PE (Participatory Ergonomics) programs are designed to maximize the involvement of workers who are experts at their job. Improving working conditions, safety, productivity, employee morale, quality of work and comfort while doing it are all key to the participatory approach.
Training standards are critical to the success of the PE process. There are three major aspects that need to be considered when implementing a participatory ergonomics program.
- Initial training – PE committee training on ergonomic concepts and tools.
- Project management – project management is important to track progress and keep the committee on schedule.
- Culture change management – helps committee members to initiate safety and health improvements while obtaining buy-in from workers and other stakeholders.
Canadian Manufacturer Saves $250,000
A 175-employee manufacturing company saved almost a quarter of a million dollars after implementing their PE program. The auto-parts firm implemented a participatory ergonomics program to improve the musculoskeletal health of its workers. The process brought workers, supervisors and other key personnel together to not only identify, but solve the MSD problems that plague many workplaces. After being evaluated, it was estimated that the manufacturing firm saved nearly ten times the amount that it spent on the program.
Gathering together the key personnel to study the program at inception was critical to the success. Workers from all shifts, corporate health and safety representatives, mechanical engineers and a host of others including human resource personnel was set up to implement the program.
Over 11 months there were 10 physical changes that ultimately improved the health and safety of the workers. Installing anti-fatigue mats reduced leg and back fatigue and designing and fabricating a 45 degree angle on a particular tool reduced wrist flexion are a couple of examples.
As a result, they realized a 52% reduction in short and long term disability claims. Taking into consideration the costs to plan and implement the PE program, which included the costs of meetings, ergonomic assessments, change implementation and equipment, the costs were about 10% of the overall savings or roughly $25,000.
InjuryFree is a strong supporter of participatory ergonomics. Our Employee Maintenance Center is ideal for manufacturing concerns that experience a high incidence of ergonomic-related injuries. We utilize PE to collaborate with all stakeholders, from the shop floor to the executive suite, to mitigate the risk of injury. Find out how your manufacturing facility can be set on a course towards eliminating ergonomic-related injuries with a free, no-obligation cost-benefit analysis.
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