TRW Improves Health and Safety While Increasing Productivity with Humantech
TRW’s Automotive Division, including its Cookeville, Tennessee, site, embraces lean manufacturing as its operating philosophy, aggressively targeting areas of waste to reduce costs and increase profitability. In addition, TRW decided to target improvements in injury/illness rates to harness the power of lean manufacturing’s impact on worker health and safety.
Leading TRW’s ergonomics initiative, its Cookeville, Tennessee site achieved a 90% reduced severity rate in the first 24 months. This impressive achievement was reached with little capital investment during a time when production volume was increasing by 15%. Since then MSD incidence rates have been reduced by 83% and the total lost workday incidence rate by 85%.
- The Humantech System
Lean manufacturing initiatives rely on quantifiable measures to prioritize improvement needs and track success. To effectively integrate ergonomics with lean manufacturing, ergonomic risk must also be measured. TRW uses Humantech’s BRIEF™ Survey to quantify ergonomic risk at workstations. It combines the survey data with operator discomfort and past injury/illness data to develop a site risk map that is used to prioritize areas for improvement. An integral part of TRW’s approach included targeting technicians, engineers, and supervisors to attend Humantech’s Applied Ergonomics training course, giving them the essential skills they needed to be successful in improving existing workstations and designing new processes for future products. TRW also utilized a job improvement process emphasizing operator involvement. The division embraced operator involvement through formal reviews of new job designs and Kaizen processes for continuous improvement, welcoming the operators’ expertise into the process and, at the same time, gaining their approval and support.