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International Truck and Engine Corporation


State: Illinois
Company: International Truck and Engine Corporation, Springfield, Ohio Assembly Plant
Industry: Truck and Bus assembly plant - SIC Code: 37
Employees: 2,500
Success Brief:

The Ergo dolly has completely eliminated trips and falls in its first full year of implementation, contributing to a reduction in the departmental injury rate. In addition, the Ergo dolly contributed to better ergonomic positioning of other work on the truck cab and increased productivity. Above all, the culture and attitudes of a veteran workforce have been transformed and this change of attitudes is continuing to deliver improvements in workplace safety and productivity.

The Problem:

International Truck and Engine Corporation, a subsidiary of Navistar International Corporation, is a leading producer of mid-range diesel engines, medium trucks, school buses, heavy trucks, and severe service vehicles. The Company had experienced a high rate of injuries in the cab trim department at its Springfield Assembly Plant. Analysis of the injury data indicated employees entering and exiting the cab were slipping, tripping and falling due to the high step-in.

The Solution:

In 1998, the Ergonomic-Health and Safety organization used ergonomic analysis tools to evaluate departmental safety. They identified the dolly as the number one cause of injury in the Cab Trim Department based upon 13 injuries with a projected $123,550 payout in the calendar year. The dolly, used to transport the cab through the Cab Trim Department, is a rectangular tube steel frame on four wheels. It supports four different cab models and is towed through the department by a towveyor system as operators perform their tasks on the unit. Analysis of the injury data indicated that employees entered and exited the cab multiple times and that the injuries resulted from slips, trips and falls over the high step-in. In 1999, a cross-functional team was formed to address the reduction of injuries. The "Ergo dolly" was developed over several iterations with the input of many workers. The new design incorporated a step that can slide out of the way when not used and made entry and exit easier.

The Impact:

The Ergo dolly has completely eliminated trips and falls in its first full year of implementation, contributing to a reduction in the departmental injury rate. In addition, the Ergo dolly contributed to better ergonomic positioning of other work on the truck cab and increased productivity. The most profound benefit cannot be measured in quantitative terms, but the culture and attitudes of a veteran workforce have been transformed because they have been allowed to participate in decisions that impact their jobs. (Prior to this project, the workers were reluctant to get involved because of the union-management relationship.) This change of attitudes in management and union is continuing to deliver improvements in workplace safety and productivity.

Source:
  • Subhash C. Vaidya, Navistar International Corporation (October 2002).
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