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Success with Ergonomics
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Rhode Island

State: Rhode Island
Company: Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Rhode Island
  Providence, Rhode Island
Industry: Insurance carriers - SIC Code 63
Employees: 1,600

Success Brief: Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island has seen a significant improvement in its lost workdays and Workers’ Compensation costs since formalizing its ergonomics program in 2000.

The Problem

Although the company had addressed ergonomic issues in the past, a stronger program was needed when administrators began noticing a rise in lost workdays from musculoskeletal disorders.

The Solution

The company’s safety committee formalized a program by first increasing awareness among its employees. The ergonomics team then began to assess employee workstations. Based upon these observations, workstations were changed, including the installation of new office equipment. Other changes to the company’s ergonomics program over the past two years include:
  • Ergonomics presentations at orientation and at the request of company departments.
  • Stretching exercises.
  • Automated recordkeeping and tracking.
  • Standardized ergonomic equipment.

The Impact

Since 1999, the Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island ergonomics program has yielded several positive results. Lost work days decreased from 345 in 1999 to 104 in 2000 – a 70 percent reduction. Workers’ Compensation costs also dropped significantly – from $227,620 in 1999 to $26,010 in 2000 – a decline of nearly 89 percent.

Source: Don Silva, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Rhode Island (January 2003).
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