In the last decade, the American workplace has changed dramatically, seeing the rise of remote work and work-from-home days. It’s also become more tech-savvy and computer-based, streamlining the way business is done and employees connect with each other. However, while computers and technology have combined for a more autonomous business landscape, they’ve also contributed to issues with employee health, especially in relation to ergonomics.
According to OSHA, work-related musculoskeletal disorders (MSD’s) are the most widespread occupational health hazard facing the American worker. While these injuries are built over time, they should still be factored into a business’s business model, including its workers’ compensation insurance.
About one-third of workers’ compensation claims are due to insufficient ergonomic protection. With this in mind, and with the workforce increasingly sitting in front of computers, it’s the perfect time to look at the relationship between ergonomics and workers’ compensation policies.
Desk Job Issues
While working in front of a computer has given workers the freedom to work from home or move around, it’s also put a literal strain on their bodies. A major issue with deskbound work is simply sitting down in a chair for too long, whether at a home office or corporate headquarters. The human body is not meant to stay seated for eight hours a day. From stiff muscles to a slower metabolism, sitting all day has long-term and widespread effects on the human body.
Wrists, fingers, forearms, shoulders, necks, and eyesight also take a hit when sitting in front of a computer all day typing away. Since injuries can pile up on companies at the hands of ergonomics issues, it’s important to have a plan in place to combat them, while also being aware of their effects on workers’ compensation claims.
Workers’ Compensation Claims
When people think of workers’ compensation claims on the job, they may think of major accidents at a worksite or something physical like a slip and fall case. But injuries can happen in other ways, including those that have been building over time, like carpal tunnel syndrome, a mainstay in the office environment.
When implemented properly, ergonomics can help cut down on workers’ compensation costs and claims, as they can help to improve the health and wellness of employees. Ergonomics will help to increase productive time and decrease waste costs. Companies can expect fewer accidents, lower workers’ compensation costs, and more productive employees who are also safe from the different kinds of harm that can befall them.
Those who get stuck in front of their computer for eight or more hours every day may not be able to alter how much they work, but they can take steps to cut down on the potential for their own injuries, literally.
By stepping away from time to time throughout the day, they are taking the stress off their eyes, legs, hands, back—their entire body, actually. The U.S. Department of Labor offers up some ergonomics tips for employees to encourage proper posture. They include:
- Relaxing your shoulders, even at your desk
- Keeping your knees the same height as your hips
- Supporting your back and maintain a level head in line with your torso, keeping from sloping or twisting
It also helps to set reminders on your calendar or phone to step away and stretch every hour. Another way to cut down on strain while working is to install a standing desk if possible.
For eye strain, it’s important to give your eyes a break every 20 minutes or so. This doesn’t mean taking a break from looking at your computer to look at your phone or tablet. This means to take your eyes off screens altogether to help relieve them from having to focus on something.
InsureMyWorkComp is a digital brokerage that helps clients find the right workers’ compensation solution for their business needs. Unlike other online platforms, we will help you to work with an agent who can provide you the right solution for your risk profile. Our staff has over 50 years of workers’ compensation underwriting and sales experience, and we are confident that we will provide you the support that you need. For more information or to get a quote, contact us today at (855) 340-9138.