Safety Articles

Article # 10101

The Ergonomic Program

The solution takes commitment and involvement from both the employer and employee.

The Employer - Commitment by management provides the organizational resources and motivating force necessary to deal effectively with ergonomic hazards. Implement an effective ergonomics program, which includes:

1.Worksite Analysis
• Review past medical, safety and insurance needs to identify injury/illness trends
• Survey each department and interview each worker at job site
• Identify existing operations, hazards and conditions that create hazards
• Develop an ergonomics plan of action after careful evaluation

2. Hazard Prevention and Control
• Engineering controls should be compatible with human anatomy and physiology
• Provide compatible workstations
• Design work methods
• Provide ergonomically-designed tools
• Administrative controls include job rotation, worker rest periods, and reducing the total number of repetitions per worker
• Reduce total number of repetitions per employee
• Provide rest pauses to relieve fatigued muscle tendon groups
• Increase the number of employees assigned to a task and use job rotation
• Work practice controls deal with proper work techniques, as well as training new employees and monitoring their progress
• Teach proper work techniques
• Instill a new employee conditioning period
• Monitoring is essential
• Personal protective equipment can be used in conjunction with education and training
• Provide proper instructions for wearing and caring for the product
• Educate workers on proper fit and capabilities

3. Medical management
• Have proper medical staff skilled in occupational nursing or medicine available to employees
• Track and document that employees go through training (this also provides record keeping needed for personnel files and OSHA visits)
• Address injury and illness record keeping
• Recognize and report injuries early
• Implement a systematic evaluation and referral treatment
• Provide a conservative return-to-work policy
• Implement a systematic monitoring system
• Provide adequate staffing and facilities
• Establish employee/employer review committee

4. Training and education
• Educate employees on CTDs and ergonomics
• Provide general worker safety training and education at all levels

The Employee - Employee involvement and feedback through clearly established procedures are essential, both to identify existing and potential hazards and to develop and implement an effective way to abate ergonomic hazards. Employees should understand that off-the-job activities can have an effect good and bad.