AIHce Speaker: Market the Need for Ergonomics

An ergonomist told attendees this week at the American Industrial Hygiene Conference and Expo in San Diego that they need to sell to all levels of a company the business case for an ergonomics program.

When it comes to making a business case for ergonomic interventions in the workplace, top management isn't the only level that needs to buy in to the need, according to a Wisconsin ergonomist.

Patricia Seeley, CPE, principal consultant for ergonomics, WE Energies, says health and safety professionals need to be willing to take the time to substantiate the business case for an ergonomics program. "Be really aggressive about going after your internal corporate data. Don't be afraid to invest some of your own time on this."

Injury and illness data is not enough, Seeley contends. Cost data is needed that proves how ergonomics injuries hurt the bottom line. This includes cost-benefit data, as well as calculating the payback time for an intervention.

When the data is available, Seeley suggests that health and safety professionals "get friendly" with virtually all departments - human resources, medical, purchasing, engineering - about an ergonomics program makes sense from a business perspective. The goal is to gain widespread support.

"Once you've got the data, sell it and sell it and sell it," she says. "Knock on doors. Get up to the very top and down to the very bottom. Market it everywhere you can."

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