May 24, 2012
Ergonomics is the study of designing a workplace to fit the human body. By custom making a workplace especially for the human body one eliminates the probabilities of musculoskeletal disorders as discussed in the article by the United States Department of Labor. The risks include but aren’t limited to, jobs that require repetitive lifting or moving heavy object or holding an awkward posture for long periods of time.
By not designing a workplace to fit the functional movements of the human body you create room for error. Errors that include lawsuits, constant work-related injuries that causes need to miss work, and high employee ...view middle of the document...
Scored surveys of DDC workstation users were developed and conducted on the variables identified and used to measure the baseline defect level.
Step 2: Analyze
Accurately identifying the root causes of a problem, which in turn leads to more effective improvements, is an essential function of the Six Sigma methodology. Therefore, the project team next analyzed the collected survey data to determine differences in the workstations, work environments, user training, and behavior at the different DDC sites. The team then identified possible root causes underlying these variables using several of the Six Sigma tools and methodologies, including brainstorming, ‘fishbone' diagramming, a work performance matrix, and Antecedant-Behavior-Consequence and Balance of Consequences analyses. After developing a list of possible root causes, the team used additional Six Sigma tools and methodologies to identify probable root causes and validate them. For example, one possible root cause identified was a failure of the employee to recognize the importance of ergonomics compliance to his or her personal well-being. This root cause was validated by the employee survey, in which many of the employees expressed an attitude of "it won't happen to me."
Other key root causes validated through this process were the lack of adjustable furniture at some worksites and a lack of "ownership" in personal safety on the part of the employee. The team also determined that ergonomics was not emphasized by DDC to the same extent as other, more immediate, safety issues such as the use of personal protective equipment in hazardous environments.
Step 3: Improve
After determining the most significant root causes through analysis and validation, the project team developed a series of improvements to correct the identified root causes, including both work-related and personal risk factors. Workstation deficiencies were easily addressed by implementing a workstation upgrade plan. Elevating workstation ergonomics to the same level of importance as other personal safety and health issues was a more challenging improvement. However, the team elevated the focus on workstation ergonomics by improving awareness on the part of management and employees and by altering employee behavior and work habits through increased accountability.
The project team developed a novel approach to raising employee awareness by collecting a series of personal testimonials from other employees and posting them on the Company's intranet site. These testimonials were supplemented by more traditional communications, including regular work group safety meetings, training, and increased ergonomics resources. At each facility, the company also designated Ergonomic Focal Points and Ergonomic Contacts, DDC workers who volunteered to receive...