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Workplace safety is often focused on workers doing rigorous tasks in industries with the perceived highest occupational risk, such as construction, mining, oil and gas, and manufacturing. However, one of the leading causes of workplace injuries, and one of the most costly to employers, affects those workers whose time is spent in offices and laboratories at their desks and computer workstations.

Improper monitor positioning and rigid sitting postures can lead to back pain, neck pain, eye strain and other Musculoskeletal Disorders (MSDs), while sedentary behaviors and static postures have also been known to cause metabolic syndrome, a cluster of conditions — including increased blood pressure, high blood sugar, excess body fat around the waist, and abnormal cholesterol or triglyceride levels — that occur together to increase the risk of heart disease, stroke and diabetes.

These injuries not only come at a high cost to employee wellbeing, but can also impact a company’s bottom line. OSHA estimates that each year the typical Fortune 1000 company pays-out $1.3 million per every 1,000 employees due to conditions caused by ergonomic injuries. Other estimates from the National Council on Compensation Insurance suggest that the true cost of a single ergonomics-related injury to companies can be as high as $60,000 to $82,000 per case.

The good news is there are proven strategies that can alleviate most of the stresses and costs related to poor ergonomics. Studies have shown significant gains in productivity and employee job satisfaction with the introduction of an effective office ergonomics program. The Washington State Department of Labor & Industries and the Puget Sound Human Factors and Ergonomics Society analyzed 250 such studies and discovered that, on average, introduction of an office ergonomics program lowered workplace MSDs by 61 percent.

Cloud-based Ergonomics training is an affordable and effective way to help employees identify poor posture and positioning, and adopt safer practices to alleviate any stresses to the body. A good program provides expert assessment that helps customize training to the needs of the individual employee. And because online ergonomics training reaches more employees and costs less than traditional ergonomics coaching, it’s the ideal solution for companies with a large staff or multiple locations where these in-person methods might not reach all employees.

The dangers of poor ergonomics serve as a reminder that no job comes without its own risks. Any office with employees who work primarily at desk workstations would be wise to look into office ergonomics solutions to identify and correct any issues before they get worse. And companies looking for a smart and cost-effective solution should seriously consider a good ergonomics software solution.

In support of National Safety Month, VelocityEHS is sharing tips and information throughout the month of June to help EHS professionals strengthen their commitment to worker safety. Follow along on Twitter and LinkedIn for more information.