According to a recent study, workplaces that value employees’ safety and well-being as much as company productivity yield the greatest benefit.
Researches found that when an organization emphasized both productivity and employee well-being equally, workers reported having less work-related musculoskeletal pain and injury. Conversely, if the workers perceived the promotion of either performance or well-being unequally, workers reported increased incidences of work-related musculoskelatel injury, such as back and shoulder injuries.
The reason? Researchers hypothesize that ‘making production a priority over well-being’ makes workers less inclined to report a problem until it becomes debilitating, thus requiring a medical intervention. Unfortunately, by the time workers employed by the ‘productivity model’ report a problem, injuries may be more expensive to treat, require time off from work and quite possibly the need to file for workers’ compensation.
On the other hand, putting workplace ergonomics first, where an employee’s safety and well-being are emphasized over production doesn’t work much better. Research indicates that workers fear that their production will suffer when more emphasis is placed on their safety and well-being, thereby threatening their employment. Not surprisingly, the stress this induces translates into physical costs resulting in increased incidences of work-related injury.
According to the study, workers and their companies experience the most success when a “balanced” system is in place. High performance expectations married with a concern for an employee’s well-being translates into a win-win in reducing injuries on the job.