A common misconception in industry
is that an unsuccessful ergonomics process is due to a lack of the necessary tools to
make it successful. However, many companies have the tools in house to advance their
ergonomics initiatives – they just need to recognize the successes from their other
processes and apply the same concepts to their ergonomics initiative!
A recent article from EHSToday focuses on the success of Hospira Inc.
(Injectable Pharmaceuticals) at reducing their carbon footprint and overall
environmental waste. There are a number of steps that can be taken from this
article that are often related to flourishing ergonomics processes as well:
Set goals and create leading
metrics (risk reduction, number of individuals trained, number of “red” jobs) –
the first step in any ergonomics process is to set goals that are achievable
and measurable. Without this, the success of an ergonomics process has to rely
on lagging metrics (e.g.
injury reduction) which
can take years to measure accurately.
Management support and approval –
ensure management has a strong desire to make the process successful. Put
information into terms they can stand behind (return on investment, waste
reduction, increased productivity). With management buy-in, the uphill battle
becomes a smooth sail.
Financial sense – everyone needs
to understand the importance of ergonomics to the bottom line and to the safety
of operators. With workers compensation costs often costing millions of dollar annually, it is easy to realize that if your
ergonomics process is costing you money, you’re doing it wrong.
Follow a process (plan, do, check,
act) – create and follow a model to be able to continuously improve. This will
allow you to easily identify opportunities for improvement and ensure that the
most effective countermeasures are implemented.
Employee involvement – employees
are the absolute experts at their jobs and often have the best improvement ideas. Their involvement is therefore a key element
to the success of an ergonomics initiative. Focusing on the 30-inch view
between the operators and their work environment will often result in cost savings due to rework,
increased productivity, and overall improved morale.
Following these steps is a great way to kick-off an
Submitted by Christy Lotz, CPE