ESTABLISH AN ERGONOMIC PROCESS
In order for our clients to deploy a successful ergonomic process within their companies, the process developed must be sustainable, business driven, cost effective, compliant and results in reduced injuries to its employees. To accomplish this process objective, four (4) critical and important elements are required to launch an effective ergonomic process. ESL has identified these elements from its experience and insights provided by companies it has serviced over the past decade spanning a wide variety of industrial sectors.
These elements are as follows:
- The ergonomic process must be driven by risk identification and reduction strategies and management support. Once risk factors known to contribute to injury and illness are identified, the company must adopt a proactive approach to ergonomics by addressing these risks early and effectively. Waiting to respond only to actual injury and illness incidents will be costly while responding to identified risks in a preventative action oriented manner will result in improved performance and employee attitudes.
- An effective ergonomic process must allow for quick implementation of known solutions to correct identified risks. This is accomplished by revising and adjusting routines/activities and physical reconfiguration of workstations. The “not invented here” attitude will cause real damage to solving preventable costly incidents. The proactive approach is required by the company.
- Ergonomics must be positioned to management as an opportunity to improve business performance through better management of the company’s “human assets.” This element is important to identify the cost reduction impact on the company’s profitability through implementation of these improvements based on a healthy work force and improved productivity.
- Launching an effective ergonomic process requires the “buy in” of all levels of the corporate organization from top management, middle management, line supervision and direct /indirect employees. Ergonomics cannot be successful without the full commitment, participation, support and cooperation of the entire organization. With this approach, ergonomic risks are identified early in the process and actions can be taken to control existing or future employee exposure to these risks.
ESL can assist in developing an effective ergonomic process by utilizing the following techniques:
This is the most basic form of assessment. Many ergonomic risks can be easily identified and solutions implemented at the supervisory and employee levels using observation tools.
Basic ergonomic awareness training for employees can help utilize the employee’s knowledge to identify risks and recommend action suggestions. This approach usually results in quick action fixes or changes at minimal costs and efforts while improving employee attitude and loyalty.
Certain ergonomic risks require more detailed analysis to resolve or determine solutions. This analytical technique will usually require a higher level of knowledge such as highly trained employees, engineers or facility supervision to complete the analysis to identify and prioritize ergonomic risks and recommending alternative job improvements.
For situations involving a high degree of ergonomic risk and possible capital investments to be solved, an in-depth professional analysis may be required to develop solutions. These may require advanced operational strategies to determine possible product design changes, production equipment enhancements or modifications or major revisions to production process standards. Very few ergonomic risks require this type of in-depth analysis.