For the six companies that did participate, reported strain- type injuries dropped progressively from 131 in the six months prior to the training to 42 for the six-month period ending 18 months later. The cost of these injuries for the six months prior was $688,344. For the six-month period ending 18 months later, the injury costs had dropped to $72,600, for a net savings over 18 months of $1,348,748, using the six months prior as the baseline.
Worker involvement reportedly created enthusiasm and encouraged each individual to assume responsibility for the program's success. According to Brough, the reduction of injuries resulted from a commitment to continuous improvement and was obtained by many small changes, not a major singular event. For the one company that did not participate in implementing the training, the number of reported strain injuries was 12 for the six months prior to training and 10, 16, and 25, respectively, for the next three six-month periods. In short, things got worse rather than better (Bill Brough, personal communication and supporting documentation).
Coupled with both management's and labors' active support, Tokyo Marine traces these reductions in strain-type injuries for the six participating companies directly back to Brough's participatory ergonomics training program and related materials. A good example of what can happen when you couple collaborative management-labor commitment with professional ergonomics.
Deere and Company. One of the best-known successful industrial safety ergonomics programs is that at Deere and Company, the largest manufacturer of agricultural equipment in North America. In 1979, Deere recognized that traditional interventions like employee lift training and conservative medical management were, by themselves, insufficient to reduce injuries. So the company began to use ergonomics principles to redesign and reduce physical stress
Contact: Lois Smith
Human Factors and Ergonomics Society