HON Industries

State: Iowa
Company: HON Industries, Muscatine, IA
Industry: Office furniture manufacturing - SIC Code: 25
Employees: 9,000
Success Brief:

This mid-sized American manufacturer has lowered by 50 percent its back injury incidence rate, and has reduced total cumulative trauma disorders to account for only 15 percent of all injuries.

The Problem:

In the late 1980's, HON Industries determined that cumulative trauma disorders affecting company employees' backs were occurring at an unacceptable rate.

The Solution:

HON Industries instituted an ergonomics program focusing on its assembly workers, the bulk of the company's workforce. The company trained its employees in body mechanics and encouraged them to get involved in looking at their workstations and suggesting changes. It established an off-line assembly area where employees would try new equipment and tools. The company added powered scissor lifts to keep work at appropriate heights. Workstations were redesigned to eliminate the need to twist and bend to reach for parts.

The Impact:

Within a few years of starting an employee-focused workplace ergonomics program, HON Industries lowered by 50 percent the incidence rate for the most serious cumulative trauma disorders - back injuries. Presently, due to the continued success of the company's ergonomics program, cumulative trauma disorders account for only 15 percent of HON Industries total injuries.

  • Scott Linnae, HON Industries (October 2002).