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It is [COMPANY NAME]’s policy to ensure employees are protected from the potential hazards involved with ergonomics. The purpose of the program is to apply ergonomic principles to reduce the number and severity of musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs). MSDs affect the muscles, nerves, blood vessels, ligaments, and tendons. MSDs are caused by risk factors, such as lifting heavy items, bending, reaching overhead, pushing and pulling heavy loads, working in awkward body postures, and repeatedly performing the same or similar tasks.
A proactive approach focuses on making changes when risks have already been identified as well as incorporating ergonomics into the design phase of a new facility or process, purchasing new equipment or tools, and scheduling changes. [COMPANY NAME] has such a program, which includes the following components:
An essential element to the success of the ergonomics program, employees will be solicited for their input and assistance with identifying ergonomic risk factors, worksite evaluations, controls development and implementation, and training. Employee participation in the program will occur only during company time.
Identification of Problem Jobs
We will conduct a records review of OSHA logs, workers’ compensation claims, visits to medical facilities, and absentee records. We will also observe, interview, survey, and use questionnaires, checklists, and formal worksite evaluation tools to identify specific high-risk activities.
Triggers for a worksite evaluation:
- When an employee reports an MSD sign or symptom.
- Jobs, processes, or work activities where work-related ergonomic risk factors have been identified, which may cause or aggravate MSDs.
- Any job, task, equipment, tool, process, scheduling, or work shift hours changes (ex: going from a traditional five-day, eight-hour shift to a compressed four-day, 10-hour shift).
- When a safety walk-through or scheduled inspection or survey has uncovered potential MSD hazards.
Work-related risk factors to be considered in the evaluation process include:
- Physical risk factors, including force, postures (awkward and static), static loading, and sustained exertion, fatigue, repetition, contact stress, extreme temperatures, and vibration.
- Administrative issues, including job rotation/enlargement, inadequate staffing, excessive overtime, inadequate or lack of rest breaks, stress from deadlines, lack of training, work pace, work methods, and psychosocial issues.
- Environmental risk factors including noise, lighting, glare, air quality, temperature, humidity, and personal protective equipment and clothing.
- Combination of risk factors such as, but not limited to, highly repetitive, forceful work with no job rotation or precision work done in a dimly lit room.
Worksite evaluations will be scheduled based on the following:
- Any job, process, operation, or workstation that has contributed to a worker’s current MSDs.
- A job, process, operation, or workstation that has historically contributed to MSDs.
- Specific jobs, processes, operations, or workstations that have the potential to cause MSDs.
Worksite Evaluation Methods
Various methods will be used to evaluate problem jobs, including:
- Walk-through and observations
- Employee interviews
- Surveys and questionnaires
- Detailed worksite evaluations
Ergonomic Risk Factors Control
[Company Name] will take steps to identify ergonomic risk factors and reduce hazards by using a three-tier hierarchy of control (in order of preference):
- Engineering controls – The most desirable and reliable means to reduce workplace exposure to potentially harmful effects, achieved by focusing on the physical modifications of jobs, workstations, tools, equipment, or processes.
- Administrative controls – This means controlling or preventing workplace exposure to potentially harmful effects by implementing administrative changes, such as job rotation, job enlargement, rest/recovery breaks, work pace adjustment, methods redesign, and worker education.
- Personal protective equipment (PPE) – Although not recognized as an effective means of controlling hazards, there are acceptable forms of PPE, which include kneepads and anti-vibration gloves. PPE does not take the place of engineering or administrative controls.
Program Evaluation and Follow-Up
To ensure that issues have been addressed and that new problems have not been created, monitoring and evaluation will be conducted on an on-going basis. The methods include use of individual interviews and checklists to reevaluate the job/task to ensure that risks have been reduced, minimized, or eliminated.
Training is intended to enhance the ability of managers, supervisors, and employees to recognize work-related ergonomic risk factors and to understand and apply appropriate control strategies. Training in the recognition and control of ergonomic risk factors will be given as follows:
- To all new employees during orientation.
- To all employees assuming a new job assignment.
- When new jobs, tasks, tools, equipment, machinery, workstations, or processes are introduced.
- When high exposure levels to ergonomic risk factors have been identified.
The minimum for all managers, supervisors, and employees will include the following elements:
- A list of exposures associated with the development of MSDs.
- A description of MSD signs and symptoms and consequences of injuries caused by work and non-work-related risk factors.
- An emphasis on the importance of early reporting of MSD signs and symptoms and injuries to management.
- The methods used by [Company Name] to minimize work and non-work-related risk factors.
All training will be documented.
Annual Program Review
The ergonomics program coordinator will conduct an annual program review to assess the progress and success of the program. The review will consider the following:
- All training programs and records evaluation.
- The need for retraining managers, supervisors, and employees.
- The jobs, processes, or operations that have produced a high incidence rate of work-related MSDs.
- The time between a request for an ergonomic evaluation and the actual evaluation.
- The time between the point at which evaluation results are known and when control implementation.
- The time between the beginning and completion of controls implementation.
- The program’s success based on comparison to previous years using the following criteria:
- Number and type of lost workdays associated with OSHA recordable cases.
- Cost of workers’ compensation cases.
- Employee feedback through direct interviews, walk-through observations, written surveys and questionnaires, and re-evaluations.