Business Benefits from Ergonomics Training
At System Concepts the objective of our ergonomics training is not to teach you the general principles of ergonomics. The real objective is to show you how to put ergonomics into practice to gain business benefits-with the minimum of effort and disruption.
Customising courses to meet each client's specific business requirements and ergonomics challenges is vital. This enables our trainers (who all have practical experience in applying ergonomics) to design courses which include powerful examples of good and poor practice and realistic problem solving exercises. This same approach is adopted in all of our training whether the courses are about office ergonomics, industrial ergonomics, health and safety, or designing usable computer systems and user interfaces.
Having provided these training services for 10 years now, we have many examples to demonstrate the measurable results that can be achieved by our clients. Here, we present two such case studies.
Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI) - conditions caused by repeated or awkward movements, usually of the shoulder, arm or wrist - afflicts a wide range of employees from journalists to chicken packers. The preventative value of ergonomics training as a weapon in the battle against RSI is increasingly being recognised and used in corporate healthcare programmes. A City investment bank used our suite of office ergonomics training courses to instil a preventative culture amongst its employees.
The bank has from the very start met all its statutory requirements under health and safety legislation. But they have also adopted a proactive approach to healthcare by also looking at ways to maintain health in those who are fit and well and to minimise the effects of illness if health breaks down. They view healthcare as an investment in the health of the company, rather than an overhead expense.
When the bank started to encounter its first cases of RSI its proactive approach to healthcare meant staff reported the symptoms early when treatment is most effective. During this year up to 35 staff were reported to be experiencing symptoms of discomfort that were diagnosed as some form of RSI. They asked us to devise a programme of preventative training.
The trainee assessors attended our two day Assessing Display Screen Equipment, which is designed to transfer ergonomics skills to local experts, this ensures that workplace assessments can be competently conducted by in-house staff. In parallel to the workstation assessor training, intensive display screen users attended (and continue to attend) our half day Using Display Screen Equipment training seminar. This seminar is designed to raise users' awareness of workstation ergonomics and provide them with practical skills to reduce the risks.
The acid test of preventative training is the reduction of RSIs being diagnosed. The latest figures from the bank report that diagnosed cases of RSI have fallen from 35 to four over the last financial year. The company has also benefited from lower than expected Private Insurance premiums.
Many examples exist of successful ergonomics training in the automotive industry. Here are two further examples of the types of projects completed and their measurable results. You can also read about the training courses that lead to these benefits.
A group of engineers attended our Practical Industrial Ergonomics course which provided training in problem identification and solution design. This team of engineers redesigned a storage operation which required workers to hold one-handed 30-40lb (13.6-18kg) panels on a swinging hook. The redesign enabled the panel to be handled two-handed and they stabilised the hook motion thus reducing shoulder and back stress.
After attending our training course, supervisors and safety personnel were able to identify ergonomics problems on the production line. They analysed a connecting rod balancing task which required the worker to retrieve metal parts from a bin placed on the floor. Having analysed the job they decided to install a lift table and introduce job rotation amongst the team of workers. In the same plant, an air balancer system was installed to reduce awkward bending postures required to tighten bolts on the underside of cars while handling heavy torque power tools. These two solutions reduced the risk of low back injury and resulted in a 27% decrease in absenteeism through low back pain in one year.
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