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Success with Ergonomics
ConAgra Foods

State: Illinois
Company: ConAgra Foods
  St. Charles, IL
Industry: Sausage making - SIC Code: 2013
Employees: 140

Success Brief: Five years ago, a comprehensive health and safety program was developed to provide a safe work environment and reduce injuries and illnesses. One of many components was an ergonomics program.

The Problem
Five years ago, the plant decided to pursue OSHA Voluntary Protection Program status. As part of the staff's effort, they introduced a formalized, comprehensive ergonomics program.

The Solution
An ergonomics committee was formed. The company trained the team and committee members on how to identify stressor jobs and perform ergonomic analyses of them with the help of an ergonomics consultant. Employees were provided both general training (which emphasized signs, symptoms, and early reporting) and job-specific training. Supervisors were provided general and job-specific training, as well as training on how to observe Cumulative Trauma Disorder (CTD) problems. Based on the job safety analyses and evaluations by a second ergonomics consultant, the company changed some aspects of their production lines and work stations. The plant nurse was provided ergonomic training on CTD signs and symptoms and their medical case management procedures were significantly improved.

The Impact
Since the development of these programs, there has been a reduction in recordable injuries and illnesses, due specifically to employee involvement, early reporting,  and improved medical management.

Source: E.J. Klages Safety Director, ConAgra Refrigerated Foods Group, St. Charles, IL, September 2002.
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