Ergonomics done right.®
March 16th, 2012

Q&A from the Ergonomics Maturity Curve™ Webinar

Thanks to those of you who attended our live webinar this week. As promised, here are answers to the questions you posed during the event.  If you were not able to attend, you can watch the entire recording when it’s posted on the archived webinars page of Humantech’s website, sometime next week.

Q: ­We’ve had an on-site ergonomics team for almost 12 years.  The program is being considered for outsourcing.  How beneficial would this be overall?­

A: Great question.  Companies typically have two choices with respect to ergonomics help: buying the expertise, or building the expertise.  We find that the most effective, sustainable programs are those that are built and supported in-house.   If your program is being considered for outsourcing, one must examine the fundamental reasons why the internal team is not getting full corporate support.  Is it results driven, or simply a matter of limited resources?

Q: We tried stretching back in late 90’s and as I recall it reduced the ergo injuries/First Aids that we logged.  Management did not agree with the time spent doing our stretching so the program was axed.  I haven’t data on that period in time anymore, so I can’t justify a stretching program. Additionally, there are studies that say stretching does not add benefit.  What say you?

A: We are releasing a white paper in the next few weeks that will summarize the current research and present our professional opinion.  In short, however, our conclusion is that corporate mandated stretching programs, on their own, have not been shown to have a consistent impact on the rate of work-related musculoskeletal disorders.

Q: Based on our business (a warehouse operation), is it possible that we can only get to proactive stage since we have no influence on design?

A: Absolutely, and there is nothing wrong with that.  If your organization has hit the “ceiling” with how far you can advance along the curve, just make sure that you are executing the key elements in the level that you are at.  For example, in the Proactive stage, you should have:

  • ergonomics be part of the continuous improvement process
  • complete quantitative risk mapping
  • prioritization of jobs for improvement
  • documented simple design guidelines
  • focus on reducing risk
  • a multi-disciplinary team

Q: ­The Humantech design standards that were listed a few slides ago, can I purchase them?­

A: All the Design Standards presented in the webinar are taken from Humantech’s, “Handbook of Ergonomic Design Guidelines”.  You can purchase the book by visiting the publications page on our website.