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Success with Ergonomics
Lockheed Martin Systems Integration

State: New York
Company: Lockheed Martin Systems Integration
  Owego, New York
Industry: Aircraft SIC Code: 3721
Employees: 3,500

Success Brief: Lockheed Martin Systems Integration - Owego added a mandatory ergonomics training program for all employees that has significantly reduced the facility’s injury and illness incidence rate, severity rate and “days away” case rate.

The Problem
Lockheed Martin Systems Integration - Owego experienced several musculoskelatal injuries/illnesses (namely carpal tunnel syndrome, back pain and tendonitis) involving both material handling and keyboard/mouse use. After analyzing past accident investigation reports, one key pattern was identified: employees were waiting to report their injuries only after the symptoms had progressed to the point of severe pain and discomfort.

The Solution
The company’s ergonomics program has a training and communications component, employee involvement, and workstation evaluation, and stresses early recognition and reporting of musculoskelatal injuries/illnesses. All employees are required to take at least one course in ergonomics. Several training courses are available depending upon the type of work performed. Job task evaluations are initiated by employee requests; reported injuries (including first aid cases); and any significant departmental moves, additions or refurbishments. Based on these evaluations, the necessary physical and/or work practice changes are provided. Employee reporting of signs or symptoms triggers an immediate job task review and medical management of their case, including follow-up reviews after recommendations are made.

The Impact
Since instituting mandatory ergonomics training and improvements, Lockheed Martin Systems Integration - Owego has seen its “days away” case rate steadily improve over recent years to less than 0.20 in 2002. The number of musculoskelatal injuries/illnesses as a percentage of total OSHA recordables has also declined. Keyboard/mouse related injuries/illness, once prevalent, are now so low that employees rarely miss work or have to be put on restricted duty for such conditions.

Source: Lee Anderson, CIH CSP, Staff Industrial Hygienist (June 2003)
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