AAFA-OSHA Alliance Volume 2: A Guide to Implementing an Ergonomics Process

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1 AAFA-OSHA Alliance Volume 2: A Guide to Implementing an Ergonomics Process

2 WORK GROUP PARTICIPANTS Gloria Carter TC², Cary, North Carolina Michael Della Mea HANESbrandsINC., Winston-Salem, North Carolina John Eapen American & Efird, Inc., Mount Holly, North Carolina Roger Hopkins Carhartt, Madisonville, Kentucky Carey Schuster American Apparel & Footwear Association, Arlington, Virginia Greg Murphy Kellwood Company, Anniston, Alabama Don Roberson Maidenform Inc., Fayetteville, North Carolina Michael Scott American & Efird, Inc., Mount Holly, North Carolina REVIEWED BY: Kathy Parker, CPE Consultant in Ergonomics, Chapel Hill, North Carolina Brett Besser Occupational Safety & Health Administration, Sandy, Utah Dr. Gary Mirka North Carolina State University, Raleigh, North Carolina Eric Kennedy, MSIE, CPE MARSH, Charlotte, North Carolina Joanna Sznajder Occupational Safety & Health Administration, Washington, DC Special Thanks to Lucy Lapidus and Lindsay Masters for editing and proofreading. 1

3 TABLE OF CONTENTS: SECTIONS: PAGE I. Do we need an ergonomics process? 3 II. Making a business case for an ergonomics process 4 III. Developing and implementing an ergonomics process 7 IV. Apparel / Footwear focused process 19 V. Conclusions and Resources 33 APPENDICES: A. OSHA Cost Calculation 35 B. Ergonomics process Charter 36 C. Injury Prevention Exercise Program 39 D. Early Reporting Form 45 E. Ergonomics Process Audit 46 F. Job Safety Hazard Analysis 49 G. NIOSH Caution Zone Checklist 50 H. Ergonomic Examples 58 I. Post Offer Screening 79 J. Cut/Sew Toolbox 84 K. Warehouse Toolbox 88 L. Office Toolbox 92 This guideline is advisory in nature and informational in content. This document does not represent a new regulatory standard and imposes no new legal requirement. An employer s failure to implement this guideline is not in violation of the Occupational Safety and Health Act of

4 SECTION I: DO WE NEED AN ERGONOMIC PROCESS? In today s corporate environment, any responsible manager will want to know if any practice, activity, or program adds value to the bottom line. As the person responsible for your company s safety and health program you will want to establish a proactive leadership for presenting the business case for developing an ergonomics process. You must be able to define the financial and operational importance of an ergonomics effort so as to gain full management commitment. This will be necessary to assure total management team involvement and successful execution of the ergonomics process. (A financial impact analysis can be found in Appendix A.) Most company managers have a general understanding of ergonomics. They have heard the word ergonomics in reference to floor mats, adjustable workstations, automobiles and recreational equipment. Their experience and understanding is limited to the basics so you must be prepared to answer their questions and show them how ergonomics adds value to the existing operation. There are two primary areas of focus that you should evaluate to build your presentation. The first is determining the extent of the problem in your operational setting. This is related to employee complaints about pain and discomfort from strains and sprains that are termed musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) and affect joints and soft tissues of the body. In other words, is there documented evidence that your company has an injury experience based on MSDs? The second important focus is improving the process of work so that the job is physically and mentally easier. This adds efficiency, which in turn improves productivity and favorably impacts the cost of work. This also produces a benefit of lessening the stress on your employees. In other words, is there documented evidence that the physical or mental nature of your company s jobs increases the cost of work? In addition, you may want to emphasize that having an ergonomics process can have a positive impact on hiring and retaining a workforce in a competitive market by reducing barriers to job placement, reducing the cost of turnover and constant retraining, and improving morale. This will demonstrate that your company should be the employer of choice. The level of management commitment that you obtain will be directly related to the data that you collect and present to support your intended action. This manual has been developed to provide you with an understanding of the key data that will support your effort in developing an effective ergonomics process for the work environment. The subsequent chapters will guide you in a step-by-step way to accomplish this goal. 3

5 SECTION II: MAKING A BUSINESS CASE FOR AN ERGONOMICS PROCESS Developing an ergonomics process for your company should begin with your analyses of the extent of the problem mentioned in the introduction of this manual. You have many sources for gathering data about the types of injury and illness losses experienced by your company. Some of this data will be available in-house and accessible through risk management and insurance, safety and health, operations, and/or the medical department. Outside sources of injury and illness data may come from your workers compensation insurance company. Regardless of the source of the data (you should use all of them), they will involve the injury and illness loss experience for your company. Let s take a look at each source and see how it can benefit you in determining your company s need for an ergonomics process. OSHA Injury and Illness Log 300 The OSHA Injury and Illness Log 300 is the logical place to start in determining if a company s employees have experienced exposures in the workplace that have given rise to an OSHA recordable musculoskeletal disorder (MSD). Each company location is required to have a log of its workplace injuries and illnesses. This is usually maintained by the safety and health department. To be recordable on the OSHA Log 300, these injuries and/or illnesses must meet the criteria defined by the OSHA Recordkeeping Standard. Obtain a copy of your company s OSHA Injury and Illness Log 300 for the past three years. This provides you with a larger data set and assures more validity in the results. Once you have the OSHA 300 Logs, formulate a table that allows you to record the number and types of injuries/illnesses, the job function, and the body part. Be sure to note any areas where processes have changed dramatically and look for any related changes in the data. If there have been process changes, you may need to reference earlier records. Now you can identify which job(s) have experienced recorded strains. For example, are there recordings of shoulder or lower back strains in jobs involving material handling? Identifying the jobs and types of MSDs that have occurred will enable you to determine the frequency and severity of these types of injuries/illnesses in your work site. The frequency refers to the number of times that they have occurred and the severity refers to the level of the injury/illness. This information can be coupled with additional information from productivity, attendance, quality, turnover, and workers compensation data to provide a complete picture for management about the effect of MSDs on the business. 4

6 Risk Management and Insurance The risk management and insurance department is usually responsible for procuring the workers compensation insurance coverage used to financially cover workplace injuries and illnesses. Work-related MSDs may contribute to a portion of the workers compensation claims filed in your company. In order to determine whether or not MSDs are part of the workers compensation loss experience picture, an analysis of the loss data must be done. The intent of this analysis is to determine the number and type of injuries/illnesses, the job function, the body part, and the claim cost. Claim cost can be obtained as Total Incurred Dollars or Reserved Dollars and Paid Dollars. Total Incurred Dollars refers to the entire cost of the claim, Reserved Dollars is indicative of the amount of money set aside to pay towards the claim, and Paid Dollars is the amount actually paid towards medical treatment bills and wages due to lost time. The Paid Dollars are known as the direct cost of a claim. The direct costs are the costs that can be accounted for directly through invoices received and usually include medical, indemnity, and legal costs. An important figure to add to your research is the indirect costs associated with MSDs. Indirect costs refer to the costs that do not have hard evidence documentation. An example of an indirect cost is all the production time lost by other employees standing around after an employee is hurt. This lost production affects a company s efficiency. Other indirect costs associated with injuries/illnesses are: 1) time lost by supervisors investigating a claim, 2) time spent training a new employee filling in for the injured one, 3) production time lost for a machine that is idle due to an employee missing work, 4) lower employee morale, 5) increased workers compensation premiums, 6) poor company image due to frequency of claims, and 7) affected attitudes of employees. Once you have determined the direct costs associated with your MSD claims, you should be able to conservatively estimate the amount of indirect losses. The insurance industry typically asserts that indirect costs are 3 to 4 times those of direct costs. By multiplying the direct costs of your MSD claims by 3 or 4, you will have determined the amount of money that these claims are costing your company. The significance of the direct and indirect costs of MSD claims is that it is money that comes from the profit margin. The profit margin provides your wages, benefits, and wage increases. Preventing MSDs and their associated costs is not only the right thing to do, it is good business practice. Note: Please make sure to contact legal counsel to ensure compliance with any federal or state privacy laws. Operational Records Your human resource professional is another source of data. Attendance records can be used to identify the jobs that have a high absentee rate or turnover. Training records can be referenced as well as records of jobs that have been filled by a temp agency or contract employees. These jobs can be compared to the other information that you have already obtained to see if there is a correlation with the high absentee rate, perhaps offering a clue as to why employees are absent. 5

7 Another record that can offer some perspective to ergonomics stressors in a job is the production and quality metrics. Poor productivity and quality could be the result of difficulty in performing the job or task. This could be associated with biomechanical factors or mental stressors. When this data parallels the attendance data, there might be a relevant correlation showing that the employees find this to be a difficult job to perform. Summary Once you have woven all the data into a fabric that clearly presents a relationship between injuries/illnesses, cost of injuries/illnesses, effects on production, quality and attendance all for which the common denominator is MSDs you are ready to Make the Business Case for an Ergonomics Process to your company s management. Note: The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has not issued a formal Ergonomics Standard mandating that a company must implement an ergonomics process. OSHA does have a directive to all its compliance officers that states: OSHA will conduct inspections for ergonomic hazards and issue citations under the General Duty Clause and issue ergonomic hazard alert letters where appropriate. OSHA is interested in fostering a growing participation in the application of ergonomic principles and ergonomics processes in all industries. OSHA has entered into alliance agreements with many companies, associations, and professional organizations for this purpose. As a product of one of these alliances, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the American Apparel & Footwear Association have formed an Ergonomics Alliance to inspire and provide leadership to companies to address MSDs in their workplaces. It is in your company s best interest to take advantage of the information in this manual and in the OSHA website to design, implement, and maintain an active ergonomics process that raises employee awareness, eliminates workplace exposure, and reduces the costs associated with injury/illness claims. 6

8 SECTION III: DEVELOPING AND IMPLEMENTING AN ERGONOMICS PROCESS Initiating the Process This section is entitled Developing and Implementing an Ergonomics Process and is written from the standpoint of the early stages of initiating a process. The procedure begins with someone identifying the need and approaching management for support we will call this person the champion. Typically, the champion should gather data to provide management with justification for the project. Some of these topics were addressed in Section II but are reiterated here to provide an overview of the entire strategy or plan of implementing a process. Once management has agreed to support the project, a sponsor is selected from upper management. The corporate office sponsor is responsible for writing a project charter that recognizes the business need for implementing an ergonomics process (See Appendix B). The charter will provide written documentation of management s commitment to the project, stating that safety and health (including ergonomics) is as important as production. Management should identify the appropriate cost account for the project and give an estimated budget for implementation. Management should also choose or recruit the project manager early in these stages so he or she may participate in the planning process. The champion may be assigned the position of project manager or another candidate may be recruited to fill the position. Depending on the organizational structure there may also be facility project managers. The charter should also provide for the formation of a multi-functional ergonomics team. Depending on the size of the company, there may be a committee at each facility. Management should provide documented authority to the manager and should authorize time and money expenditures for the committee. It is the responsibility of the project manager to assign and communicate responsibilities to the project team(s). The ergonomics initiative is typically part of the health and safety department or the engineering department. In addition to the creation of the committee, management should outline its position on ergonomics in other areas. For example, ergonomics should be a consideration for all new product designs, tools, new facilities, new processes, etc. Communication systems should be defined, as well as the required reports and their distribution. The corporate office sponsor should serve as the management liaison to the ergonomic project manager. 7

9 Outline of Process Components The main components of the planned ergonomics process are outlined in the initial charter provided by management. (Please refer to the first AAFA Manual Ergonomics for Supervisors, Volume I An Introductory Manual for the Apparel and Footwear Industries for a more in-depth coverage of these topics.) The main components are Employee Involvement, Worksite Analysis, Hazard Prevention and Control, Medical Management, and Training and Education. The project must ensure that the employees are involved in the development, implementation, and evaluation of the process. Employees should be represented on all committees as well as the ergonomics team. An anonymous complaint or suggestion system should be made available so that employees can give input without fear of reprisal. Company policy should also dictate that employees are encouraged to report signs and symptoms of musculoskeletal disorders as early as possible. A worksite analysis component recognizes and identifies musculoskeletal hazards so that they may be corrected. The procedures described in Section II: Making a Business Case, are considered part of this component. In addition, the jobs identified in the datagathering process should be analyzed for the presence of risk factors. ( Ergonomics for Supervisors: Volume I deals specifically with recognizing the primary risk factors.) Worksite analysis uses checklists and other forms to evaluate individual jobs in order to determine the level of risk present that may need to be controlled, as well as to identify opportunities for improvements. Hazard prevention and control addresses multiple areas. Engineering controls should be the preferred method of resolving ergonomic issues. The goal is to engineer problems out of a job by redesigning work stations, work methods, equipment, or tools. An example of redesigning work stations may be to change the height of the work surface. Redesigning a method may involve reducing the size and weight of loads handled. Equipment may be changed to provide automatic thread trimmers to eliminate the need for palming scissors, or changing the scissors/tool to an ergonomic design which improves hand posture and reduces contact force. If engineering controls are unavailable or insufficient to eliminate the hazard, then work practice controls, administrative controls, and personal protective equipment should play a part in controlling hazards. Work practice controls could include training in safe lifting procedures or keeping tools sharp and in good condition. Administrative controls could include more frequent rest breaks, stretching/exercising, job enlargement, and job rotation. Having the involvement and oversight from a Professional Occupational Therapist, Physical Therapist, and/or Health Care Professional goes a long way in support of an exercise program. These educators can help describe the benefits related to the particular exercise. If an exercise program is implemented, management and employee involvement must be mandatory. A voluntary process will usually not last long enough. for the program to take a firm hold and be beneficial. A sample Injury Prevention Exercise Program is included in Appendix C. 8

10 If the above controls do not completely address the hazard, the use of personal protective equipment may be evaluated. An example would be the use of gloves to reduce the transmission of vibration. In addition to implementing the various controls, management should be prepared to commit to using outside consultants when in-house analysis or expertise is shown to be insufficient. A Medical Management component ensures health care services are available to all employees. This may or may not involve on-site health care professionals, but emphasis should be placed on the importance of early reporting and appropriate treatment of signs and symptoms of musculoskeletal disorders. An example of an early reporting form can be found in Appendix D. Training and Education applies to all stakeholders in the process from upper management to direct labor employees. The detail level of the training is a function of the role that person will play in the process. Each company should develop a method by which to measure the success and effectiveness of their process. This method should allow a facility to track and measure each ergonomic process element and to make adjustments as necessary. There are many ways to measure the effectiveness of an ergonomics process. You begin by establishing a procedure that everyone can be familiar with and relate to using easy, understandable issues, and items. Your process objectives should be to reduce and/or eliminate the risk of injury/illness, enhance worker productivity, and improve quality of work life. Typical methods of evaluation include a qualitative method (questions/answer type responses), as well as a quantitative one (compiling numbers and measurements from various sources). The frequency of the evaluation varies for each element, but generally the overall process evaluation should occur on an annual basis. It is important to establish measures and evaluation criteria pertinent to your specific process element and facility. A sample plant audit is included in Appendix E. Some companies use quarterly reports to document and detail their activities, i.e. identify problems, cases, solutions, improvements, follow-up responsibilities, and training. A sample plant report is included in the Schedule Process Review element of this section. Improvements in productivity, worker efficiency, quality standards, and employee morale can be experienced and measured as well in conjunction with reductions in employee complaints and discomfort. The process and its results should be reviewed at least annually and a process of continual improvement implemented. Project Manager and Ergonomics Team Earlier in this manual, the area of initiating the process was discussed which included the assignment of a project manager. The project manager outlines the tasks to be completed and is responsible for creating the multi-discipline ergonomics team. The following areas should be represented: engineering, health and safety, supervision, health care provider, 9

11 management, maintenance, and employees. This diversity should provide insight from a wide variety of experience areas. The team along with the project manager should participate in the rest of the planning process. An implementation plan should be designed, assigning dates to specific milestones such as management overviews, data collection and prioritization, training, and meeting schedules for the project team. The following is an example of a responsibility assignment matrix that can be used by the project manager to document and ensure that the required tasks for the team are completed in a timely manner. You will notice that the task list includes some items that have been discussed previously in this manual. RESPONSIBILITY ASSIGNMENT MATRIX TASK/ITEM OSHA Records Review Nurse s log review Quality & productivity records Turnover, absenteeism Awareness training Screening Survey In depth analyses Monthly review COMMENTS Safety Director Health care provider Engineering department Payroll department Ergonomics trainer Ergonomics team Ergonomics team Ergonomics team START DATE ESTIMATED FINISH DATE ACTUAL FINISH DATE Note: Please make sure to contact legal counsel to ensure compliance with any federal or state privacy laws. The project manager should select the documents that will be used throughout the process to provide standardization. These should include checklists, analysis worksheets, and symptom surveys. Some sample forms can be found in the appendices at the back of this manual. Ergonomics Training Needs Although every employee should receive basic ergonomic training, it is recommended that all managers, supervisors, and selected key individuals from each functional area receive more intensified training. These individuals should be the leaders of the ergonomic implementation within their respective work areas. This intensified training for the group will serve both to spread the implementation workload and to achieve wider engagement within each work function. Training for new management and an explanation of their role in the ergonomics process is critical. As with all processes, associates must be knowledgeable about the potential health and safety hazards, including ergonomics risk factors. All team members should go through an orientation procedure that familiarizes them with content of the 10

12 ergonomics process, reporting requirements, response process, exercise/wellness program, checklists, and how they can impact the overall health and safety process. In February 2005, the AAFA published its first ergonomics manual as part of the AAFA/OSHA Alliance. This manual, entitled Ergonomics For Supervisors: Volume I, was written as a basic ergonomics training manual and covers ergonomic principles that apply to the work functions of a typical apparel/footwear factory. After selecting the key individuals from each functional area, the facility ergonomic champion should either conduct or arrange to have conducted training for the selected individuals using the Volume I manual as the training vehicle. This will give the chosen ergonomics leaders a common basis and background as they begin the formal implementation of the process. The AAFA/OSHA manual consists of a teaching guide, participant workbooks, and a CD-ROM presentation. For information in obtaining a copy of Volume I, visit the AAFA website at under the legislative/trade news icon. More specific training items are addressed in the following areas: PROJECT MANAGER - If the project manager has not had training in ergonomics, then that training should be scheduled as soon as possible. The manager and team members should be trained in the following areas: team dynamics, facilitation, group problemsolving techniques, introduction to ergonomics, recognition and evaluation of risk factors, signs and symptoms of musculoskeletal disorders, developing and implementing ergonomic solutions, principles of motion economy and work station design, the use of evaluation tools, and conducting an ergonomic analysis. MEDICAL PERSONNEL Medical personnel will require training in addition to the basic team member training listed above. These topics should include the anatomy of the upper extremities, neck and lower back and the identification, assessment, treatment, rehabilitation protocols of frequently occurring occupationally- induced MSDs. MANAGEMENT OVERVIEW Management personnel in the facilities do not require an in-depth knowledge level of ergonomics but should be trained in the basics. These should include: the ergonomics-related risk factors in the company; the types, symptoms and consequences of MSDs; the importance of early reporting; common measures to reduce exposure to risk factors; and the existence and function of the ergonomic committee. In addition, management should be trained in the specific protocols employed by the company each manager s responsibility within the protocol, their role in follow-through, and cooperation with ergonomic initiatives in their area. 11

13 EMPLOYEES All employees should receive ergonomic awareness training at least annually. New employees should have this training as part of their initiation. Topics included should be the primary risk factors, how to recognize symptoms, the importance of early reporting, the reporting procedures, and the existence and functions of the ergonomics committee. Employees should also be advised as to how they can expect to see problem jobs addressed over the coming months. EMPLOYEES ON PROBLEM JOBS Once the worksite analyses have been completed, the analyst should be able to prioritize which jobs have the most potential for ergonomic problems. Employees on those jobs will require additional ergonomic training related to the specific risk factors and changes on their job. Topics include: information on the proper use of the tools and equipment; information on the risk factors specific to their job; the controls planned or implemented to address them; descriptions of the early signs and symptoms of the hazard related to their job; and emphasis on the importance of early reporting. Early Stages of Team Development After technical training, the team should conduct additional practice sessions to ensure continuity in analytical processes and problem solving. Several jobs should be identified for group analysis. Each member should conduct each analysis individually, and then share their results with the team. Discussions should center on differences between the individual evaluations. Data Assessment In Section II various data collection areas were discussed. If the data collection was not accomplished prior to issuing the project charter, it must be the initial task of the project manager and ergonomics team. The areas for analysis include the OSHA 300 Logs, Worker s Compensation reports, group health insurance claims, first aid logs, lost time and restricted duty records, worker turnover, absenteeism, and quality issues. Baseline Surveys Once the employee awareness training has been completed, the ergonomics team can conduct a baseline survey of the jobs in their facility to identify obvious risk factors. A few examples of these forms can be found in the appendices of this manual. High level evaluation forms typically use a yes/no format, a simple point assignment process, or a series of sketches/photos that demonstrate the risk factor under evaluation. Baseline surveys are not definitive but along with earlier data can provide the team with a prioritized focus on the jobs that require a more in-depth analysis. Baseline data will also be valuable in documenting improvements made through the ergonomic process implementation. 12

14 Worksite / Job Safety Hazard Analysis Once baseline data assessment has been completed the ergonomics team should proceed with individual job safety hazard analyses, also known as worksite analysis. Baseline data will have provided information for assigning priority to the jobs with the highest number of risk factors, the most people affected, or the jobs with the highest cost associated with musculoskeletal disorders. It is also important to identify several jobs where there appears to be an easy fix to the problem. These success stories should help establish the ergonomics team as a results-oriented resource. The operations identified by these procedures should be scheduled for a more detailed analysis and depending on the level of expertise of the team may require analysis by a certified ergonomist. A Job Safety Hazard Analysis (JSA) is used to identify, quantify, and document ergonomic risk factors and associated hazards on a specific job. A sample JSA is included in Appendix F. Previously proposed or implemented federal/state standards are provided in evaluation forms in order to assign a point value to an ergonomic analysis. An example from the National Institute for Safety and Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) is attached as Appendix G. These forms offer a method to identify whether or not the risk factors on a specific job under evaluation are under control or require control measures. Some Before/After examples of jobs that implemented improvements after job safety hazard analysis can be found in Appendix H. Medical Management As mentioned in the management support section, every employee should have access to a health care provider and it is imperative that early identification and reporting of symptoms of MSDs occur. MSDs are cumulative in nature, meaning that the trauma accumulates with time. Lost time injuries can occur if conditions are not addressed and resolved immediately. If an employee is seen rubbing or shaking their hands this should be taken as a sign that symptoms may be present. At this point the normal protocols should be investigated including notification of the first aid attendant and the various ergonomics and safety related teams. In some companies, health care provider screening procedures have been implemented to assist management in selecting individuals who are suited to the functional aspects of specific jobs. Check with your health care provider or legal department for the current practices in your company. A baseline health examination should be made prior to the assignment of new employees. An example of a post-offer screening tool has been provided in Appendix I. Conservative treatment is the best approach in musculoskeletal disorders with surgery being the last option. An example procedure is included in this manual as a guide in establishing one for your own company. Any employee with a possible MSD should be encouraged to report to the medical department, the company physician, or an external health care provider. Every encounter should be documented using established forms and added to the occupational history of the individual. The health care provider should perform screening tests to identify if there is a musculoskeletal disorder and determine if treatment is indicated. A standardized physical examination should be performed 13

15 including inspection, palpation, and range of motion testing for the affected area. Diagnostic tests may be performed depending on the capabilities of the health care provider. If positive physical signs are apparent on examination, or if the symptoms continue without physical signs, a re-evaluation should be scheduled in no less than three working days. If the condition worsens, the ergonomics committee should initiate a job analysis. If the condition remains unchanged, further evaluation should be completed within three working days. The health care provider should also advise the individual of the advantages of seeking a second opinion regarding any recommendations for surgery. If the health care provider recommends that the individual be placed on restricted duty, the restricted employee should be placed in appropriate jobs consistent with his/her capabilities and limitations. It is a valuable tool to have a catalog of standard job descriptions that include all activities of the job. The health care provider may reference these activities to assist in identifying alternate or return-to-work jobs. An employee who has reported discomfort from work that has progressed to outside medical intervention should be followed up by either an in-house nurse or an assigned case manager. The nurse or case manager should be in contact with the health care provider to understand the job restrictions and the rate of improvement related to the healing process. As the health care provider sees the employee at different intervals, he/she will be in a position to determine whether or not the employee is making progress in healing. This information should be communicated to the plant management so all medical orders can be followed and enforced. Every effort must be made to allow the employee time to recover, both physically and emotionally, from an MSD. The role of an in-house nurse or case manager is to work with the employee and help them understand the process of getting well. Daily contact with the employee is necessary to gauge how they are doing with healing. Any sign of a problem should be addressed with the employee or directed to the medical care provider to correct the situation. Alternative Duty is a tool that can be useful in keeping an employee engaged in their work ethic. It provides the environment of emotional support and allows the on-site professionals an opportunity to foster good will toward the employee. Alternative Duty also helps a person continue to earn their regular wages and benefits and keep up their spirits, which assists the healing process. Scheduled process review Regularly scheduled reviews should be held to monitor the success of the process at a minimum this should occur annually. An example of a quarterly ergonomic plant report has been included at the end of this section. The ergonomic process should be reevaluated for areas of improvement. Statistics should be kept throughout the year including the number of people trained, exams given and passed, and the number of analyses conducted. A record should be kept on any job identified as being a priority, including the number of employees on those jobs, as well as the percentage of those who 14

16 are experiencing or have experienced ergonomic issues. These results should be shared with upper management as well as facility management. The review should emphasize any reduction of the benchmarks identified in the initial data assessment. For example, has turnover been reduced, and has there been an obvious decline in the number and cost of worker s compensation claims? Annual reviews should ensure that files have been maintained on all job analyses and their results, including the implementation of controls. Results of ergonomic risk evaluations should be summarized by department and an ongoing prioritized list should be kept to identify jobs for change. Where administrative controls have already been implemented, there should be a review of the effectiveness of the controls and whether they are being managed properly. The purpose of the annual review is to provide for continual improvement efforts and to ensure that management commitment and support continues. It also ensures that procedures are in place and have been followed and that the ergonomic process efforts have generated concrete results and improved company performance. An example of a form that can be used in the review process is included on the next page. 15

17 Date: Manager s Name: Plant: Quarterly Ergonomics Process Review Plant Ergonomics Coordinator: Ergonomics Implementation Team Members: List Ergonomics Goals and projected completion dates: a. b. c. List status of ongoing Ergonomics projects and successful attempts at correcting conditions that contributed to MSDs. a. b. c. 16

18 List details of all new cases reported: Name, Date, Job, Condition, and Action taken Other Pertinent Comments: Plant Manager Signature & Date List All Employee Ergonomics Complaints: Name Job Title Dept. Date Complaint

19 ERGONOMIC PROCESS FLOWCHART This chart presents an overview of the ergonomics process in which the vertical components are somewhat interdependent. The green arrow shows that this is an iterative/continual improvement process. 18

20 SECTION IV: APPAREL/FOOTWEAR FOCUSED PROCESS This section will approach the implementation of ergonomics from the perspective of an apparel/footwear manufacturing environment. In a typical facility, there can be three clearly defined functional areas: Manufacturing functions (cutting, sewing/assembly and finishing) Distribution functions (receiving, stocking, pick/pack and shipping) Office/clerical functions (data entry, customer service, scheduling, etc.) Overall ergonomic concepts apply to all these functional areas. This section will begin with a general overview, then address each area separately. Functional Areas General Information One of the key steps in the formation of any ergonomic process is a process of workstation evaluation. Simply stated, workstation evaluation consists of comparing the current physical layout and work methods of a given workplace or work task to established ergonomic principles. When this comparison indicates ergonomic deficiencies, controls should be put in place to remove or reduce these ergonomic problems. In the beginning stages of ergonomic implementation, two approaches to worksite analysis can be applied: begin analyzing a few known ergonomic problem areas use a systematic approach to analyze the full range of work activities within the functional area While there may be a need to take on certain work activities early in the implementation process because of known problems, it is recommended here to systematically analyze the entire functional area and then set priorities based on analysis findings. A key factor in the implementation of ergonomics is the ability to achieve early success in the process. Not every work area will have a quick and/or easy solution to ergonomic problems. By conducting a complete functional analysis, priorities can be balanced between those work areas that can present relatively simple, quick-fix potential with those that will prove to require longer-term solutions. This allows for initial success while those work areas that will have slower improvement rates are in process. The approach here should start with an overall analysis of each identified functional area. 19

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