Employees complete tasks, many of which require physical labor, every day. These actions range from sitting in a chair to lifting heavy items or repetitively operating machinery.
Although they might seem simple, these everyday actions can cause cumulative trauma injuries — injuries from various physical efforts completed many times per shift.
Lubrizol in Franklin, Wisconsin hoped to address this when, beginning in 2019, they started on a new initiative devoted to ergonomics. With help from Ergonomics Consulting firm Ergo-ology Inc. , HSES Manager Scott Fredrick rose awareness on how Lubrizol can engineer ergonomic solutions to everyday processes that might cause strain/sprain type injuries.
Since 2019, the plant has implemented 67 modifications to prevent injuries utilizing the ergonomics program. The program resulted in an 80% reduction in injuries, and the plant has had zero ergonomic injuries since December 2021.
The essence of the program enables employees to submit ergonomics concerns they have with a process. Then, a Core-Ergo team (lead by Process Engineer Shawn Aldana) works to solve the problem. The facility then manufactures and implements these solutions in-house or with Ergo-ology’s team, with a goal of mitigating risk and increasing productivity.
Since inception, Franklin calculated over $1.5 million in projected cost avoidance over the next 10 years with the solutions implemented.
Plant Manager Dave Knudtson noted how important collaboration and employee input was toward solving these ergonomic issues.
“It’s a great team effort for us. Good ergonomics is good business (productivity, quality, employee morale and retention, etc.). Everybody plays a part, and we all succeed when we work together.” – Dave Knudtson, Franklin Plant Manager
Though the program had great success in the past, Scott’s wanted to hold an Ergo Day to continue to drive awareness, especially with newer employees.
“With turnover of employees in the past, the team saw a need for a boost to continue sustaining awareness and stimulate new ideas,” Scott said.
Corp. Senior HSES Manager Rick Liston sponsored the ergonomics program at Franklin since their start and hopes that this program continues to be a model for other sites to replicate.
This effort is further aligned with Rick’s perspective on ergonomics. Rick shared that ergonomic injuries account for 42% of the total incidents companywide at Lubrizol in 2023. As a result, he has sponsored multiple site locations with their efforts to generate ergonomics programs and implement innovative methods which have reduced ergonomic injuries by 63% collectively over a 3-year period.
“Based on the positive impact ergonomics could have on our system, we encourage all sites to have an ergonomics program in place, similar to the Franklin and Painesville sites.” Liston says.
Please congratulate everyone involved with this program!
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