It has frequently been claimed that the establishment of ergonomic programs saves companies money due to less injuries and more efficiency and productivity. There is considerable evidence to support these claims from companies who have implemented ergonomic changes.
John Morrell & Co. a meatpacking company set up a comprehensive ergonomics program in 1988. According to OSHA documentation there were 880 musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) reported by company employees just the year before. In the year the program was put in place the reported injuries dropped to 364. By 1990 the number dropped again to 189 and in 1993 there were only 89 reports of musculoskeletal disorders.
Fieldcrest-Cannon, a textile manufacturer, reported an over 80% reduction in MSDs from 121 to 21 in the three year period ending in 1996. The company implemented several ergonomic changes such as adjustable chairs, springs for material-handling boxes, and an improved bagging system.
After making several ergonomic changes furniture maker Woodpro Cabinetry decreased their worker’s compensation costs from $103,824 to $61,000. They accomplished this by lowering the conveyor belt to give workers easier access to the tops of cabinets. They also implemented job rotation and installed angled tables to minimize bending and reaching.
Charleston Forge, a metal furniture manufacturing company, was able to increase productivity 25% after making ergonomic changes. They also reduced lost workdays due to MSDs from 176 in 1991 to 0 in 1997.
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