Success Brief:Taking a proactive
approach to ergonomics and safety helped this
company achieve a twenty-seven percent reduction
in recordable injuries between 1998 and 2000.
DENSO Sales California
wanted to improve its ergonomics injury rate.
The company decided to move
from a reactionary approach to safety and
ergonomics issues, to a proactive stance to
improve its ergonomics injury rate. DENSO hired
an ergonomics consultant to train sixty of the
its employees from management, human resources,
engineers, maintenance workers and hourly
workers about skill-based ergonomics concepts.
The company had incorporated the Japanese
concept of Kaizen (meaning "gradual, orderly and
continuous improvement") into the workplace in
the 1970's. The Kaizen concept focused on
continuous improvement of the workplace by
eliminating waste in all systems and processes.
The ergonomics training was viewed as an effort
to reduce "wasteful motion in work activities."
The trained employees began the ergonomics
improvement process by conducting a formalized
loss review, targeting high-risk work areas with
a history of employee injury. DENSO used the
consultant's outline to incorporate ergonomic
improvements in the employee workstations,
including creating templates and design
standards that engineered out possible ergonomic
problems and creating a common dialogue that
allowed employees and management to clearly
discuss ergonomics. The early involvement of
management in the process ensured that
management support for the program was
consistent along the way.
DENSO experienced a
significant reduction in recordable injuries
while productivity increased in many of its
production lines as a result of its ergonomics
Steve Karrington, Safety Manager, DENSO Sales
California, Inc. (July 2003).