The rising cost of healthcare, an aging workforce and the relative low priority placed on sound ergonomics in the workplace mean that work related injuries will continue to hurt companies’ bottom lines. Ultimately, this is bad for consumers and for the economy as a whole.
Human capital is EVERY company’s most valuable asset, and everyone who’s studied Marx knows that a company wishing to stay competitive will seek to get the most productivity at the least cost out overy worker. The natural conclusion to this line of thought is that a company should take advantage of the latest in ergnomic research and technology to ensure that its workers work safely, productively, and avoid preventable injuries.
I am not about to say that companies are totally ignoring ergonomics, because that just isn’t the case. In fact, thousands of companies have attended the annual National Ergonomics Conference and Exhibition, so clearly ergonomics is on their minds. But is enough being done to ensure proper ergonomics in the workplace? Are you being trained in ergonomic safety, encouraged to take frequent breaks, and provided with the most advanced and effective ergonomic products to help you get your job done? I would imagine the answer is not always a YES! YES! YES!
Ergonomics in the workplace could be called a preventitive investment; investing money now in order to save money later. It is similar to the idea behind investing in making business more sustainable. Although most businesses would agree that becoming more sustainable is a good thing (it helps save money and creates a good brand image), not enough companies are investing in truly revolutionizing the way their business is run in order to make positive long term changes.
I think when it comes down to it, many businesses see a worker as a worker, a chair as a chair, and a smoke stack as a smoke stack, just as a dollar is a dollar. Creativity, innovation, and revolution have made America and American Business successful in the past, and continue to do so. I do not want to see risk-aversity, business-as-usualness, dead dogmatics, individual greed, and short-term planning prevent us from moving forward in the right direction for the future.