Use ergonomics to reduce workers’ compensation costs

Working at a busy tire dealership is a demanding job. Employees are often surrounded by moving cars and trucks, heavy parts, sharp objects, dangerous machinery, and slippery surfaces due to all kinds of leaking fluids and oils from the vehicles. The simple act of bending and straightening to install tires day after day can be very taxing on the body, let alone the stress of raising and lowering heavy tires on a vehicle.

Ergonomics is the study of workplace equipment in order to reduce injury or discomfort and thus improve productivity. It is important to apply ergonomics when possible in the workplace to help reduce instances of cumulative trauma disorder, which is a type of injury that occurs due to the stress of repetitive movements. Training employees to perform their tasks ergonomically can help limit the number of injuries sustained on the job, which in turn can help tire dealers reduce their workers’ compensation premiums. These are some of the common risk factors in the workplace that can cause damage or injury to the musculoskeletal system; many, if not all, are usually present at a tire dealership:

  • Making forceful efforts and movements.
  • Support the body in extreme postures and perform extreme or repetitive movements.
  • Exposure of the body to efforts, movements, etc.
  • Exposure to vibrations and low temperatures.
  • Rest periods and interruptions in labor that are too short.
  • Certain types of work that are stressful (such as assembly line work or other work that is done to the beat of machinery; meeting quotas or closely monitoring an employee’s performance).
  • Dangerous environmental factors (such as noise, slippery surfaces, contact with extremely hot objects, etc.).

Improve working conditions (and productivity)

By establishing workstations with a focus on ergonomics, that tactic alone can help reduce workplace injuries, as working at a station that is too low or too high can trigger those extreme postures and movements that have been defined as risks. The height of a work surface should be based on the height of the task being performed and the height of the object the employee is working on. Four inches above the elbow height is usually adequate for fine jobs such as mechanical assembly.

Simply allowing workers to perform more comfortably, without bending or stretching for long periods of time, is a great start to making the workplace safer; At the same time, employers shouldn’t be surprised if workers become more productive when their bodies are no longer subjected to undue stress.

Employers should consult a professional insurance agent for more information on how to protect employees in the workplace. An agent can provide information that will help improve overall safety, as well as offer access to tire dealers ‘workers’ compensation programs.