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Success with Ergonomics
Quad Graphics Inc.

State: Wisconsin
Company: Quad Graphics Inc.
  Pewaukee, WI
Industry: Commercial Printing and Lithography - SIC Code: 27
Employees: 8,000

Success Brief: Lost workdays declined by 60 percent. Workers' compensation costs declined by 10 percent.

The Problem
In 1993 Quad Graphics, a commercial printer,  determined that it could improve its occupational injury record and related workers' compensation costs.

The Solution
Since 1995, Quad/Graphics has sustained a comprehensive ergonomics program that looks at areas of high risk, in addition to those that have the most injuries. The company started with ergonomics training focusing on how musculoskeletal injuries occur in the workplace, how to identify the risk factors, how to recognize the early signs and symptoms, workplace biochemechanics and the importance of early reporting. It formed employee management teams in high-risk areas and charged them with identifying ergonomic stressors and potential controls. Quad Graphics’ proactive (versus reactive) approach encompasses thoroughly evaluating how musculoskeletal injuries occur in the workplace, identifying the risk factors, recognizing the early signs and symptoms, and understanding workplace biomechanics. To enhance the effectiveness of the program, the company views injuries from various angles and, of course, stresses the importance of early reporting. Its employee management teams have identified tasks and areas that need improvement by consulting management, employees, engineers, safety and healthcare professionals.

The Impact
Four years after this commercial printer first initiated a comprehensive ergonomics program, it had reduced its lost workdays by 60 percent and associated workers' compensation costs by 10 percent. Over the subsequent four-year period, the company has recorded the following tangible, positive results:
  • Lost time days have decreased by 25 percent (per 100 employees).
  • Restricted days have decreased by 116 percent (per 100 employees).
  • The number of work-related injuries reported have decreased by 25 percent.
  • Back injuries due to material handling (specific to ergonomics) have decreased by 39 percent and the cost of those injuries have decreased by 25 percent.

Source: Quad Graphics Inc., correspondence, October 16, 1998; Updated September 2002, Pam Goodreau, Corporate Ergonomics Coordinator, Quad Graphics, Inc.
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