Limited economic evaluation to assess the effectiveness of a university-wide office ergonomics program

Balmatee Bidassie, James D. McGlothlin, Alina Goh, Robert G. Feyen, James W. Barany

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


The objective of this research was to evaluate the effectiveness and provide a limited economic evaluation of an office ergonomics program at a major university from 1995 to 2007. The relationship between office-related recordable injuries, reported lost time, severity of these injuries, and the Workers' Compensation (WC) paid was analyzed and the corresponding incident cost was calculated. Two major datasets analyzed were OSHA 200/300 logs (1991-2007) and WC claims paid (1999-2007). Since the beginning of the office ergonomics program in 1995 and through 2007 (13-year period), the number of office cumulative trauma disorder (CTD) cases decreased by 53%. Since the official start (in 1999) of a 50-50 cost share agreement for office equipment purchases between the university's Safety and Health Department (SHD) and the university departments evaluated, it was observed that the incident rate decreased by 63%, Total Days Away/restrict or Transfer (DART) rate decreased by 41%, Lost Time Case (LTC) rate decreased by 71% and office-related carpal tunnel syndrome decreased by almost 50%. The long-term goal of this research is to demonstrate the self-sustainability of an office ergonomics program by showing that equipment costs are eventually offset by a decrease in WC claims paid and lost time from office-related injuries and illnesses. While limited, this research helps in cost-justifying the implementation of future office ergonomics programs for large organizations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)417-427
Number of pages11
JournalApplied Ergonomics
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 2010

Bibliographical note

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  • Cost-justification analysis
  • Cumulative trauma disorders
  • Incident cost
  • Office ergonomics program
  • Workers' compensation


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