So you’re passionate about ensuring employee health and safety, and you’re committed to eliminating ergonomic risks in the workplace. You’ve come up with an awesome ergonomic service offering and want to shout it from the rooftops. Now, how are you going to share the value of your service offerings with the decision-makers in your area? Marketing ergonomics is a skill that doesn’t come naturally to many Ergonomic Service Providers. But whether we like it or not, it’s our responsibility to share the message of who we are, what we do, and what value we offer. And the better we are at marketing ourselves, the greater our results are. 

Safety in ergonomics, specifically whether or not the company is compliant with OSHA, is a great entryway to get the attention of decision-makers. There's so much opportunity here if you can come up with a strong messaging and deliver it in a way that’s aligned with what your prospects need. So in this post, I’m going to talk about safety in ergonomics, particularly if there’s an ergonomic requirement that we need to be looking at and communicating to decision-makers in our area. Keep reading for the strategies you need to get you started selling ergonomics.

OSHA and Ergo

One of the questions I’m asked most often is: “Is there an ergo requirement?”

The question totally makes sense. An ergo requirement would make it easier to sell and market ergonomics. If there's an OSHA standard, then it's very straightforward to explain the need for ergonomics to decision-makers. You can just tell employers, “You have to do ergonomics because you're required to do it under this specific legislation.” However, there’s currently no specific OSHA standard for ergonomics in the US. Even without a specific industry guideline, employers still have an obligation under the General Duty Clause, Section 5(a)(1), which generally requires employers to keep workplaces free from recognized serious hazards, including ergonomic hazards. 

In deciding whether a General Duty citation should be issued with respect to ergonomics, OSHA will review the following factors: 

  1. whether an ergonomic risk exists;
  2. whether that risk is recognized;
  3. whether the hazard is causing, or likely to cause, serious physical harm to workers; 
  4. and whether a feasible measure exists to minimize the risk. 
  5. OSHA has also noted that it’ll not focus on enforcement efforts against employers who are making a good faith effort to reduce ergonomic hazards. 

All employers—but specifically those in high-risk industries such as construction, food processing, firefighting, office jobs, transportation, and warehousing—should consider implementing an ergonomic program. There are also a couple of facts about the General Duty Clause that I think are useful for you to know.

  1. Small businesses in low-risk industries are exempted from programmed safety inspections if it employs 10 or fewer employees currently and at all times during the last 12 months.
  2. No programmed safety inspections are permitted of a small business if their lost workday case rate is below the all-industry national average.
  3. According to the latest statistics, 8 million workplaces are under the jurisdiction of either OSHA or its State Plans, which together average nearly 73,000 annual inspections. 
  4. OSHA inspections can be triggered due to a variety of different reasons, including anonymous safety complaints, accidents involving a fatality, hospitalization of three or more employees, or reports of imminent dangers or health hazards. 

Other states and countries actually have ergo legislation in place. Arizona, California, Oregon, and Washington are just some of the states that are operating OSHA-approved State plans. So make sure to check if there’s an ergo standard that workplaces have to abide by in your area. 

Selling Ergonomics to Your Clients

Most decision-makers aren’t familiar with the OSHA safety requirements or even with their own company's safety procedures. Many see ergonomics as a cost to the company. Employers may not be interested in your offering if you don’t tell them clearly how they'll benefit from it. So when you have the opportunity to talk to decision-makers, tell them clearly how ergonomics can make their operations more efficient, keep their employees safer, and help them maintain compliance and regulatory standards. This way, employers will see ergonomics as a value, not a cost. 

Now, let’s talk about the strategies that’ll help you sell ergonomics effectively:

1. Educate your clients about OSHA

I firmly believe that any marketing process that you put in place has to have some sort of education. Even if there are no guidelines specific to your employer's industry, they still have an obligation under the General Duty Clause to ensure that their employees are protected from all recognized risks in the workplace.

That's a really useful framework that you can use when you're presenting in front of the employer, answering questions, building a marketing case, etc. You can leverage that General Duty Clause as a motivator. Position your services in a way that’s aligned with what your prospects are already required to do. Let them know how you can help them implement a good ergonomic strategy to address the risks present in the workplace and reduce the workers' risk of injuries. There tends to be much more significant results in reducing work-related injuries when organizations know what requirements they need to comply with and understand the importance of implementing an ergonomic process.

2. Highlight the potential benefits

How will your services make their lives easier when they're dealing with OSHA inspectors? How will it help reduce the risk of injuries? Identify the benefits and value of your services offering related to occupational health and safety legislation and make these the centerpiece of your discussion. If you can explain the benefits of ergonomics in a way that's clear and make sense to their organization, selling ergonomics will be much easier. To make your offer more compelling, I suggest supporting your presentation with data. Employers may want to know about ROI and how ergonomics will help reduce workers’ compensation costs, or they may want details on how ergonomics will improve employee productivity and retention.

3. Provide more Knowledge

Do you have literature about Occupational Safety and Health and how it relates to ergonomics, specifically about the employer’s responsibilities? Do you share this information in your sales calls or in your marketing process? If you don’t, I encourage you to start posting research articles about it. We know that it can take more than just one blog post or talking point about any part of ergonomics for our clients to really grasp it. Ideally, you want to create messaging that connects with their pain points. So make sure you know who your ideal client is. If you publish enough content about such topics, you'll build a reputation for being a great resource to your ideal clients and eventually the go-to expert to resolve their ergonomic problems. 

Over to You

So what type of struggles and pain points about occupational safety and health and ergonomics can you include in your messaging? Are you able to position your marketing so that you not only inform your employers about their responsibilities but also provide a service that allows them to avoid programmed inspections? 

I hope this post gives you some ideas on how to position your deliverables to your clients and prospects. If you’re interested in taking the next step in your ergonomics career, then I want to encourage you to sign up for the Accelerate program. Accelerate shows you how to use modern marketing techniques and other systems and processes that’ll turn prospects into leads and help you run a thriving ergonomics business.


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