The Canadian division of a global cosmetic manufacturer recognized the need to improve ergonomics within their facility but was struggling to gain traction and a path forward for incorporating it into their operations. There was considerable manual labour required in the production process and staffing levels increasing annually to meet the growing customer demand, resulting in an influx of new workers.
EKG worked with the project leader to create a scope of work that met company scheduling, priority and financial limitations. The emphasis was on creating formal documentation including ergonomic field assessments for specific work activities and an organization wide ergonomic program. All field assessment report formats and ergonomic program documentation were customized to the organization based on the input of their OHS Specialist and management members.
The EHA reports identified and prioritized ergonomic hazards, assessed the risk of injury (hazard intensity and exposure time) and made recommendations to improve the ergonomic conditions of work
The highest priority work areas, activities, jobs, etc. were identified to have field assessments completed. This included Ergonomics Hazards Analysis (EHA) and Physical Demands Descriptions (PDD). The EHA reports identified and prioritized ergonomic hazards, assessed the risk of injury (hazard intensity and exposure time) and made recommendations to improve the ergonomic conditions of work (safe work techniques and work design). The PDD reports outlined the essential duties of the job and the demands required to complete these occupational requirements. EKG also engaged supervisors and managers in discussions and observations about ergonomics in the work area under their authority. The results of the field assessment reports and management engagement were analyzed to create priorities. These priority findings and improvement opportunities for each work area were presented to the department management, OHS Specialist, engineering and senior management.
To further support the field assessments, EKG worked with the OHS Specialist and senior management to develop a formal Ergonomic Program. This new internal standard takes a more strategic approach to ergonomics by outlining the framework and processes that will be required to management ergonomic hazards within the workplace. It incorporates the Plan-Do-Check-Act model of systems management to improve the effectiveness and sustainability of protecting workers from ergonomic hazards.
The first ergonomic initiative to be implemented from the field assessments and program development was ergonomic awareness training for all managers, supervisors and lead hands.
The first ergonomic initiative to be implemented from the field assessments and program development was ergonomic awareness training for all managers, supervisors and lead hands. There was tremendous interest and enthusiasm for ergonomics through the initial project activities but limited technical knowledge. This training aimed to improve competency of management to understand and apply ergonomics. The main emphasis was on operational ownership of ergonomics through incorporation into operational work aspects such as work instructions, work specific orientation, safety briefings, work inspections, etc.
EKG continues to support ergonomic initiatives within the facility including additional field assessment for the next highest priority work areas. The site is seen as a flagship for ergonomics by other sites around the globe within the organization with both the OHS Specialist and operations management sharing their knowledge, understanding and skills with others.