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Written by:  Hannah Brinza, M.S.

Do you want to reduce injuries at work? Ergonomic Education is a good start.  

It is truly remarkable what humans are capable of when they have a unified vision and are all working towards the same goal. Illustrations can include simple models of teamwork like a relay team or a group firetruck push, to engineering marvels such the Hoover Dam or the Eiffel Tower. It all comes down to working together towards a common goal. Imagine what such focus could do if everyone was aligned with injury prevention and risk reduction in your business. What is stopping your business from achieving this level of synergistic focus?  

When it comes to reducing injury in the workplace, the biggest hurdle we typically see is not a resistance to make necessary changes but a lack of ergonomic knowledge from entry level positions up to the C-suites. Education is a crucial component of reducing injuries in the workplace. By educating across the business, you can proactively reduce ergonomic risk, improve identification of risk, learn about ergonomic solutions, and begin to address immediate issues. At Sandalwood Engineering and Ergonomics, we have perfected ergonomic training for all levels including your business leaders, design team, shop floor leads, EHS officers, new employees, and office staff.   

Address Immediate Issues 

Your industrial athletes (manufacturing, assembly, fulfillment, processing, refinery, construction, line workers etc) are on the front line of daily operations. Frequently, they are also at greatest risk of workplace injury. Like any athlete, industrial athletes need good coaching to make improvements. Training should teach your team members the basics of ergonomics and how to reduce risk at their own job. They should learn the mechanics of safely performing lifts, the long-term consequences of misusing their body for time saving shortcuts, the importance of properly using tools and many more risk reducing behaviors.

By educating those at the highest risk of ergonomic injury, your organization can begin to reduce risk right away. Besides reduced medical expenses and compensation cost, reduced injury rates also cut down on absenteeism, cost of training new workers, lost productivity and time spent investigating accidents. 

Industrial athletes are not the only employees who can benefit immediately from ergonomic education. Your office staff: the money crunchers, data analyzers, secretaries, legal team, administration, and anyone who sits at a desk, can all benefit from Office Ergonomics training. In this training, staff learn the importance of setting up a workstation for their unique body measurements, work behaviors that can reduce risk and some simple solutions to improve overall ergonomic health.  

Improve Identification of Ergonomic Risk 

Who better to educate on ergonomic risk identification than those most often interacting with the organization’s industrial athlete? These individuals typically include Team Leads, Plant Floor Managers and EHS Officers, all of whom are in a position to identify risk and provide solutions. Sandalwood has led several unique trainings that educate these key team members on human capabilities, types of workplace injuries, different ergonomic risks, coaching tips for improving ergonomic work behaviors and various ways to resolve ergonomic issues. By improving risk identification, existing issues can be found, and solutions can be implemented before they lead to injury.  

Proactively Reduce Ergonomic Risk 

Identifying and addressing current issues is an important part of reducing ergonomic risk. However, to truly create a culture committed to reducing workplace injury, the business needs to start thinking about how to proactively prevent injury. During the very conception of a new design is when you need to start considering who will assemble the product and how. As your Ergonomic Program evolves, trainings such as Ergo for Engineers, will allow your team to understand the level of force assembly workers can safely produce, what kinds of postures will result from distinctive designs, how to consider hand clearances for assembly, plan for serviceability and many other methods of design for optimal ergonomic benefit.

Education on these kinds of human capabilities not only creates a positive safety culture but frequently leads to quality improvements. By proactively incorporating ergonomic design, the organization can also save on costs that would be incurred if a product had to be redesigned when equipment is in place due to the team members being physically unable to assemble the product.  Early changes are easier to re-design, allow for “what if” scenarios to optimize overall design and reduce cost when compared to changes that must be made after a product goes into build phase. This same kind of training can be applied to engineers involved in floor planning, workstation design and any design intended for worker interaction (including the office).  

Want to Learn More? 

Here at Sandalwood, we want your business to thrive and would like to work with you on a customized solution for your business. We offer training courses that cover many different aspects of the workplace. Some of these trainings include Ergo 101, New Hire Ergo Training, Ergo for Engineers, Ergo for Team Leads, Office Ergonomics, Ergo Shop Floor Fundamentals for Business Leaders and many more. We are continuously updating our trainings to stay current with new ergonomic developments and to meet the individual needs of our clients. If you think your organization could benefit from an ergonomic education, contact us today. 

Interested in learning more about the ergonomic programs and training Sandalwood can offer? Contact us on LinkedIn  https://www.linkedin.com/company/sandalwood-engineering-&-ergonomics/ or visit our website: https://sandalwood.com