health & safety laws Feb 08, 2021
 

According to OSHA, ergonomics is defined as, “The science of fitting workplace conditions and job demands to the capabilities of the working population.” So at its core, workplace ergonomics is about designing a workplace in a way that would result in a better work environment and excellent work being produced. If the physical capacity of the employees and their equipment are unsuitable to the physical needs of their job, then workers can be exposed to Work-related musculoskeletal disorders (WMSDs). However, ergonomics can help prevent these injuries. Ergonomic principles, if adhered to, can help eliminate the risk of injuries and discomfort of employees working in computers, or in jobs requiring repetitive motions.

Ergonomic Compliance in Companies: How Can You Leverage Your Marketing?

Whether you’ve been working as an Ergonomic Professional for a number of years or you’re a newbie to the field, you might be wondering how to best position your services to attract more clients. Well, actually there are several angles that your clients or your prospects might be looking for so that you can have an entry point to start your relationship. And the point that I want to share is that your entryway could be that of safety in ergonomics, whether or not the company you’re working with is compliant with OSHA or with other health and safety agencies that's present in your country. There's so much opportunity for us if we know how to use this messaging and deliver this in a way that’s aligned with what our clients are looking for. So in this blog, I’m going to talk about safety in ergonomics, specifically, if there is an ergonomic law that we need to be looking at and communicating to. 

Keep This in Mind When Marketing Ergonomics...

One major point that I want to share with you based on my experience is that ergonomic programs always come in the later stages of a safety intervention. So when an organization requires safety, they address the low-hanging fruit first. This could mean that a safety consultant would go in and set up a safety program, teach them how to set up their process, and may even audit their joint occupational health and safety committees. And only when the organization is at a certain level of readiness would be the most effective point to implement an ergonomics program. An ergonomics program is another way that you can think of continuous improvement and enhancing operations, and it's typically delivered in the later steps of safety intervention. 

Keep that in mind when you're marketing ergonomics. Sometimes when looking to start a relationship with your client, they’ll often call you in mainly to "put out fires". For instance, if there's a workers’ compensation claim, you'll need to assist the employer throughout all the steps of the claim handling process. Your expertise will be needed in providing effective recommendations that will help reduce workers’ compensation costs and improve the employee experience. It's only after that they might be open and ready to have a more related process since in my opinion, effective ergonomics initiatives have the foundation in a robust safety system. 

To enhance the whole employee experience of an organization, it's going to take a systematic process. If you assist them beyond injury management, it’s not only going to be benefiting our clients and our organization, it's going to be benefiting our bottom line and revenue-generating activities as well.

7 Steps to Determine if an Organization is Compliant with OSHA

To be clear, there are no specific OSHA standards that apply to computer workstations, or extremely low-frequency electric and magnetic field exposure. However, workers have a right to safe and healthful workplaces. OSHA has also made it clear that even in the absence of a specific industry guideline, employers can still be cited for a violation of the General Duty Clause. The General Duty Clause under the OSHA Act of 1970 requires employers to keep workplaces free from recognized and serious hazards, including ergonomic hazards. This regulation is something that we can leverage in our marketing. Since OSHA encourages employers to apply effective programs, you can offer your services by helping them implement engineering and administrative control measures to mitigate ergonomic hazards.

Below are the 7 steps that you can be communicating to both your prospects and clients to determine if they are compliant with Health and Safety Law.

  1. Provide Management Support - The first thing you want to look at when talking to your clients and prospects is to determine whether or not there is management support. And this is just a yes–no question. If the decision-makers of the company have a strong commitment to implement ergonomic programs, it will have a positive impact on the overall success of the ergonomic process. If their attention is elsewhere, it will be ineffective and sizzle out in a few months. The management should also define clear goals and objectives for their ergonomic process. They should discuss this with their workers, assign responsibilities to designated staff members, and communicate clearly with the workforce. 
  2. Involve Workers - A participatory ergonomics approach where workers are directly involved in worksite and assessment solution development and implementation is the essence of a successful ergonomics process. From that point on, the workers can identify and provide important information about hazards in their workplaces, and assist in the ergonomic process by expressing their concerns and suggestions, and evaluate the changes made as a result of the ergonomic assessment. And if all other aspects are aligned, that's going to be a huge opportunity for you to train an in-house team.
  3. Provide Training - Training is an essential element of the ergonomic process. This is a simple service opportunity that can get your client’s workplace more aligned with health and safety law. It's a very low-hanging fruit, because all that's really required is to have people sit in a presentation. Training ensures that workers are aware of ergonomics and its benefits, informed about ergonomics-related concerns in the workplace, and understand the importance of reporting early symptoms of MSDs. 
  4. Identify Problems - Identifying and assessing ergonomic problems in the workplace before they result in musculoskeletal disorders is an essential step in the ergonomic process. Conducting ergonomic risk assessments is an essential element of the ergonomic process. And there are other ways that we can leverage discomfort issues and discomfort priority to ensure that we are using our resources effectively.
  5. Encourage Early Reporting - Early reporting of MSD symptoms can hasten the job assessment and improvement process, helping to prevent or reduce the progression of symptoms in your client’s staff and the development of serious injuries, including time-loss claims. Additionally, early identification of the symptoms is beneficial to your client’s business because they can apply preventative actions and avoid costly injuries. 
  6. Implement Solutions - After identifying possible causes of MSDs, you can start planning for immediate solutions that can be implemented to mitigate, control, and eliminate workplace injuries. And you can help your clients to navigate this process and provide a solution that’s fit for their situation.
  7. Evaluate Progress - Evaluating the progress is part of the OSHA compliance checklist. This is an opportunity for you to audit annual developments in their ergonomics program process, or time-loss injuries. The established evaluation and corrective action procedures are required to periodically assess the effectiveness of the ergonomic process, and to ensure its continuous improvement and long-term success. Early in the development of your ergonomics process, assessment should include determining whether goals set for the process have been met, and determining the success and implemented ergonomic solutions.

Each one of those steps can have one of your deliverables attached to it, and you can provide all of these value-added solutions to your clients. I encourage you to pick up these steps and run with it because as Ergonomic Professionals, we have so much value to offer business.

All we have to do is to share the message that we have this service that can help them ensure that they’re complying with the Health and Safety Law.

The real key to get the clients that you love working with is to learn how to communicate the message in a way that's aligned with where they want to take their organization. If we can do that successfully, then we know that not only do we have a lot of opportunities to leave a positive impact, but we'll also be able to have the revenue-generating activities that we need to have as business owners.

And that’s it. I hope this blog gave you an idea on how to best leverage safety in ergonomics. If you’re interested to learn how other healthcare professionals are successfully adding their ergonomic expertise to their services, you can check out this free training. For more information, click on this link.

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