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Safety And Security

The Economics Of Ergonomics

September 19, 2010
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Businesses that operate for profit are focused on just that — profit. Happy, safe and productive employees allow a company to operate more efficiently and maximize earnings.

By investing in employees'' well-being through the use of ergonomically-designed equipment and extensive training on procedural best practices, ergonomically-minded organizations remain at the forefront of their industries.

A company that has made ergonomics more than a theory — they have integrated its principals into multiple facets of their daily operations — is REDLEE/SCS Inc.

A full-service janitorial company, REDLEE/SCS has earned a reputation for their high-quality cleaning, reliability and management expertise.

One secret behind their widespread success is understanding that ergonomics, a function of product choice, education and procedural application are pathways to prosperity.

Ergonomics In 1-2-3

First, the estuary to ergonomics begins with a decision to replace traditional tools, equipment and methods with more user-friendly, comfortable options.

Vince León, vice president of human resources for REDLEE/SCS, says: "Ergonomically-designed equipment is a contributor to overall organizational success. Ergonomically-designed equipment, when used properly, is designed to help people be more productive and equipment that makes one''s job ‘easier'' or more enjoyable increases employee morale."

Secondly, after the decision to adopt ergonomic attributes to daily operations, employees need to be trained on the proper use of new equipment, the processes that will garner optimal results — while minimizing injuries — and how ergonomics fits into the holistic success of a business.

According to León, training techniques should not be generalized, but rather specific to the function and equipment being used.

An effective training program should instill the confidence of safety knowledge, which includes techniques from proper use of personal protection equipment (PPE) to understanding the uses and hazards of chemicals and equipment.

"Have your experience modification rate (EMR) go above 1.0 and you will financially feel the return on investment (ROI) — or lack thereof — of training in relation to your workers'' compensation claims," states León. "Routinely training people properly and consistently on equipment is key; it is not about ‘avoiding'' an accident, it is about training and developing a safe work environment that enables productivity."

Lastly, productivity is premier and injured or uncomfortable workers are not fully meeting their productivity potential.

For an industry with one of the highest injury rates, namely from musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs), it is crucial that professional cleaners and restorers utilize tools, equipment and processes that minimize injury risks.

"Repetitive strain injuries typically are not quickly resolved matters; they are costly, anti-productive and painful for the person sustaining the injury," notes León. "Ask anyone who has or has had carpel tunnel if they enjoyed it or felt it made them more productive … obviously not."

Prove It, Pal

REDLEE/SCS'' stellar safety record is not pristine by chance. They have strived endlessly to refine processes and educate employees on the five Ws of ergonomics — who, what, where, when and why.

Because ergonomics focuses on the abatement and prevention of repetitive strain injuries, it is essential when your objective of employee retention is succeeding.

"The longer an employee''s tenure, the higher the risk of repetitive strain injuries," adds León. "Thus, the use of ergonomically-designed equipment enables a safer work environment and enables us to maintain a very strong positive safety record."

High employee morale lends itself to increased productivity. A highly productive workforce leads to high profitability. Positive gains, coupled with prudent, educated employees is the pinnacle of business fortune.

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