Industrial Ergonomics: The Impact of aMacroergonomics Program with a Well-Defined Performance Goal in Reducing Work-Related Musculoskeletal Disorders
Authors: N. Larsona, H. Wicka, T. Albinb, S. Hallbeckc, P. Vinkd
Abstract: This study describes a corporate macroergonomics program designed to identify jobs with work-related musculoskeletal disorder (WMSDs) risk exposure, reduce that exposure, and evaluate the subsequent effect upon WMSD cases. The adoption of a company-wide ergonomics program comprised of: a plan to address WMSDs (ergonomics plan), risk identification and reduction process, clearly defined responsibilities, and employee training is reviewed. Various technical initiatives facilitating program implementation including standardized job risk assessment tools, training and certification process for individuals performing risk analyses, central database to record assessment results, and management system to track progress are described. Between 2004 and 2008, 2020 jobs from 116 locations were analyzed, risks identified, interventions completed, and results documented. A statistical analysis of the results from 33 US locations showed a significant relationship between number of at-risk jobs addressed and a subsequent reduction in WMSD Incidence Rates (IRs) and lost-time IRs. The percent reduction of risks at each facility was also found to significantly reduce lost and restricted workdays. The reduction in WMSDs supports the effectiveness of the key program elements of management commitment, identification and improvement of problem jobs, and knowledgeable location-based resources and underscores the importance of well-defined performance-based metric for effective WMSD reduction.
Keywords: Ergonomics Programs, Industrial Ergonomics, Macroergonomics, Participatory Ergonomics, Work-related Musculoskeletal Disorders
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