Four Steps to Achieve Your Ideal Ergonomics Program

Do you have your ideal ergonomics program? Many companies have an ergonomics program, but few can say it is ideal. By using industry standards and professional resources, a strong ergonomics program can be established that pulls away from the single objective of reducing injuries, to one that focuses on improved efficiencies, and promotes innovation and best work practices that will benefit the workers of today and the workers for many years to come.

The key to an effective ergonomics program is integration. The following steps can help companies start to develop an ergonomics program that works:

1. Think about what your ideal program looks like?

To answer that question effectively, you will likely need to pose the question to multiple departments. The Occupational Health & Safety Manager will have a different answer from the Operations Manager and will differ again from the Engineering Department. By doing some research up front, a more perceptive outline can be established that integrates ergonomics to achieve the goals of the corporation as a whole. Get your key stakeholders to identify their goals and targets so that you can ask the next question.

2. How are you going to meet the program�s objectives?

This boils down to being prepared by establishing (in house or having a consultant work with you) some much needed tools and resources that will allow the objectives/targets of the program to become a systematic process. By using standardized tools (i.e. customized spreadsheets, checklists, applications and forms, etc.), your staff will be able to immediately put into reality what you have put out as an ideal (refer to book 3a of the MSD Prevention Guidelines for an extensive list of tools). Lastly, ensure that a �competent� individual is using these tools to ensure the products are reliable and valid. The next question will then be significantly easier to answer.

This can be a challenging question to answer, and yet the processes to answer this likely already exist in most areas of your organization (i.e. production, purchasing, logistics, engineering, etc.). Being prepared helps. Often we find our clients scrambling to find data to help support the program, show a return on investment (ROI), or justify expenditures. Implementing tracking methods and tools that are updated on a regular basis (i.e. quarterly) help to show the benefits of your ergonomics program and enable you to objectively demonstrate the effectiveness of your program, making for a stronger and easily sustainable program.

4. Is there room for improvement?

Of course there is! Even the most accomplished program has gaps, but if you are consistently evaluating your program, identified gaps become an opportunity for improvement. Ergonomics programs are often housed in one department, but the opportunity to grow becomes evident when it is a component of everyone�s department. Thus, the process starts again.

Make the ergonomic goals of your company become a reality by starting out on the right foot. Or breathe life into an old program that may not be working for you. The steps are easy and by consulting with an experienced professional the answers are too.

Contact PROergonomics for questions relating to this month�s article, references or available tools and resources:

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