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Success with Ergonomics
Siemens VDO Automotive

State: Michigan
Company: Siemens VDO Automotive
  Auburn Hills, MI
Industry Automotive Supplier - SIC Code: 3714
Employees: 3,373

Success Brief: Following the introduction of an office ergonomics program, workplace strain injuries decreased from 43 percent to 0. Workplace productivity also improved.

The Problem
In 1991, 43 percent of Siemens’ 250 office workers were complaining of pain in their shoulders, back, elbows, and fingers.

The Solution
Seimens decided to initiate an office ergonomics program. Ergonomically designed chairs were provided to staff, and ergonomic evaluations were performed on every workstation, focusing on workers with symptoms. Back cushions, lumbar supports, keyboard/mouse rests, and document holders were provided. Frequent short exercise breaks were encouraged. Proper vision correction was investigated. A new-hire office ergonomics training program was brought on line, and regular training in correct posture, exercises, workstation adjustment, and back safety is provided.

The Impact
In the past two years, the company has not had any Cumulative Trauma Disorder (CTD) related lost time. It estimate savings of 20,000 hours per year in time previously lost to pain, doctor visits, and time off. With aggressive training and workstation adjustments, surgery was avoided in at least two cases. Siemens considers ergonomics to be "proven science:" when changes are made, the effects are predictable.

Source: Samuel Seabright, Siemens VDO Automotive (September 2002).
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