
1.Train front line
managers and professionals to perform ergonomic evaluations
Ergonomic evaluations include looking at the way an employee
sits, types, moves around their workspace and more. A simple evaluation can
reveal areas of improvement that can make a big difference. By training someone
to perform these evaluations in-house, you’ll save on hiring a consultant and
will always have someone available. If it’s not feasible to do this, find an
ergonomic consultant in your area. While the latter will be a bit more
expensive, they’re both worth the cost considering that an average workers’
comp claim can last decades and cost tens of thousands of dollars.
2. Make it simple for
employees to request assistance
Whether an employee would like an ergonomic evaluation or
they know they need a specific piece of equipment, don’t make them jump through
hoops and walk on hot coals to make it happen. Encourage them to be proactive
when it comes to their safety—it benefits the employee and the employer for
them to do so. Consider setting up evaluations for each employee every six
months to a year to head off any problems that could arise.
3. Purchase ergonomically-conscious
No, we’re not suggesting you sell the furniture you
currently have for firewood and start over, but as the need arises to purchase
a new piece, make the choice to spend a bit more on something that’s designed
with employees’ best interests in mind. The return on investment will be worth
it. If you allow your employees to choose the new items, let them know that you
would prefer an ergonomic option.
Sometimes there is hesitation when an employee asks for that
comfy chair that can set you back a couple hundred dollars, espcially when knowing that last week’s request had them
asking for a glare and protector screen. In my experience policing furniture purchases under $500 per department
each month by HR and Operations only leads to added headaches and
paperwork. It’s my time and money better
spent somewhere else.
4. Get employees up and
One company I worked for actually included office-friendly
stretches in their monthly employee newsletter and encouraged employees to take
breaks to walk and move around. Stretching relieves tension in muscles and
makes employees more conscious of their posture in general. It’s why I’ve
always kept a yoga mat in my office. Yup, I’m all ergonomical like that. All these things add up to fewer workplace injuries.
Creating a healthy and stable work environment doesn’t have
to cost you millions. Reducing workers’ compensation claims protects your
company in both a short term and long term investment. What ways does your
office provide assistance in reducing these types of claims?