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Success with Ergonomics
Rockwell Automation

 
State: Wisconsin
   
Company: Rockwell Automation
Milwaukee, WI
   
Industry: Electromechanics/manufacturing - SIC Code: 36
   
Employees: 3,000 in Milwaukee Headquarters location

 
Success Brief: The introduction of an ergonomics program with a four-pronged approach to injury prevention has significantly reduced ergonomics-related injuries.
 

The Problem
 
In the early 90’s, the injury rates in the Milwaukee facility were increasing as the general worker population and seniority rates increased. It was determined at that time that ergonomic changes needed to be incorporated into existing manufacturing lines as well as designed into new products and assembly lines from the outset.

The Solution
 
A comprehensive approach has injury prevention as its main goal. Ergonomics programs were developed in four areas: existing manufacturing lines, new manufacturing lines, new product development, and office ergonomics. An extensive ergonomics training program overlaps with each of these areas. All employees in the facility receive at least one kind of training (office ergonomics, factory ergonomics, ergonomics for engineers, etc.).

Some of the programs include:
  • Ergonomic evaluations of all new and relocated assembly lines.
  • Ergonomic input on new product design, as well as new equipment and fixture design.
  • An employee request system for employees to have an ergonomic evaluation done of their workstation.
  • A “peer facilitator” program, which is made up of hourly employees with advanced ergonomics training that act as ergo advocates and first-line intermediaries.
  • A closed-loop evaluation and corrective action system for any reported injuries.
  • Extremely successful office ergonomics request program.
  • A crib on-site stocked with frequently used ergonomic items including hand tools, floor mats, footrests, anti-vibration gloves, document holders, etc.
In addition, the facility employs a Certified Professional Ergonomist to manage the programs. The facility also has a fully staffed medical clinic on-site, including a physician, physician’s assistant, nurses, and a full physical therapy department.

The Impact
 
The severity of the company's ergonomic-related injury and illness experience, as measured by lost or restricted workdays, has fallen significantly.

 
Source: Cally Edgren, Senior Safety Engineer, Rockwell Automation, Milwaukee, (414) 382-4481.
 
 
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