Success Brief:In the early 1990s, the OSHA recordable rate for
ergonomics injuries (musculoskeletal disorder
cases and some sprain/strain cases) was over
2.0, and the lost day case rate was over .50.
In the ten years since, Intel has developed an
ergonomics program among the best in the
semiconductor industry. For 2001, the
ergonomics recordable rate was .10 and the
lost day case rate was .03.
In 1991, Intel recognized that ergonomic related
injuries comprised a significant portion of
the total occupational injuries and illnesses
across the company.
The effort to establish a formal ergonomics program at Intel started in
1991 with the identification of a corporate position for program development. Shortly thereafter Intel began hiring
ergonomics program coordinators to provide leadership and direction for the individual
sites. A cross-site team composed of ergonomists, occupational health professionals, and management was formed in
1991 to develop an ergonomics program guideline that outlines the core components of
a successful ergonomics program. The guideline includes: management commitment (from all levels), employee
involvement, accident investigation and case management, employee training, and hazard analysis and resolution. The
site coordinators were charged with implementing this ergonomics program at each
Over the years many
things have changed. Intel is approximately four times the size it was in the early 90s.
Today, the company has approximately 28 full-time ergonomists around the world. The program guideline has been reviewed
and revised on several occasions, but is still built around the same core components. The early focus was
on the wafer fabrication business. The program has since been successfully proliferated to assembly and test
manufacturing, systems manufacturing, warehousing operations, offices and laboratories. Today, much of
Intel's manufacturing and office ergonomics training is accomplished via web-based training enhanced with
animations and streaming video, making training available in remote locations without
direct ergonomics support. The company also offers a web-based tool for employees to assess their office setup for
ergonomics issues. This tool populates a database with office details such as desk height and adjunct
preference to aid office planners in employee moves. The ergonomists use sophisticated application software for
ergonomic risk assessment, which is designed internally and based on the latest ergonomics research for risk assessment.
For all of the company's improvements in tools and processes, the greatest contribution to
its program success
comes from consistent outstanding management support for the ergonomics program, and the
understanding among employees that they are responsible for their own safety.
In the ten years since
the program's inception, while the size of the
company has quadrupled, the recordable rate
and lost day case rate for ergonomics related
injuries has decreased approximately 95
percent, to .10 and .03 respectively. In 1999
the Semiconductor Industry Association ranked
Intel and 18 other major companies in terms of
total recordable case rate, and Intel ranked
best with a total recordable rate of .30
compared to the Semiconductor Industry median
of 2.77 and a high of 6.13.
In 1996 the Institute of Industrial Engineers
(IIE) presented Intel with an Outstanding
Achievement Award for improvements in
productivity, ergonomics and measurement of
work and workplaces. In 1999 Intel won the
Outstanding Office Ergonomics Award from the
Center for Office Technology (COT). In 2001
Intel won the Green Cross for Safety from the
National Safety Council.