Increased levels of stress among workers will inflict lasting damage on companies’ productivity, according to Cardinus Risk Management.

But Cardinus believes that the clear links between stress and the physical symptoms of musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) mean that they can all be managed effectively through ergonomic risk management.

Proposed European health and safety legislation will bring together several ergonomic risk factors in a single directive, including psychosocial factors like stress and work pressure. These factors should be considered in risk assessments, says Cardinus, to help prevent long term effects on staff well-being, productivity and organisations’ reputation.

Jon Abbott, managing director – ergonomics and safety at Cardinus Risk Management, said, “Research into the links between psychosocial factors and work-related injuries has been going on since the 1970s and the evidence is widely accepted. Back in 2007 psychologist and Cardinus consultant Rick Spencer compiled a 20-page report on this evidence. Rick’s report confirms that many specialists, experts and academics have found links between stress and physical injuries. Examples range from overwork, poor working practices and the build-up of tension, through to the reluctance to report injuries.

“Since then, stress levels among workers have continued to rise. Economic effects, such as lack of job security and increased workload could see stress at an all-time high. That’s why we feel that the EU proposal to consider work-related stress, or “wellness”, as part of an ergonomic risk assessment is a good idea.”

Reduced staffing levels leading to greater pressures on remaining staff and a lack of job security has resulted in one in four workers experiencing more stress now than a year ago. These findings come from a poll conducted by Electoral Form Research.

Ergonomics is a discipline that considers three main factors: tasks, environment and people. In considering people’s ability to carry out a task safely and efficiently, psychological and social factors need to be examined. Any individual suffering psychological or social pressure will have their ability to perform affected.

Given the clear evidence showing how ergonomic risk management can help improve productivity through reduced absenteeism, fewer work-related injuries and improved staff health, well-being and morale, the benefits of including psychosocial factors in ergonomic assessments are obvious, says Cardinus.

Cardinus has been developing effective ergonomics programmes for more than 12 years. Its customers include many of the world’s leading organisations, central government departments and unions.

The Cardinus approach to effective ergonomic management is to apply simple programmes that provide a modular, adaptable solution. Workstation Safety Plus, the innovative online DSE assessment and e-learning solution, provides award-winning solutions that are fully endorsed by the International Institute of Risk and Safety Management.

Cardinus provides on-site and telephonic DSE assessments and, when needed, will supply DSE triage and case management solutions.

For more information about ergonomic risk management services and other Cardinus products telephone 020 7469 0200 or email info@cardinus.com.

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