Liberty Mutual has over 700 safety professionals in the field each day who work with companies to convince them to take preventive measures like ergonomics to reduce corporate costs. So how does this member of an industry often perceived as a costly but necessary evil, convince the workplace to take on ergonomics? Through a three-step process — Demonstrate, Evaluate, Justify.
Step one: Demonstrate. Through a “loss profile” field reps help convince the customer that the company has an issue that needs to be addressed. Even for a company that may not be showing losses, a look at other companies with similar operations that are showing losses can help create a case, says Karl Jacobson, Senior Vice President of Loss Prevention for Liberty Mutual.
Step two: Evaluate. Reps use analytical tools to show that exposure really exists in the workplace, including tools that measure weight and forces on the body, for example. The goal is to show that the exposure could potentially cause harm and that ergonomics needs to be addressed.
Step three: Justify. Making a case for the intervention means basing the recommended “fix” on dollars and cents. Jacobson suggests cost-benefit analyses, something businesses do in other aspects of their company everyday. “It’s basic economics. Find out what’s acceptable in your business and use that to make progress,” he says.
This article originally appeared in The Ergonomics Report™ on 2004-03-01.