L.L. Bean

State: Maine
Company: L.L. Bean Freeport, Maine
Industry: Apparel Manufacturing - SIC Code: 23
Employees: Approximately 400
Success Brief:

Reduced lost-time incidents involving work-related musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) by 79%.

The Problem:

L.L. Bean determined that from 1988 through 1990, 70% of its manufacturing lost-time claims were classified as work-related musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs). Further, the company found that the claims were predominantly for injuries to the upper extremities and the back.

The Solution:

L.L. Bean used OSHA logs, workers' compensation data and videotapes of jobs to analyze ergonomic problems. Once the issues were identified, the company used an ergonomics design team, consisting of an ergonomics specialist, a standards analyst/engineer, an occupational health nurse and a member of the maintenance department to create solutions. The team redesigned several aspects of the company's workstations, concentrating on excess force, angle problems, repetitions, and awkward unsupported postures.

The Impact:

After redesigning several aspects of the company's workstations, lost-time incidents due to MSDs were reduced by 79% and have remained low in subsequent years.

  • Wayne Hartz, Manager, Corporate Health and Safety, L.L. Bean (December 2002).