Improving workplace ergonomics can lessen the likelihood by 60 percent that workers with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) will report a work-related disability, says a new study.
Conducted by Dr. Diane Lacaille and associates at the Arthritis Research Center of Canada in Vancouver, the study questioned 600 adults regarding workplace factors including ergonomics, self-employment and commuting, and determined how each was linked to the risk of reporting a work disability lasting six months or more.
Lacaille found that workers whose workspaces had been ergonomically modified to be more comfortable were 60 percent less likely to be away from work due to disability than workers whose workspaces hadn’t been given an ergonomics makeover.
The study also found that men had a greater risk of disability associated with RA, and that workers who were self-employed were five times less likely to report a work disability associated with RA than those who were employed by someone else.
“The cost of loss of work productivity is greater than the cost of treating the disease,” Lacaille told Reuters. Of all the solutions that the study found for helping a worker with RA remain productive on the job, Lacaille said that ergonomics modifications to the work-space are possibly the easiest to implement, noting that changes like adding a footrest or raising a computer screen to eye level “can be quite easy and not expensive.”