Hamilton Sundstrand Reduces Lost Workdays with Humantech
With 2006 revenues of $5 billion, Hamilton Sundstrand is among the world’s largest suppliers of technologically advanced aerospace and industrial products. The company employs approximately 18,000 people worldwide and is headquartered in Windsor Locks, Connecticut. Hamilton Sundstrand designs, manufactures, and services aerospace systems, and provides integrated system solutions for commercial, regional, corporate, and military aircraft. It also is a major supplier for international space programs.
Humantech assisted Hamilton Sundstrand with establishing an ergonomics initiative. The combined effort resulted in an 83% reduction in recordable injuries, and an 84% reduction in lost workdays, over a period of seven years.
Hamilton Sundstrand is committed to being a leader in its industry by protecting the health and safety of its employees. However, in 1999, 55% of the company’s on-site accidents were reported as strains, sprains, and other types of repetitive motion injuries caused by poor ergonomics.
Workstation design contributed to these accidents and injuries, and resulted not only in employee discomfort, but reduced performance. Ultimately, these factors affected Hamilton Sundstrand’s bottom line. As part of its ten-year improvement plan, the company sought Humantech’s help in establishing a standardized ergonomics process.
Since 2000, Mark Stuhlman, an environmental health and safety specialist with Hamilton Sundstrand, has managed an ergonomics initiative that identified sites where ergonomic injuries were most likely to occur. Working with Humantech, Hamilton Sundstrand developed a standardized process to focus on reducing ergonomic injuries company-wide. Cross-functional teams, including managers, EHS personnel, line employees and other employees, were trained to identify and address poor ergonomic conditions, and the potential for injury. Involving employees in the process to improve ergonomic conditions not only improved work-site safety, but also helped boost employee morale; employees felt satisfaction in helping to improve working conditions.
In addition to initial training, Humantech provided a Train-the- Trainer program at one facility to commence continued training at the employee level. Hamilton Sundstrand was then able to apply several of Humantech’s risk assessment tools (BRIEF™, EASY™, BEST™, NIOSH lifting analysis, push/pull guidelines), and provide a review and budget to make recommended design improvements at each workstation. Access to these methodologies was straightforward and enabled the cross- functional teams to perform risk assessments independently. In addition, Humantech helped to establish corporate-wide metrics with an emphasis on engineering and design to ultimately achieve performance goals.
Risk assessment tools were made available in multiple languages to accommodate a larger population of employees, at numerous global sites. Humantech tools are currently accessible internally on Hamilton Sundstrand’s intranet. Some sites have implemented Humantech’s ergoTool™, a Web-based self-assessment and solution software program that focuses on improving ergonomics in the office environment.
With an improved ergonomics process, including combined training, and ergonomic assessment and solutions, Hamilton Sundstrand has experienced a significant reduction in recordable worker injuries and lost workdays since 1999.
In 2006, Hamilton Sundstrand had a total recordable injury rate of 0.6, down from 1.30 in 2004, and from 3.63 in 1999. Similarly, there was a significant reduction in lost workdays with a rate of .15 in 2006, down from .22 in 2004, and from .97 in 1999. Since 1999, there has been an 83% reduction in recordable incidents and an 84% reduction in lost workdays. Hamilton Sundstrand plans to continue this success and has set a goal of an additional 30% reduction in both of these areas by 2010.
Remarkably, the company not only maintains a safer working environment for its employees, but one that improves employee productivity and morale. The path of improved ergonomic conditions continues from facility to facility with the FORM (Fix Once, Repeat Many) approach. Hamilton Sundstrand’s next challenge is to ensure future products and processes are designed with ergonomics in mind at all sites as part of its proactive approach to continuous improvement.
- Aerospace & Defense