Insights from a successful ergonomics program
Every year, professionals across industries gather at the National Ergonomics Conference and Expo to share experiences, challenges, and best practices for building a successful ergonomics program.
In an opening session, Ergonomics Programs – Interactive Stories from the Field, Meg Honan, principal program manager from Genentech, challenged the audience to write down three points from each session and put them into practice.
The following points gleaned from her session became my lens throughout the remainder of the conference:
- Learn to Do More with Less
- Manage the Risks vs. the Consequences
- Communicate Value at all Levels
I was able to apply these points during the session, Rapid Response: An Early Discomfort Reporting Program for Computer Related Discomfort. Mike Wasik, a health and productivity advisor with Chevron Corporation, shared how their ergonomics program is thriving, even in the face of challenges brought on by the collapse of oil in late 2014 and corporate cutbacks.
Learn to Do More with Less: Leverage Software Automation
“If we do more with less, our response will be adequate to take care of everybody.”
- R. Buckminster Fuller
Chevron does more with less through an innovative RSI Management System software solution. This integrated, workflow solution provides self-assessment, customized break and stretch recommendations, and ergonomic evaluation tracking. With employee risk and discomfort analysis, it enables a process to quickly identify and address discomfort.
Manage the Risks vs. the Consequences: Engage Employees with Process
“Even a correct decision is wrong when it is taken too late”
- Lee Iacocca
Chevron’s Rapid Response, an early discomfort reporting program, engages and encourages employees to report early and access appropriate tools and resources to alleviate discomfort. This Corporate Standard manages intervention at any level of discomfort and the risk that it may turn into an injury requiring medical attention. Chevron defines discomfort as any unpleasant feeling or change in comfort level that lasts longer than an hour or occurs more frequently than once a week.
Communicate Value at all Levels: Turn Data into Information
“Price is what you pay and value is what you get.”
- Warren Buffett
Chevron transforms Rapid Response data into insights that drive value-based stories. Centralized collection of data is a powerful mechanism to effectively communicate value at all organizational levels. A clear view into employee risk, discomfort, workspace environment, computer usage, and interventions provide measurement of program impact. They are also using data insights to enhance Rapid Response by identifying gaps, piloting new programs, and analyzing impact.
Here are a few of Chevron’s data-driven, value-based stories:
Human Resources Value – Chevron is committed to resolving all-levels of employee discomfort. Over the past 5 years, Rapid Response has enabled 93% of its participants to resolve low-level discomfort via early reporting and resolution.
C-Level Value – Rapid Response reduces Workers Compensation Costs. In 2016, 73% of the Workers Compensation Referral cases were triggered by a positive clinical screen or medical treatment. Resolving discomfort early prevents clinical or medical intervention thus reducing RSI Workers Comp Claims by 40% over a 4-year period.
Medical Value – early identification and resolution of discomfort reduces injuries. In 2000, 48% of Chevron’s injuries were RSIs. However, only 1 RSI injury was recorded in 2016!