To protect your employees from injuries, improve productivity and reduce workers’ compensation costs, follow any of these steps that meet your needs.
Your employees are the experts in their work. Often they are the best at spotting problems. They probably already have good ideas and solutions.
Training your employees on ergonomics gives them additional skills for finding hazards and solutions. They can learn more about ergonomics from this online Ergonomics Awareness Education for Employees and Supervisors course.
There are a number of ways to look for potential hazards.
- Start with a walk-through of your workplace. Ask your supervisors and workers about:
- Manual lifting, carrying, pushing, pulling, or other physically demanding work.
- Work done in awkward postures, like bending, reaching, or twisting.
- Hand intensive work, such as using tools, assembling parts, or packing boxes.
- Processes with bottlenecks or quality problems.
- Investigate injuries, and review injury records (like OSHA 300 Logs) and workers’ compensation claims to find tasks and trends related to sprains and strains.
- Think about ergonomics when making changes to your facilities, equipment, and processes or purchasing new tools.
Go for easy fixes first. Sometimes hazards are obvious, and solutions can be quickly put in place with little or no evaluation.
Look at your jobs using these simple solutions to identify problems with easy fixes.
When a more careful analysis is needed to identify hazards start with a job that seems to have the most problems or the job that is easiest to fix. There are a number of ergonomics evaluation tools you can use to analyze a job in more detail.
Work with your employees and safety committee to fix hazards.
Here are some ideas to help create solutions:
- Use these simple solutions to quickly find easy fixes.
- Search the Ergonomics Ideas Bank to find effective solutions.
- Use industry specific injury prevention guidelines, created by associations, labor groups and governmental agencies.
- Ask vendors to let you test tools and equipment on a trial basis.
A cost-benefit analysis can justify more costly solutions like changes to facilities or purchasing new tools and equipment.
Follow these tips to help you develop effective solutions.
After using a solution for a few weeks, look at the job again and talk with the employees to see if the fix is working as planned. You can use the same ergonomics principles and evaluation tools used on Step 3 to determine if the solution reduced the risk of injury.
Also, make sure the solution didn’t create any new hazards or other problems.
If a solution does not reduce the risk of injury or is not being used as intended, you can repeat Steps 4 and 5 to find a more effective fix.
Lastly, remember to celebrate your successes – recognize your company’s accomplishments in meetings, in company newsletters and on safety bulletin boards.