10 Ways to Build a Successful Ergonomics Program
1. Establish executive support with a written letter from executive leadership to management and all divisions. For example, the CEO or President of a division would sign the letter, then address it as part of the corporate goals and performance indicator. Require managers to track injuries and determine why the injuries happen. Leadership will be held accountable for not meeting goals.
2. With executive support, establish an interdisciplinary team of leaders in departments such as Facilities, Human Resources, Environmental Health and Safety, Information Technology and other company departments.
3. The new Ergonomics Committee then will write an ergonomics program that complies with Federal OSHA standards and Health Insurance Portability and Accessibility Act (HIPAA) regulations.
4. Establish a web-based database with proper implementation of HIPAA safeguards, track OSHA 300 logs, ergonomic injuries, evaluations, follow up and reports. Post necessary information and provide online education on the company internal ergonomics website.
5. Look at the big picture: Where are the injuries happening? What body part is the most effected? Are employees receiving proper training and compliance in this specific area? Look at your company from a strategic perspective and see where you need to focus your attention first.
6. Empower employees through a reward and recognition program. Implement a “Ergonomics and Safety Suggestion Box” and reward ideas by posting their name and idea by the equipment, on the Safety Board and company internet.
7. Work together with the Wellness program coordinator. Survey employees to determine needs, interest and participation. Include focused topics and classes such as Posture re-training and stretching.
8. Have a proactive and reactive ergonomics process. Just doing evaluations when someone is in pain is almost too late! Being proactive really cuts down on the workers compensation and ergonomic incident rates by preventing an injury from occurring. With the average cost of one injury costing approximately $32, 500, being proactive is more important than ever.
9. Get employees’ feedback on education, training, what’s most effective, what equipment works best for them. Getting buy-in will get you better results rather than just implementing an ergonomics program without any feedback.
10. Look for free resources! Sometime insurance companies provide free brochures, posters and financing for wellness and ergonomic programs/evaluations. You can train people in certain departments to conduct preventative evaluations or film an ergonomics training video (filmed by internal media department) to standardize the training.