Following the introduction of an office ergonomics program, workplace strain injuries decreased from 43 percent to 0. Workplace productivity also improved.
In 1991, 43 percent of Siemens' 250 office workers were complaining of pain in their shoulders, back, elbows, and fingers.
Siemens 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.
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.
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