Fit For Work's Lean Ergonomics Saves Direct And Indirect Costs For Clients

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In 2011 the American Society of Safety Engineers research explains that lean methodologies, such as Lean Ergonomics, help organizations bridge the gap from actual levels of performance and productivity to the desired levels for both measures. Fit For Work, a San Antonio-based Occupational Health and Industrial Medicine firm, uses a Lean Ergonomics approach at clients’ worksites via Physical Demands Analysis (PDA) that saves direct and indirect costs which increases return on investment.

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Through the use of Fit For Work’s Lean Ergonomics Program conducted by a certified professional ergonomist (CPE), engineering controls were implemented that resulted in a first year return-on-investment (ROI) of 138% in direct savings.

In 2011 the American Society of Safety Engineers research explains that lean methodologies, such as Lean Ergonomics, help organizations bridge the gap from actual levels of performance and productivity to the desired levels for both measures. Performance improvement usually involves improving production volume or product quality, and minimizing errors, while reducing waste from unnecessary movements, time, and materials.

Fit For Work, a San Antonio-based Occupational Health and Industrial Medicine firm, uses a Lean Ergonomics approach at clients’ worksites via Physical Demands Analysis (PDA) that saves direct and indirect costs which increases return on investment.

Lean Ergonomics involves incorporating the same principles listed above, as well as preventing and reducing ergonomic risk factors through engineering, administrative, and/or behavioral controls. Ergonomic risk factors include force, repetition, awkward postures, contact stress, and vibration. While one risk factor alone is cause for attention, when two or more ergonomic risk factors exponentially increases the incidence and severity of injuries.

Companies are eager to implement with Lean Ergonomics in the workplace. The most recent national workplace injury data, presented by the Liberty Mutual Research Institute in 2008, demonstrates that ergonomic-related risk factors resulted in direct Workers’ Compensation costs of $15.2 billion in the United States in 2008.

Industrial Engineer Journal estimates in 2009 that companies in the United States spend over $61.2 billion per year on indirect costs of workplace injuries. These include reduced productivity due to time away from work or low morale, increased expenditures due to time to recruit a replacement for the injured worker and training for replacement workers, and decreased production and quality due to the new employee initially functioning below the established standard while learning the various functions of the position.

Fit For Work’s PDA is an extensive process in which a Fit For Work ergonomic professional utilizes methodologies to quantify the physical demands that an employee will encounter while performing his/her job. Fit For Work establishes “Best Work Practices” to reduce or eliminate incidences of injury due to poor ergonomics, while also improving productivity through Lean Ergonomics. Based on the results of the PDA, in conjunction with “Best Work Practices”, employees can be trained on job-specific ergonomics. This training for employees leads to workplace performance improvement which translates to increased profits.

“Recently a Fit For Work client was experiencing inconsistent quality of products, increased labor hours, and increased injuries within a specific department,” stated James Rethaber, PhD, CPE, Fit For Work Ergonomics Department Director. “Through the use of Fit For Work’s Lean Ergonomics Program conducted by a certified professional ergonomist (CPE), engineering controls were implemented that resulted in a first year return-on-investment (ROI) of 138% in direct savings. Indirect savings could not be objectively and accurately calculated, but were estimated to be double the present ROI.”

For more information about Fit For Work’s services, please visit WellWorkForce.com.

About Fit For Work:
Fit For Work is a privately held Occupational and Industrial Health practice developed around a model of prevention and early intervention. Founded in 1998, Fit for Work has continuously sought to provide large and small employers alike with a non-traditional service model. This model combines a progressive approach to injury prevention and treatment based on an underlying and proven principle that putting the right worker in the right place in as safe a manner as possible results in decreased costs, decreased injuries, increased profitability and increased productivity. For more information, please visit wellworkforce.com.

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Brooke McVeigh
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