Monday is blog-writing day, but also a holiday, so I’m taking it easy and reviewing this new resource from the Institute for Work and Health (IWH), which is a guidance document for companies seeking to start an ergonomics program. They highlight four initiatives that have been proven to help reduce MSDs in the workplace.
Of course, I should also point out that our very own “on-site ergo” program offers clients leadership in all of the key aspects that the IWH article recommends.
Employee awareness initiatives
“Awareness programs and practices are considered important and effective for MSI prevention.” (IWH)
We rarely hear about “awareness initiatives” in the research, but our clients appreciate our monthly employee awareness material (bulletins), weekly ergo thoughts, and regular ergo contests. We also offer access to hundreds of one-page topic summaries and puzzles, so we can tackle virtually any ergo topic. These efforts keep strain/sprain injury prevention top of mind amongst employees, at home and at work.
“Training programs are considered effective and a key element of MSI prevention, especially if workers feel engaged by the training.” (IWH)
We couldn’t agree more! We offer hands-on training for various employee groups, as well as supervisors (industrial and office). We also offer coaching plans that supervisors or JHSCs can roll out, and some e-learning (for sit-stand introduction). For very specific tasks (such as using wrenches for pipe fittings on utility service meters), we have the skills and resources to custom-build hazard-specific training.
Hazard identification and solutions
“Hazard identification and solution programs/practices include efforts to identify MSI hazards and find solutions to remedy them. Examples include ergonomics assessments and solutions, safety checks of existing equipment, equipment and workstation adjustments, and work or workload modifications.” (IWH)
As ergonomists, this is our specialty. Every ergonomics program is based on a solid foundation of objective risk assessment, and collaborative solution building.
“Exercise and physical activity programs such as stretching, resistance training and physical conditioning programs are beneficial for both MSI prevention and symptom reduction.” (IWH)
Although previously not a priority in our program, we’ve been looking into this more closely. Our best practice studies often identify appropriate, task-specific stretching and strengthening exercises, and this is also built into many of our training programs.
It’s not every day that a national organization publishes a resource that reinforces every aspect of a service that we offer; we’re grateful for the support!
Need a hand with your ergo program? Contact us (519-623-7733 or firstname.lastname@example.org). We’d be happy to “taylor” a program just for you!
Reference: “Implementing MSI prevention programs: Advice from workplaces for workplaces” by Institute for Work and Health, published February, 2021