Original Date: 08/20/2001
Revision Date: 12/14/2006
Best Practice : Ergonomics Program
The goal of the Ergonomics Program is to reduce work-related musculoskeletal disorders known as ergonomic injuries. Since implementing the program, Lockheed Martin Naval Electronics & Surveillance Systems-Surface Systems significantly reduced its worker’s compensation costs and is providing a better working environment for its employees.
Previously, Lockheed Martin Naval Electronics & Surveillance Systems-Surface Systems (NE&SS-SS) handled work-related ergonomic injuries by just treating OSHA recordables. This approach resulted in high worker’s compensation costs, high OSHA recordables, low employee morale, and poor worker efficiency. To resolve this situation, Lockheed Martin NE&SS-SS established an Ergonomics Program in 1995.
Lockheed Martin NE&SS-SS first conducted a risk assessment of all processes. Here, the company eliminated some tasks in high-risk processes through redesign, and worked with methods engineers on the remaining tasks. Early intervention through the combination of medical management and workstation improvements also produced significant results. Employees are provided with the proper tool before problems arise and receive training on new equipment that is purchased. Communication is an important aspect of the program regarding employee awareness. Among these venues are brown bag discussions, ten-minute health sessions, and newsletter articles. In addition, the company set up an Intranet web site dedicated to ergonomics, which provides employees with links to health articles, ergonomics news, workstation information, and exercises. To avoid individual work center financial restrictions, Lockheed Martin NE&SS-SS established a separate budget for ergonomics. Job rotations were also incorporated to eliminate long-term repetitive stress injuries, thereby providing an additional benefit of increased workforce flexibility for changing production requirements.
Since implementing the Ergonomics Program, Lockheed Martin NE&SS-SS reduced its worker’s compensation costs and OSHA recordables; improved employee morale; and increased worker efficiency. Employees now identify discomfort early, so it can be addressed before repetitive stress injuries become a problem. The company has dramatically reduced the number of lost workdays resulting from ergonomic injuries. Approximately 8,000 ergonomic-related lost days were reported in 1992. By 1998, this number dropped to zero and continues to remain very low.
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