Ergonomics Case Study - Case Studies in Ergonomics

Three Ergonomics case studies would be presented here. They are about how the role of ergonomics and its effects on increased productivity for the workplace. Other benefits include lowered medical costs to the employer in health compensation claims.

ergonomics case study

Ergonomics is the science of designing and arranging your workplace, home or office, to be comfortable, safe and efficient for working.

An ergonomic workplace can save you time and money and can help you stay healthy and fit.

Ergonomics Case Study:

  1. Deere and Company

  2. Silicon Graphics Inc

  3. Siemens Automotives

1. Case Study: Deere and Company

Deere and Company manufactures farm equipment. Workers in their construction department perform a number of manual jobs that involve heavy objects. Workers needed to work while being on their knees and bent over assembling machinery parts.

Using hand tools like a wrench was also being used repetitively and with difficult postures for their wrists.

At one workstation, employees had to lift a heavy lawn mower deck to attach it to the tractor.

They had to kneel while fastening the deck with one hand and also holding it with their other hand.

These tasks were verified as hazardous by OSHA first-aid logs and forms.

See also How To Lift Without Injuring your back in Industrial Ergonomic Tips.

They revealed a huge amount of lost time and money due to the work environment not being ergonomic.

It was verified by an increasing loss of productive work time due to back injury of workers which increased up to 31% in 1979. It also escalated workers medical compensation costs by 15% per year.

There were 12 cases of first-aid during one year. Four of the cases were due to sprains, back injury and strained muscles. A worker assembling parts had to suffer back problems because of working in awkward position for long hours.

The company also lost 28% more time due to workers' over-exertion and back strains in 1984. For the same reason, the company had to pay a 70% more medical compensation to workers in 1978.

Risk Assessments

The reasons and risk factors for these workers health issues were lifting and carrying heavy objects weighing around 75 pounds, bending and kneeling of workers for prolonged times, workers with hand tools like wrenches with awkward wrist positions. The hand job was also highly repetitive further risking the workers' wrists.

Implemented Ergonomics Training Program

As a solution to these problems, the company initiated some ergonomics programs using the NIOSH education for lifting. They started an 8-hour ergonomics training program.

The production design department was assigned a full time ergonomist. They carried out a review of the office furniture and laid down guidelines for new purchases. The company also trained their employees on the use of video displays.

As part of the engineering controls, the company put restrictions on lifting objects manually which were heavier than 40 pounds.

They redesigned the workstations at assembling plants to workers did not have to bend or kneel. They changed the hand tools to save the workers from wrist strains and installed a hoist at the assembly line for lifting of the lawn mower decks.

Effectiveness of Ergonomics

Benefits of these ergonomics initiatives showed as a reduced exposure of the workers to back injury risks. It also increased their workers productivity substantially along with their efficiency. Workers compensation cost was also decreased due to fewer cases of injury.

Effectiveness of these ergonomic initiatives resulted in 83% reduction in cases of back injury which saved them considerable lost time.

It also showed a 32% reduction in workers' healthcare compensation during the last 10 years. Workers participation and contribution in these initiatives helped the company achieve these benefits.

Read more about this ergonomic case study here: "http://www.ergoweb.com/resources/casestudies/detail.cfm?id=101"

2. Case Study: Silicon Graphics Inc.

Another Ergonomics case study is about a large supplier of computer servers, workstations and super-computers called Silicon Graphic Inc.

The company has 3,800 workers. Their jobs included:

  • Workers doing office work had to use the computer mouse extensively.
  • Workers at assembly line had to do considerable manual work while handling materials.
  • Workers also had to lift heavy computer systems to pack them into shipping boxes.
  • OSHA reported increasing cases of upper limb disorders during the period between 1991 and 1996. The hazards were identified by increasing cases of CTD related injuries in 1990s, increase in back injuries and a resulting increase in medical costs.

    Risk Assessments

    The risks were identified as lifting and carrying of heavy objects and awkward postures while working.

    So they hired a ergonomics consultant to evaluate the workstations for ergonomic conditions and provided compulsory ergonomic trainings to their employees and purchased new ergonomic office equipment.

    Learn how to make your own ergonomic risk assessment.

    Effectiveness of Ergonomics

    All this made their workers less exposed to different types of CTDs. The ergonomics case study goes on to report that it reduced their upper limb disorder cases by 41 percent and all related injuries by 70 percent.

    This ergonomics program was made successful by the support and funding of the upper management for it.

    Read more about this ergonomic case study at: "http://www.ergoweb.com/resources/casestudies/detail.cfm?id=89"

    3. Case Study: Siemens Automotives

    Effectivenes of Ergonomics

    The final Ergonomics case study is about Siemens, a designer and manufacturer of electronic systems for automobiles.

    The company employs 14,000 workers. Their workers had to work on desks with mouse away from the keyboard so they had to lean to get the mouse. Workers using typewriters had to turn to the left to read the documents they were typing.

    Their work tables were not easily adjustable.

    There were complaints of shoulder pains, back, elbow and finger pains by 43% of the employees. The incidence rate of carpal tunnel syndrome was increasing. Several employees had to visit chiropractors.

    Risk Assessments

    The risk factors were identified as workers' leaning for the mouse and stretching their necks to read the documents while typing.

    As ergonomic solutions, the company performed evaluation of their workstations, trained employees on stretch exercises, encouraged CAD operators to wear focus glasses and take short breaks, provided adjustable chairs and foot rests.

    Effectiveness of Ergonomics

    The benefits showed all employees as less exposed to CTD risk factors. The company saved lost time of about 20,000 hours due to reduced CTD related cases.

    Read more about this ergonomics case study and more Ergonomic Case Studies, please go to "http://www.ergoweb.com/resources/casestudies/detail.cfm?id=88"

    SHOP for Ergonomics case studies

    Industrial Ergonomics: Case Studies

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    SHOP Ergonomics Case Studies

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