The Costs of Bad Ergonomics

Workers' compensation costs have become outrageous. According to John Burton's Workers' Compensation, workers' compensation costs rose from $2.1 billion in 1960 to $62 billion in 1992. The average for one midwestern state government was $8,980 per CTD. Each CTD can cost thousands of dollars in lost productivity, absenteeism, medical treatment and, in some cases, surgery.

The aches and pains caused by ergonomically inferior workstations lead to trips to doctors and chiropractors. This raises health insurance costs and increases absenteeism. That's not counting the cost of acquiring and training new workers.

CTDs can develop over a short or long period of time. One goal of ergonomics is to identify risk factors and reduce them before they cause damage. If companies don't address CTD risk, both in industry and in the office, the costs will be devastating.

Good ergonomics, however can make a company money. In laboratory tests, Dainoff (1986) discovered an average increase in productivity of 24.7 percent with ergonomically optimal computer workstations.