Ergonomics done right.®
March 25th, 2009

Update from the Applied Ergonomics Conference

ImproveImpactInfluence.  These three words have been the common theme echoed by attendees at the 12th annual meeting of ergonomic practitioners this year in Reno, Nevada.


The keynote address given by the duo of Matthew Pierce and David Copley from the Emcor Company (EME on the NYSE) featured all three of the elements.  They described how ergonomics has “Changed the Way We Work – CW3” at their 30,000 employee strong construction firm and reduced their ergonomic injuries by 71% over a four year period.

  1. The first shared key to their success was to influence their C-level executives that the ergonomics agenda is something beyond compliance.  Rather Emcor packaged the process as a value-added entity with the clear position that human motion is money.  By presenting the business case straight into the boardroom their executives understood this was much more than just a health and safety agenda.
  2. To improve, Emcor conducted an organization-wide gap analysis of their work methods, tools, and pre-task planning and related it to productivity and injury challenges.  It was identified that supervision needed better support in terms of the knowledge of ergonomic risks, best practices and productivity preparedness.  Hands-on training sessions brought ergonomics into the field at the construction sites (e.g., casinos, waste water treatment facilities, convention centers) where they deployed the process known as superVISION.  
  3. The impact to the business hit home when the year-on-year results clearly showed, “For every 1% improvement in productivity there is a corresponding 1% improvement in ergonomic risk reduction”.  Their DART rate dropped from 2.47 to 1.26 and the TRIR rate had a corresponding decrease form 4.6 to 2.5 which is roughly a quarter of the numbers shared by competing companies. The data from their CFO reported that the ergonomic process accounted for approximately $30,000,000 of bottom line benefit for the organization from 2004 – 2008 and has helped position Emcor to be the true leader in their industry.

Stay tuned for a review of the Ergo Cup entries tomorrow…