Ergonomics consultant helps with a claimant
October 06, 2020 Claims Services

Role of the Ergonomic Consultant

Beacon's ergonomic consultants play a unique role in reducing worklessness by cultivating, expediting, and promoting safe and sustainable return-to-work plans throughout all phases of the claims handling process. The ergonomic consultants apply ergonomic principles whether working directly onsite or through remote virtual channels to offer reasonable, valid, and cost effective evidence based recommendations to promote safety, security, and overall wellbeing in the workplace.

Why are Ergonomic Evaluations Important?

Claim specific ergonomic evaluations are conducted to analyze workstations and functional job tasks in an effort to customize an injured worker’s environment to their specific work abilities, in response to their work related injury. These claim specific assessments are often accompanied with recommendations and are important in assisting the injured worker back to gainful employment. 

Ergonomic evaluations are able to help the injured worker overcome their fear of re-injury and alleviate any apprehension they may have in returning to their preinjury position.

The Impact of Worklessness

Prolonged worklessness is known to adversely impact both the injured worker and employer in different ways. As for the injured worker, lost time from work can effectuate financial hardship resulting in high stress levels, loss of control, and fear. Other known detrimental byproducts of worklessness often include a lack of physical activity, altered daily routines, depression, strained relationships, and altered sleep patterns. Ergonomic evaluations help to mitigate these negative biosocial and psychosocial stressors often associated with being out of work.

Likewise, employers are not immune from the deleterious effects of what is often considered preventable, prolonged, worklessness. Some of the negative effects from prolonged worklessness include the temporary and/or permanent loss of workers, retraining costs, increased workers’ compensation premiums, production loss, and more. Ergonomic evaluations help to address these unfavorable effects to the employer by addressing lost time from work.

What is the role of the Ergonomic Consultant in Workers' Compensation Claims?

Beacon's highly trained ergonomic consultants play crucial roles in reducing worklessness by cultivating, expediting, and promoting safe and sustainable return-to-work plans throughout all phases of the claims handling process. They actively engage and collaborate with all stakeholders and essentially serve as “translators” to the medical community, employers, injured workers, and the claim handling specialists. Through an ergonomic evaluation the consultant is able to help match the injured worker’s functional abilities to the physical job demands, thereby helping to prevent unnecessary and prolonged absenteeism at the workplace.

The ergonomic consultants, some of whom are licensed physical therapists, proactively educate and objectively evaluate work environments to identify ergonomic risk factors and expose any unforeseen workplace hazards. In doing so the ergonomic consultants help to prevent reoccurrences and aggravations of workplace injuries.

The ergonomic consultants apply ergonomic principles whether working directly onsite or through remote virtual channels to offer reasonable, valid, and cost effective evidence based recommendations to promote safety, security, and overall wellbeing in the workplace.

The ergonomic consultants assist employers with helping to identify modified duty options for their workers and expeditiously relaying the information to the appropriate medical professionals. The types of modified duty jobs identified during an evaluation are often individualized and unique to the injured worker’s medical diagnosis. Through their efforts, ergonomic consultants essentially help design a safe workspace for the returning injured worker to successfully thrive.

What are the long term benefits of this service?

Ergonomic evaluations provide numerous long term benefits to many of those involved in the handling of the workers’ compensation claim. Since the ergonomic intervention helps to promote early return-to-work, common outcomes include greater employee job satisfaction and elevated employee engagement. According to Gallup, engaged employees experience fewer workplace accidents resulting in less absenteeism1 and overall have fewer health problems2 which translates into two long term positive benefits to both the worker and employer.

Ergonomic evaluations also serve as a tool to guide medical professionals in making confident and effective return-to-work readiness decisions after an injury. Medical providers appreciate accurate and detailed job information from the ergonomic reports and take notice when an employer supports and engages in the ergonomic evaluation process. This in turn builds long term trust, demonstrates employer commitment, and suggests to the medical provider that their patient is likely returning to a secure, caring, and safe work environment.


  1. Rigoni, B. and Nelson, B. (2016, May). Engaged Workplaces Are Safer for Employees.
    https://news.gallup.com/businessjournal/191831/engaged-workplaces-safer-employees.aspx
  2. Harter, J. and Adkins, A. (2015, December 15).Engaged Employees Less Likely to Have Health Problems.
    https://news.gallup.com/poll/187865/engaged-employees-less-likely-health-problems.aspx)

Safety-doesnt-happen-by-accident

 

Keri Koziol
Written by

Keri Koziol

Manager, Managed Care Unit

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