The Well Workplace

Three Reasons Why AI-Driven Ergonomics Might Not Help Your Company

Posted by Deborah Lechner
Feb 28, 2023 6:11:09 PM

If you've read any of my recent blog or LinkedIn posts, you'll know I'm a HUGE fan of ai-driven ergonomics. It's more accurate and cost-effective than the previous systems.

BUT…some companies don't realize the full benefit. I'll outline some reasons for that below.

But first, let's define what I mean by ai-driven ergonomics – so that we're all on the same page.

Introduction to AI-Driven Ergonomics

At the fundamental level, ai-driven ergonomics usually involves a camera-enabled cell phone or tablet and some software. After you take a video of the potentially hazardous work task, upload it into the software. The software tracks body limb segments and calculates joint angles (all without any markers on the body).

Most of these software programs (and there are many of them available) base their calculations on the Rapid Entire Body Assessment (REBA) or the Rapid Upper Limb Assessment (RULA) formulas for calculating an overall risk score for the task. These two assessments are the gold standard in ergonomics for calculating an overall risk score.

After the analysis (typically lasting less than 5 minutes), you will have an overall risk score for the task and individual risk scores for various limb segments. The limb segment scores help you focus your hazard reduction efforts.

The final step is synthesizing the software data, understanding the task being performed, and then making recommendations for hazard reduction. This last step is where expertise in ergonomic risks and countermeasures is critical…something the software cannot do for you.

How AI-Driven Ergonomics Work

ErgoScience has over 30 years of expertise in helping enterprise-level organizations create and strengthen their safety cultures using our proven research-based injury prevention programs. Some of these programs include pre-hire post-offer physical abilities testing; job demands analysis, and AI-powered computer vision ergonomic risk assessment and training. We understand the importance of a strong safety culture and have helped numerous organizations significantly reduce incident rates and operating costs.

Why AI-Driven Ergonomics Doesn't Create Maximum Benefit for Some Organizations

Sounds simple. What can go wrong?

In our experience, there are three main reasons why ai-driven ergonomics doesn't create maximum benefit for some organizations.

Lack of Expertise

It's one thing to upload the video to the software and calculate a risk score. With most programs, only a few minor manual inputs are necessary. But once you get the risk score, what recommendations will you make?

  • Will you try to train workers in a different procedure or different body positioning? If so, what is the most effective way to teach them?
  • Will you recommend different positioning of materials or supplies? A new racking system? Gravity flow or motorized conveyors?
  • An overhead hoist?
  • A two-person lift?
  • Will you suggest a job rotation? Do you have enough job variability for that? Rotating someone from one shoulder-intensive job to another shoulder-intensive job won't help.
  • More proactive equipment maintenance?

The great thing about ai-driven ergonomics is that you can make before and after assessments. If you cut the risk score in half, that's great…but will it be sustainable?

If all of your recommendations are contingent upon employees following a new procedure or using new equipment, will they be able to follow the new processes? If not, your recommendations won't be practical.

Knowing which recommendations work in a given situation dramatically depends on understanding the corporate safety culture. If an organization truly puts safety first, administrative or training solutions might be more effective. But your training and administrative solutions might not make much difference if productivity trumps everything else- even safety.

Some organizations expect their safety people or front-line supervisors or managers to become experts in ergonomics with a brief course of instruction. Others claim their insurance carriers have safety experts that will do their assessments for "free" (not really because the cost is built into their premium cost).

In our experience, these individuals are typically trained in some basic ergonomic concepts in a short course and equipped with the software. Still, they lack the proper expertise that comes with professionals who have extended training in human movement and biomechanics, such as physical and occupational therapists and ergonomists.

Some organizations have found success using a combination of internal associates for ai-augmented data collection, supplemented with consultants who review the videos and reports and collaborate with internal staff on recommendations.

Lack of Budget & C-Suite Support For Ergonomic Changes

AI-driven ergonomic assessments are great. But if there's no budget for training or making ergonomic changes, why do the evaluations in the first place? You need the resources to fix the problem.

Perhaps you'll use the data for the upcoming year's budget rationale or justification?

At any rate, the C-Suite has to be behind the project. And getting C-Suite buy-in can be challenging. They must see that the project will have a positive return on investment (ROI). Research at the Liberty Mutual Research Institute for Safety shows that $3-$6 is saved for every $ 1 invested in safety.

On average, employees who work in pain experience a 10% reduction in productivity if they are working in pain. If an employee earns $50,000/year, as much as $5,000 in salary per year might be lost to discomfort. Not to mention the lost revenue to decreased productivity.

How much more productive could your employees be if you could increase their comfort? How many individuals in your organization are working with pain or discomfort day in and day out?

When indirect and direct costs are considered, one lost-time musculoskeletal injury costs approximately $60,000-$80,000. How many of those injuries does your organization experience each year?

These figures and an estimated project cost can help determine the project's ROI. And targeting the jobs producing the most injuries can help you narrow the project scope so that your organization realizes the most benefit for the least expense.

Ensuring you can align your ergonomic project with one of your organization's strategic initiatives also helps justify the project in the eyes of your executives.

Employees Don't Embrace the Changes

One of the best ways to ensure that your ergonomic assessments and countermeasures won't lead to meaningful change is to fail to ask the employees for input. Employees who do the job day after day have ideas about making the job easier and more efficient. And your ergonomic changes need to be compatible with their ideas.

Every time I've walked into an organization, I'd had a nickel for every time I saw heavy material handling that equipment could minimize. And when I investigated further, I found they already had that equipment. But it was sitting in the corner collecting dust.

Why? Because no one consulted the employees, and for one reason or another, the equipment slowed them down or wasn't effective in reducing the load. If only they'd been consulted…

When videotaping hazardous tasks in the field, it's an excellent time to ask employees what they think. If you tell them you're trying to make their jobs easier and ask for their opinions, they'll likely share valuable information that can guide your recommendations. And their cooperation will be much better when it comes to implementation.

When it comes to ergonomic training, ai-assisted ergonomic assessments can show the difference in hazard scores before and after the recommendations are followed. The dramatic decrease in hazard scores motivates employees to adopt the new, more ergonomic work practice. As the old saying goes…a picture is worth a thousand words!

Success with AI-Assisted Ergonomics

Success with ai-assisted ergonomics hinges on getting three things right:

  1. The right level of expertise. Going it alone might not yield the result you desire.
  2. The proper support from your executives. Get them on board through ROI and strategic alignment.
  3. The excellent cooperation from your employees. Ask for their input.

If you would like more information on ai-augmented ergonomic analysis and recommendations, you can contact ErgoScience. [INSERT LINK to Meeting form?]

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Creating a Culture of Safety: Key Steps for Improved Performance

Posted by Deborah Lechner
Jan 4, 2023 1:23:19 PM

What is a Strong Safety Culture?

Safety culture is the values, behaviors, and attitudes an organization and its Industrial Athletes have towards safety and its importance in the workplace. It's a multi-year process that requires commitment from the entire organization, especially at the executive level. Safety is an integral part of daily operations, and a blue-ribbon safety culture is essential for maintaining high safety standards in the workplace.

Defining Safety Culture

A strong safety culture actively promotes and prioritizes safety in all aspects of work. This includes strict processes for reporting, inspections, training, and overall safety management. It also means that coworkers routinely look out for one another and point out unsafe behaviors to each other. It's not just about following rules and regulations but creating a positive work environment where employees feel valued and supported.

Benefits of a Strong Safety Culture

When employees feel that their safety is a top priority, they are more likely to be engaged and motivated, leading to increased productivity and overall job satisfaction. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), "employees who feel that their employer cares about their safety and health are more likely to take pride in their work and be more productive." 

According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), a strong safety culture "can lead to fewer injuries and illnesses, as well as improved overall organizational performance." When an organization has a strong safety culture, it sets high standards for all safety processes. As a result, the organization experiences fewer incidents and related costs, such as medical expenses and lost productivity. But a strong safety culture goes beyond just reducing costs. It also leads to higher productivity, lower turnover rate, increased worker participation, and higher levels of commitment to safety.

How Does ErgoScience Help Create a Strong Safety Culture?

ErgoScience has over 30 years of expertise helping enterprise-level organizations create and strengthen their safety cultures using our proven research-based injury prevention programs. Some of these programs include pre-hire post-offer physical abilities testing, job demands analysis, and AI-powered computer vision ergonomic risk assessment and training. We understand the importance of a strong safety culture and have helped numerous organizations achieve significant reductions in incident rates and operating costs.

Our Proven Programs for Injury Prevention

Our pre-hire testing involves using 1st party-validated research-based tests to determine the physical abilities of the job applicant post-offer but pre-hire. This test is created based on the job analysis, which identifies the most physically demanding aspects of the job: pushing, pulling, lifting, squatting, reaching, or gripping.

We use the job demands analysis to create a one-to-one pre-hire test specific to one job at one individual company. Every test is unique because every job is unique. Tests can even vary from site to site within the same company for the same job based on different procedures or environmental factors. The fact that our testing replicates the job's physical demands makes sure the test remains legally defensible.

Our competitors use machine-based testing, strength and fitness testing, or tests that aren't validated by 1st or 3rd party research and are mostly the same for every company and job. This leaves employers open to lawsuits and violations from their applicants, employees, or the EEOC & ADA.

What Does a Strong Safety Culture Look Like?

So, what does a strong safety culture look like? In a company with a strong safety culture, coworkers routinely look out for one another and point out unsafe behaviors to each other. It's not just about following rules and regulations but about actively promoting and prioritizing safety in all aspects of work. This includes holding regular safety committee meetings and creating recognition programs to reward safety champions. The result is a safer work environment for all employees and decreased incidents.

Characteristics of a Strong Safety Culture

Several key characteristics are omnipresent in a strong safety culture. These include:

  • Commitment From The Top: A strong safety culture begins with the organization's leadership, which must be fully committed to prioritizing safety in all aspects of the business. This includes setting clear safety goals and expectations, allocating resources towards safety initiatives, and holding all employees accountable for their safety behavior.
  • Employee Participation: A strong safety culture is built on the active involvement of all employees. This means encouraging employees to report near misses and incidents, engaging in regular safety training and drills, and fostering a culture of open communication and transparency.
  • Clear Communication: Effective communication is key to a strong safety culture. This includes regularly sharing safety information and updates with employees, providing clear safety protocols and procedures, and actively listening to and addressing employee concerns.
  • Continuous Improvement: A strong safety culture is never static – it is constantly evolving and improving. This means regularly reviewing and updating safety protocols, identifying and addressing potential hazards, and continuously seeking new ways to improve safety in the workplace.

Examples of Companies with Strong Safety Cultures

There are numerous examples of companies that have successfully implemented strong safety cultures. One such company is Kroger Manufacturing, which reduced its recordable injury rate by 83% over 10 years by implementing a comprehensive safety culture program. Other examples include Safeway, Toyota, and DuPont, all of which have implemented robust safety culture programs that have significantly improved safety performance.

How Can Your Organization Benefit from a Strong Safety Culture?

So, how can a good safety culture benefit your organization? For starters, it can increase your organization's productivity by reducing time stoppages due to injury. It can also reduce thousands of dollars in operating costs incurred over the lifespan of workplace injuries. In addition, a strong safety culture can lead to higher productivity, lower turnover rate, increased worker participation, and higher levels of commitment to safety.

Reduced Costs and Increased Productivity

A strong safety culture can significantly impact an organization's bottom line. According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), a strong safety culture "can lead to fewer injuries and illnesses, as well as improved overall organizational performance." A strong safety culture can lead to fewer incidents and related costs, such as medical expenses and lost productivity. When an organization has a strong safety culture, it sets high standards for all safety processes, including strict procedures for reporting, inspections, training, and overall safety management. As a result, the organization experiences fewer incidents and related costs, leading to increased productivity and improved financial performance.

Improved Work Environment and Employee Engagement

A strong safety culture also creates a positive work environment where employees feel valued and supported. When employees feel that their safety is a top priority, they are more likely to be engaged and motivated, leading to increased productivity and overall job satisfaction. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), "employees who feel that their employer cares about their safety and health are more likely to take pride in their work and be more productive." A positive work environment can also lead to improved employee retention, as employees are more likely to stay with a company that values their safety and well-being.

Increased Compliance and Legal Defensibility

In addition to the financial benefits, a strong safety culture can help an organization comply with regulations and avoid legal issues. When an organization has a strong safety culture, it sets high standards for all safety processes, including strict processes for reporting, inspections, training, and overall safety management. This helps the organization meet regulatory requirements and avoid costly fines and legal issues. A strong safety culture can also help an organization defend itself during a lawsuit, as it demonstrates a company's commitment to safety and a proactive approach to risk management.

Creating a Culture of Safety: Key Steps for Success

Creating and maintaining a strong safety culture takes time, effort, and commitment from the entire organization. It requires ongoing communication, training, and safety policies and procedures reinforcement. It also requires effective leadership and a commitment to making safety a top priority. Creating a strong safety culture requires a long-term commitment from the entire organization, especially at the executive level. Here are four key steps to help improve performance and productivity through a culture of safety:

Step 1: Commitment from the Top

Leadership must be fully committed to safety and make it a top priority for a safety culture to thrive. This includes setting clear safety goals and objectives, allocating resources for safety initiatives, and leading by example. When leadership is committed to safety, it sets a tone for the entire organization and shows that safety is a core value.

Step 2: Employee Participation

Encouraging employee participation in safety is crucial for building a strong safety culture. This includes giving employees a voice in safety decision-making and involving them in identifying and resolving safety issues. When employees feel that their input is valued and that they have a stake in the safety of their work environment, they are more likely to be engaged and motivated.

Step 3: Clear Communication

Effective communication is essential for building a strong safety culture. This includes communicating safety expectations, providing regular safety training, and encouraging open communication about safety concerns. Organizations can proactively identify and address potential risks before they become incidents by fostering an environment where employees feel comfortable speaking up about safety issues.

Step 4: Continuous Improvement & Training

Creating a strong safety culture is an ongoing process that requires continuous improvement. This includes regularly reviewing and updating safety policies and procedures, conducting regular safety audits, and tracking and analyzing safety performance data. By continuously improving safety processes, organizations can identify areas for improvement and make ongoing progress toward a more robust safety culture.


When an organization has a strong safety culture, it sets high standards for all safety processes, including strict procedures for reporting, inspections, training, and overall safety management. This is achieved through the use of accountability systems that promote a sense of commitment to safety and encourage employee participation and accountability in workplace safety. As a result, the organization experiences fewer incidents and related costs, such as medical expenses and lost productivity.

But don't just take our word for it. Numerous reputable institutions have recognized the importance of a strong safety culture. According to a study by the University of California, Berkeley, "a strong safety culture is essential for the success of any organization."  The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) also states that "a strong safety culture can be a powerful tool for improving the health and well-being of workers."

These factors contribute to a positive work environment that ultimately improves employee satisfaction and retention. A strong safety culture can also improve a company's reputation and brand image. Consumers are increasingly choosing to do business with companies that prioritize safety, and a strong safety culture can help attract new customers and business partners.

ErgoScience Can Help

At ErgoScience, we understand the importance of a strong safety culture and have the expertise and resources to help your organization create and maintain one. Contact us today to learn more about our injury prevention programs and how we can help your organization improve its safety culture.

So don't wait any longer. You can start building a strong safety culture at your organization today. The benefits are clear, and the time to act is now. You can contact ErgoScience at to learn more about how we can help you create a culture of safety that will benefit your employees and your bottom line.


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OSHA, Boogeyman, or Helping Hand? Demystifying OSHA Compliance

Posted by Justin Shepherd
Nov 1, 2022 12:46:23 PM

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If you're involved in the safety industry, you're familiar with the acronym OSHA. But do you know what OSHA is or what they do? Is OSHA the boogeyman, constantly hiding behind the next corner, waiting to pounce on your next mistake?

Well, information cancels out fear, so let's do some education.


The Occupational Safety and Health Administration, more commonly known by its acronym OSHA, is responsible for protecting worker health and safety in the United States. Congress created OSHA in 1971 following its passage of the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 to ensure safe and healthy working conditions for workers by enforcing workplace laws and standards and providing training, outreach, education, and assistance. In 1970, when the Government enacted the OSHA Act, there were 14,000 worker deaths and 2.5 million disabled workers in the United States. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that by 2017 the workforce in the U.S. had almost doubled, but the number of worker deaths had decreased to 5,000, which, when adjusted for workforce growth, amounts to a nearly 80% reduction in workplace deaths. And it's not just deaths; recordable instances have dropped from 10.9 per 100 workers in 1970 to 2.8 per 100 workers in 2017.

OSHA Coverage:

OSHA coverage extends to most, but not all, private-sector employers and their workers. OSHA rules cover most non-public workplaces, including construction, logging, manufacturing, and many others. The agency also covers some public sector employers and their workers, usually through state OSHA agencies that regulate public sector employers. However, OSHA does not protect self-employed workers or immediate members of farm families who do not employ non-family workers. OSHA extends throughout all U.S. states, territories, and jurisdictions. States can have their own federally approved occupational safety and health regulatory programs (currently, 22 states do), called state plans. The State-Plan States must have regulations as stringent as federal OSHA regulations, but they can also implement stricter rules if they choose.

OSHA Standards: 

OSHA determines which standards and requirements apply to workplace environments and then enforces employer adherence to those standards and requirements. OSHA sets these standards and conditions based on workplace research and input from subject matter experts and other stakeholders. To help employers adhere to its standards and requirements, OSHA offers training and consultation to educate employers and employees. OSHA must explain the procedures, equipment, and training that employers and workers must use to reduce hazards and ensure safety measures specific to the employers' workplace and workers' jobs.

OSHA Enforcement:

In addition to education and training, OSHA is tasked with enforcement. OSHA officials can issue fines ranging into tens of thousands of dollars for violations (even more for repeat violations) and refer violators for criminal prosecution if they deem such action warranted. Recently, OSHA has even referred workplace safety violations to state district attorney offices in fatality cases, allowing individuals (owners, safety managers) within an organization to be charged when willful negligence is found.

OSHA is also tasked with identifying possible causes of job-related injuries, deaths, and illnesses. According to a U.S. Department of Labor release, just last week, OSHA cited Dollar General with four willful and ten repeat violations for "failing to keep receiving and storage areas clean and orderly, and stacking materials in an unsafe manner. These violations exposed workers to hazards associated with slips, trips, and being struck by objects." [1] The company faces $1,682,302 in proposed penalties after these inspections, a portion of the more than $9.6 million total initial penalties the company has received since 2017. To date, OSHA's most significant action has been against B.P. Products of North America Inc., following a 2005 explosion and fire at the B.P. Texas City Refinery, which killed 15 workers and injured 170. The proposed penalties totaled $87.4 million.

OSHA Compliance:

To comply with OSHA requirements, employers must take several specific actions; those include inspecting the workplace for potential hazards, eliminating or minimizing hazards, keeping records of workplace injuries and illness, training employees to recognize safety and health hazards, and educating employees on precautions to prevent accidents. OSHA also requires employees to follow the rules, such as complying with all applicable OSHA standards, following OSHA safety regulations, wearing required protective equipment, reporting hazardous conditions, and reporting job-related injuries and illnesses. OSHA also protects employees by guaranteeing a host of rights. Those include the right to have copies of OSHA regulations and request information about workplace hazards, precautions, and procedures. To request OSHA inspections if they believe hazardous conditions or violations exist in their workplace and to refuse to be exposed to the danger of death or serious physical harm.

Additionally, OSHA and federal laws protect workers who complain or report possible violations to their employers, OSHA, or other agencies against retaliation. Employers are prohibited from taking adverse personnel action against a whistleblower. Employees who feel their legal rights have been infringed upon can file a complaint to OSHA alleging employer retaliation.

Why you need OSHA's help:

Just because OSHA has regulatory and even punitive capabilities doesn't mean they are the bad guy. We all want our team members to go home in the same condition they showed up to work in, and OSHA wants the same thing. Because of this, OSHA offers "no-cost and confidential occupational safety and health services to small- and medium-sized businesses in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and several U.S. territories, with priority given to high-hazard worksites. On-Site Consultation services are separate from enforcement and do not result in penalties or citations. Consultants from state agencies or universities work with employers to identify workplace hazards, provide advice for compliance with OSHA standards, and assist in establishing and improving safety and health programs." [2]


So, use the tools that OSHA has provided, and when you need additional help identifying and remediating the issues, contact ErgoScience. With 30 years of experience in ergonomics and injury reduction, we can help you identify and fix the problems. And if you've engineered out the ergonomics issues but still have injuries, you're hiring the wrong people. We can help with that too. Let us show you how a legally defensible pre-hire physical ability testing program can help you put the right people in the right jobs, and you sit back and watch your injuries drop by an average of 73%.

HURRY! Contact us today for more information.



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How ComputerVision AI Helps Companies with OSHA Compliance

Posted by Deborah Lechner
Oct 24, 2022 8:39:24 AM

How ComputerVision AI Helps Companies with OSHA Compliance blog graphic

What is ComputerVision AI?


ComputerVision AI is a broad category of technology that applies to everything from facility management to targeted ergonomic assessments. For this blog post, I will refer to ComputerVision AI for targeted and detailed ergonomic assessments. In this niche application, the software builds complex 3D models of the human body moving through space from standard videos – videos recorded through a mobile app or uploaded on web-based software. With this information, the system completes Industry-standard ergonomic assessments that quantify risks with a standard methodology that prioritizes interventions to prevent workplace injury.


After a video is uploaded, the system automatically determines the hazardous postures in a job, the frequency of movements, and the duration of postures held. Then the AI recommends which postures and parts of the body the Industrial Athlete should adjust to mitigate the risk of injury.


Benefits of ComputerVision AI. There are many benefits to using ComputerVision AI in the field of ergonomics:

  • The user obtains more objective ergonomic hazard analysis data
  • The hazard data covers the entire task, not just one brief snapshot of the task
  • The resulting data indicates the limb segments that are creating most of the risk
  • The program also predicts how much the industrial athlete can mitigate risk by addressing each limb segment.

ComputerVision AI Helps with OSHA Compliance.

Another huge side benefit of using ComputerVision AI is that it can help organizations remain in compliance with the requirements of OSHA 29 CFR 1910.269(a)(2)(iv). Paragraph 1910.269(a)(2)(iv) states the following: "The employer shall determine, through regular supervision and thorough inspections conducted on at least an annual basis, that each employee is complying with the safety-related work practices required by this section."

It's important to note that OSHA changed the word "and" in the paragraph above from "or" in 2014. In other words, employers can no longer claim compliance with OSHA 29 CFR 1910.269(a)(2)(iv) with just regular supervision. This change is significant. Conducting inspections of field personnel has become a regulatory compliance issue. Supervisors should perform a second observation after the industrial athletes implement any corrective action to ensure they follow through on the AI's recommendations.

Ergonomics is essential in any field inspection where workers handle materials, maintain their positions for extended periods, or perform repetitive movements. Of course, ergonomists can conduct field inspections without ComputerVision AI. BUT… they're more subjective, cumbersome to complete, and often employees are disengaged with the process. In addition, supervisors and managers are hesitant to do them because ergonomics isn't their expertise. ComputerVision AI does a lot of the work for the management team and provides them with the expertise they need.

ComputerVision AI Focuses on Leading Indicators.

OSHA requires employers to record their injury and illness statistics. But these statistics are lagging indicators. They often have little to no impact on the safety practices of an organization and the prevention of future injuries.

In contrast, regular field inspections provide leading indicators because they show whether employees apply safety principles in the field. In the case of ergonomics, field inspections show whether employees are lifting and carrying materials safely. They also identify situations where employees reach beyond the safety zone to obtain materials and supplies and get into unnecessarily awkward positions. Or when slightly changing work practices would minimize unnecessary risk. AI can prevent many, if not most, injuries by identifying these ergonomic hazards and evolving work practices, workstation setup, or using tools and equipment differently. 

ComputerVision AI helps managerial staff and safety managers conduct these inspections with confidence that they are basing their recommendations on objective data and not just subjective opinions.

ComputerVision AI engages frontline employees in the field inspection process.

Field inspections are not always well received by employees. But ComputerVision AI changes employee attitudes even within one inspection session.

How? Employees are curious about the technology. Evaluators can show them a previous example with their cell phones or tablets. Then employees start to wonder what they would look like if they improved their technique. What would their scores be? And at that point, their engagement pivots. They are more eager to be videotaped. In addition, the software can block their faces for privacy concerns. Once they receive feedback, are videotaped again, and see the dramatic changes in their scores, they are motivated to change.
When the session concludes with praise for a job done well and safely, observer-employee-employer relationships grow.

Reassessment with ComputerVision AI.

ComputerVision AI helps to determine the effectiveness of training, ergonomic modifications to tools and equipment, and workstation modifications. Performing observations with ComputerVision AI helps companies track data and analyze trends to determine future ergonomic-related needs, such as training, modifying workstations, and purchasing new PPE, tools, or equipment.  

Before You Begin Using ComputerVision AI

Starting a ComputerVision AI ergonomic inspection program at your company requires purchasing software or hiring ergonomic consultants specializing in ComputerVision AI inspections and training. Naturally, you'll have to get buy-in from leadership which means explaining the importance of meeting OSHA's requirement for field inspections, explaining the role of ComputerVision AI ergonomics in injury prevention, and, last but not least, presenting a projected return on investment.

OSHA and the National Council on Compensation Insurance's (NCCI) Workers Compensation Statistical Plan Database have statistics that can support your projections. Since the average direct and indirect costs of a lost time workplace injury are over $80K, it's often easy to justify these programs.

Once they sign on to the ComputerVision AI program, leadership should regularly participate in field observations. Regular observations will support field personnel's acceptance of the inspection program and help to strengthen the safety culture of the organization.

Corrective action policies are essential to consider before developing the inspection program. If you have a policy that reprimands employees based on the inspections or is otherwise negatively focused, it will be tough to get buy-in regardless of the technology used. You may need to negotiate a new policy or an addendum to the existing approach to allow for inspections and coaching without reprimand.

Conducting Inspections with ComputerVision AI

Safety management personnel, operations supervisors, and managers can conduct the ComputerVision AI ergonomic inspection program. ErgoScience experience has shown us that even though the technology is extremely user-friendly, those implementing ComputerVision AI will likely need some training in basic ergonomic principles, use of the technology, and field practice under supervision to maximize the success of the program. In addition, we provide a hotline for questions regarding the use of the technology or the appropriateness of recommendations.

One of the benefits of having supervisors or managers perform field inspections is that they can connect with frontline personnel, hear any concerns, and give positive feedback for correcting unsafe work practices. An advantage of having safety personnel conduct the field inspections is that they typically have a little more experience and knowledge, depending on their backgrounds, in the field of ergonomics.

For managers and supervisors to be effective in performing the inspections, they need training in the following:

  • The basic principles of ergonomics and safe work practices in manual materials handling
  • The use of the ComputerVision AI software and interpretation of the scores.
  • Coaching, explaining the software outputs to employees, and providing corrective feedback.
  • Providing sincere, positive feedback for improving safe work practices.
  • How to address concerns regarding equipment or workstation setup.

When a non-ergonomic infraction occurs during an ergonomic inspection, it presents an opportunity to find out why it happened. For example, perhaps a worker isn't wearing the appropriate PPE because of poor fit and discomfort. The solution would be to provide the worker with better-fitting PPE. Managers and supervisors should address major life-threatening safety infractions more firmly.

Scoring and Tracking

Once the videotaping is complete and uploaded into the software, the software calculates an overall task hazard score. It indicates which body segments contribute the most to the overall hazard score. The software also notes the percent improvement in the overall hazard score expected if the employee changes that body or limb segment position. Management can share the scores with the employee, and together the manager and frontline worker can problem-solve the best work practices to address the hazards. It might make the most sense for the organization to change the workstation setup or positioning of materials altogether to further aid in improving the scores.

Managers/supervisors need to recognize good work practices whenever possible and then offer feedback about what needs improvement to achieve a better score in the future.

After the audit is complete and supervisors share the results with employees; management can add notes to the reports stating what advice the employee received and attach another video of the worker using the recommended work practices. The safety team can use this method to provide a comparison report documenting change from pre to post-feedback.


OSHA requires field inspections, and ComputerVision AI can help make the process easier, more efficient, and more objective. Managers and supervisors are more willing to conduct the audits. Frontline workers get significantly more engaged than with standard ergonomic assessments and feedback. ComputerVision is a valuable tool that can help a company determine if evaluations and feedback have been effective. Maintaining documentation of these inspections keeps organizations in compliance with OSHA.

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The Turnover Hamster Wheel: Five Ways to Get Off It.

Posted by Deborah Lechner
Oct 17, 2022 10:53:29 AM

Hamster wheel of turnover blog pic

Since the pandemic, the average turnover rate has mushroomed to 47.5%! This means that nearly half of every position filled will need to be filled again. (1)


The Impact of Injuries.

And to make matters worse, newly hired employees are significantly more likely to experience a work-related injury within the first months of employment. A review of federal accident data showed that employees in their first year on the job account for 40% of all workplace injuries, and half of that 40% occurred within the first 90 days on the job. (2)

 In another study of 3752 employees, 31.2% terminated their employment before the first 2 months on the job. The risk of early resignation was significantly greater among those who had visited the occupational health clinic to address a work-related injury during those first 60 days. (3)


With 14 workplace injuries happening every second, you can bet that workplace injuries impact turnover. (4)


The Impact of Heavy Physical Demands.

It's not just injuries that create an early exit. In a study published in 2020 involving 2351 employees, heavy physical requirements such as awkward body postures, heavy lifting, and high work pace were associated with an early exit. (5) People who have never done physically demanding work or have done it in a while get easily overwhelmed with heavy lifting and highly repetitive work. The exit strategy is often not showing up for work the next day. One of our clients related the story of a delivery driver who abandoned his entire loaded truck in a parking lot rather than complete the rest of the workday!

Turnover is Expensive.

According to the Department of Labor, turnover is expensive, adding up to about a third of the replaced worker's annual salary in lost productivity, recruiting, retention, and replacement costs. Suppose the turnover is due to a lost-time injury. In that case, the company is incurring an additional $40K in direct injury costs and (according to OSHA) another $44K in indirect costs for a total injury cost of $84,000.

A Whopping Example.

Take the average warehouse worker earning $28,500. Based on the above figures:

  • turnover costs = $9.4K
  • lost time injury = $84K
  • Total Cost = $93K
  • Assume a 3% profit margin
  • Additional Sales to cover total injury costs = $2.8M

Once the other sales to cover the turnover costs have been added, the actual price of that lost time injury + turnover will equal an astounding $3M! That's the actual cost of injuries and turnover.

So, what can you do?

5 Ways To Get Off The Proverbial Wheel

  1. Pre Employment Testing of Physical Abilities.

    A logical first step for preventing injuries is hiring individuals capable of performing the physical requirements of the work. Pre-employment Physical Abilities Testing addresses two birds with one approach – not only are employees capable of performing the work less likely to be injured, but they are also less likely to depart early from their jobs. The current severe workforce shortage, however, makes eliminating job candidates for any reason difficult. Not to mention that recruiters are incentivized on the number of positions filled or the time required to fill positions (shorter being better). So, employers today are hiring just about anyone they can find.

But is this the way to hire? Let's look at some more numbers.

Without pre-hire Physical Abilities Testing, you can assume that approximately 10% (10) of those you hire will experience a lost time injury. If you hire 100 warehouse workers and each lost time strain or sprain requires the company to increase sales by $3M, suddenly, sales must be increased by $30M to make up for those bad hires. Did the company gain $30M worth of business by making those 10 bad hires? Only you and your organization can answer that…but, likely, the math does not add up.

  1. Physical Abilities Placement.

    If you're not convinced to do physical abilities testing to select applicants, consider using Physical Abilities Testing post-hire for placement. If you have jobs of varying levels of physical difficulty, you can use a test with multiple passing criteria and place people according to the level at which they passed.
  2. Ergonomic Assessment.

    Whether selecting or placing applicants or reducing the physical stress associated with your jobs makes sense. An ergonomic assessment, at least for the jobs creating most of the injuries, can help identify and quantify the ergonomic risk factors. ErgoScience utilizes Computer Vision AI for its ergonomics assessments. The use of this cutting-edge technology makes our assessments more objective and cost-effective. Supervisors can also use the technology for training your workforce in better materials handling and safer work practices.
  3. Ergonomic Training.

    Classroom training alone has been shown to have minimal impact on improving materials handling techniques or reducing strains and sprains. But with Computer Vision AI, you can personalize and augment your ergonomic training. The technology shows the front-line employees exactly which movements and body postures create ergonomic hazards. Repeating the assessment using better body mechanics or more safe work practices shows them the precise impact of those improvements and makes a lasting impression that engages and motivates employees to work smarter, not harder.

In addition, wearable sensors can reinforce the day-to-day implementation of your ergonomic training. They provide haptic feedback (think slight vibration) when employees get out of the safe zone, bend too much, twist the body, or lift in an unsafe manner. The haptic feedback helps them improve over time, and their progress can be tracked by safety/management. Reports can also show which areas of your operation create the most significant risk factors.

  1. OSHA-Compliant Early Intervention Programs (EIP)

    All of the above solutions are primary prevention approaches. But even if you implement all of them, there will still be some employees who experience fatigue and discomfort. The key is to have a program that can address this discomfort before it becomes full-blown pain and a recordable or worse - a lost time injury. OSHA allows three interventions that are considered "first aid" for musculoskeletal issues:
  • Heat and cold
  • Massage
  • Non-rigid supports (think kinesiotaping)

In addition, the EIP practitioner can educate program participants on proper lifting techniques, body mechanics, and body positioning for achieving the best ergonomic work practices. Most participants come for 3 to 6 30-minute sessions. The program can be administered onsite, provided there is ample space. The convenience of onsite promotes participation. Alternatively, the program can be provided by PTs in a near-site clinic. In our experience, at least 70% of participants decreased their discomfort and improved their function with EIP. The other 30% triage to a physician or physical therapist.

Bottom Line.

There's no question that injuries and turnover are sucking the life out of our businesses. Just think what you could do with the resources spent on the $3M/injury turnover! Raises? New Equipment? Research and development of new products and services? But it's not hopeless. Some strategies can have a significant impact on both injuries and turnover.

Act now. Click here to discuss ErgoScience injury and turnover prevention strategies.


(1) Bureau of Labor Statistics

(2) Christopher D. B. Burt. New Employee Safety: Risk Factors and Management Strategie, 2015

(3) Nathan C. Huizinga et al., Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2019 Feb; 16(3): 433.


(5) Angelo d’Errico et al, Int Arch of Occup Env Health, 2021 94, Feb 117–138.


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Wearable Sensors & Ergonomics: The Perfect Marriage

Posted by Justin Shepherd
Oct 4, 2022 12:30:14 PM

Wearable Sensors Blog Image

Ergonomics In The Workplace

As long as physically demanding jobs exist, there will be efforts to make them safer and less risky for both the employee and the employer. According to the National Safety Council, work-related injuries cost US companies nearly 164 billion dollars in 2020; that's almost half a billion dollars per day!

While the cost is increasing, work-related injuries have always been an unfortunate part of the landscape of physically demanding jobs. Until the robots completely take over, they will remain so. This fact, combined with data that shows our workforce is getting older and, therefore, more susceptible to musculoskeletal injuries, pushes us to identify new technologies to reduce, or better yet prevent, these incidents from occurring.

Injury Prevention

As injury prevention experts, we're constantly searching for ways to recognize the hazards of physically demanding jobs so we can attempt to decrease the risk of injury. We're all familiar with the hierarchy of controls when it comes to job safety:

  1. Elimination – Physically removing the hazard
  2. Substitution – Replacing the hazard
  3. Engineering Controls – Isolating workers from the hazard
  4. Administrative Controls – Changing the way people work
  5. PPE – Providing workers with proper Personal Protective Equipment

These are listed in order of most effective (removing the risk) to least effective (providing PPE).

Removing all hazardous activities from every job would be fantastic, but that's unrealistic. Some jobs are inherently risky; hopefully, employers will do their best to make them as safe as possible.

What happens when a job, or one of the tasks required to perform that job, can't be eliminated?

Preventing Injuries With Wearable Sensors & Ergonomics

Ergonomists have historically been called upon to observe job-related tasks, identify the risky behaviors involved with performing the task, and give suggestions on decreasing the risk. There are limitations, however. It is challenging to observe every aspect of every job; some hazardous tasks infrequently happen under normal circumstances, and some only occur in emergencies. An action that isn't observed can't be improved or removed.

What if there was a way to "observe" an employee and collect biomechanical data on movements and postures the whole time they were working? It would cost a fortune to have an ergonomist on site all day following each worker, and it would likely cause a massive disruption to production.

Thankfully, technology allows us to do just that without physically following an employee's every move.

Wearable sensors have been developed that track joint angles, postures, and repetitions of movements, not to mention heart rate, location in a facility, proximity to heavy equipment, temperature, light, humidity, decibels… Everything informs us about preventing injuries without needing a human following the worker and with much greater detail than an ergonomist could provide.

For example, an ergonomist can observe a worker performing a lifting task and approximate the angle of bend for the trunk, shoulders, and knees. They could count the number of repetitions that worker performs that specific task while observing and then extrapolate to come up with an approximate total for a whole day.

Put a wearable sensor on that same employee, and you'll collect exact angles for the involved joints and the precise number of repetitions of each task. In addition, you can identify trends like days of the week, or even times during each day, when employees are exerting themselves maximally, which makes industrial athletes more likely to get injured. Also, you can recognize specific periods when biomechanics begin to break down (do behaviors become riskier later in the week when fatigue may be more of a factor?).

You can use the data to identify workers with good body mechanics and use that information to inform other workers on proper techniques.

You can collect data specific to each individual to know precisely what coaching method will effectively reduce the risk for that employee.

Changing Behavior With Wearable Sensors

Another benefit of wearable sensors is that often you don't even need to wait for a "coaching" opportunity face-to-face. Many sensors can provide immediate haptic feedback (a light but noticeable vibration) to indicate when a risky posture or activity is taking place. This type of immediate feedback can be much more effective at changing behavior than traditional one-off coaching that occurs randomly after the behavior occurs.

Once behaviors have been addressed and changed, sensors allow employers to track those changes to see if they stick and revisit them when necessary.

Contact ErgoScience Today!

So, how do you implement this technology? At ErgoScience, we've partnered with some of the world's leading wearable sensor companies. Not only can we help you get the technology into your facility, but we also have the expertise in ergonomics and biomechanics to help you make sense of the data to bring your injuries down and give you the greatest possible return on investment.

Contact us today to find out how easily you can bring your ergonomics program into the 21st century!

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Why a Medical Release to Return to Work “ain’t all that…”

Posted by Deborah Lechner
Jul 19, 2022 10:50:33 AM

Return-to-Work Physical Abilities Testing in Workers’ Compensation Cases Changes the Game

After an injured worker has received medical treatment, physical therapy, – maybe even surgery - the release to work decision is typically made by the treating physician.

Is that a good thing? Not always…

The physician is deciding whether the injury is medically resolved or, in more chronic cases, whether the person has reached “Maximum Medical Improvement (MMI).

Typically, that decision is based on some combination of x-rays, MRIs, physical examination of the injured body part, standards of clinical practice, watching the patient move, or…asking the patient if they feel “ready to go back to work.”

You might say the decision is based 20-30% upon objective information but a whole lot based on intuition.

But no one has EVALUATED whether the person still has the physical ability to do the job…

After all, the person did the job BEFORE the injury. Why can he/she/they do the job NOW?

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Logistics KPIs: How Pre Hire Assessment of Physical Abilities Helps Achieve Them…

Posted by Deborah Lechner
Jul 12, 2022 2:43:10 PM

Pre Employment Testing of Applicant Physical Abilities Helps Logistics  Achieve KPIs

In the warehouse and logistics industry, it’s all about speed and accuracy. And the industry’s KPIs reflect those two factors:

Speed Related KPIs: On-Time Shipping – shows the percentage of shipments that left the warehouse on time. Inability to ship on time can create disappointed customers and decrease the likelihood that shipments make it to the customer in time for a pending event.

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The Stress of Heat Stress: How It Affects Your Workforce…

Posted by Deborah Lechner
Jun 22, 2022 3:40:57 PM

heat stress

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Now that you've hired someone who can't do the job...what next?

Posted by Deborah Lechner
May 24, 2022 4:47:07 PM

If you think you just can't afford to do Pre-Hire Physical Abilities Testing with the current workforce shortage...what CAN you do to prevent injuries?    

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