Large organizations are now recognizing the benefits associated with putting an ergonomics program into action. In implementing ergonomic programs, however, many organizations are failing to realize those benefits. This can occur for a variety of reasons:
- Limited staff
- No ability to demonstrate program effectiveness to management
- Overly complex processes and systems leading to excessive administrative overhead
- Lack of standardization with regard to products and procurement
- Ergonomic budgeting processes that are not integrated with other key budget areas
- Insufficient workplace-targeted employee training
- Lack of follow-up
Technology following human interaction, not the other way around
Our experience has shown that achieving the ultimate goal of reducing repetitive motion injury and increasing productivity is only possible through increased human outreach. While effective in automating processes, technology alone cannot replace the efficacy of a visit from a trained ergonomic specialist. Increase the number of visits and interactions your employees have with a trained ergonomics professional, and you will reduce injuries while at the same time increasing the comfort and productivity of your employees.
Sustaining your ergonomics program
In every ergonomics program there is a nexus between the executive team and the ergonomics facilitator. The executive team intuitively understands the organizationís pain points, namely whatís broken and is costing too much. They authorize funding for an ergonomics program based on their understanding of the problem and the notion that a solution is at hand. The ergonomics facilitator must then carry out organizational policy with the limited resources they are given.
If an ergonomics program is to sustain itself, the ergonomics facilitator must periodically step out of their traditional role and interact with the executive team in support of their program. The ergonomics facilitator should offer critical feedback to the executive team:
- Metrics that demonstrate a reduction in the organizationís pain points
- New initiatives that address the organizationís evolving pain points
- Constructive criticism as to the feasibility of proposed policies
- Be a champion to gain executive sponsorship to support policy objectives
The blue items in the diagram above depict areas within an ergonomics program that typically receive the most attention. The green items reflect areas often neglected within an ergonomics program. When the green items are bypassed, the critical nexus between executive and ergonomics facilitator is lost, and it becomes easy to see how a program might break down or lose its funding over time.
Establishing an ergonomics policy with clearly stated objectives, and providing metrics that demonstrate progress towards those objectives is essential. When an ergonomics facilitator proposes the means to eliminate a significant organizational pain point, champions a policy in support of that, and then demonstrates it through metrics, they will forever have the ear of the executive team. Without this cycle, the facilitatorsí relevant opinions will at some point fall upon deaf ears.
Increasing your programís effectiveness
The ten areas Pelletier & Associates focuses on are designed to streamline and balance your ergonomics program, to support the facilitator/executive nexus, and to increase the amount of time your ergonomic staff has for person-to-person outreach:
- Ergonomic policy
- Evaluation and assessment
- Products and procurement
- Appropriate use of technology
- Workersí compensation and return-to-work
- Public relations and program outreach
- OSHA Title 8, ß5110 compliance
In nearly all situations that we have encountered, one or more of the ten key areas are developed or even automated, while other areas are significantly under-developed, or altogether non-existent. Our approach balances your ergonomics program, while scaling it appropriately to the size of your ergonomic staff. Our methodology will integrate the best of your current practices with our tools and techniques in such a way that puts your ergonomic staff where they should be Ö working face to face with your employees.
For information about other products and services that may benefit your ergonomics program, we invite you to explore the links below.
Productivity Tools for Professionals:
Electronic Reporting Templates
Electronic Surveys and Follow-Up Forms
Product List Generator
Stretch & Flex Programs
Employee Ergonomics Awareness