When developing a participatory ergonomics program, organizations must keep in mind several factors to ensure the highest probability of success.
1. View the organization through a “system” lens.
Recognize how interconnected the organization is—including the worker, physical demands, work environment, psychosocial demands (stressors) and the entire organizational context and culture.
2. Get the full support of senior leadership.
Leadership throughout the organization must play a part in establishing how ergonomics will be viewed by all levels so that all participants are empowered to engage. There are multiple stakeholders in the ergonomics process that have their own unique point of views, attitudes, and experiences. Cooperation and collaboration amongst all stakeholders—with the ultimate goal of reducing ergonomic risk—should be a top priority. There should be a high level of engagement for all stages of the process including the risk assessment, development of abatement strategies, and systematic follow through.
3. Be prepared to demonstrate the cost-benefit of ergonomic solutions.
Identifying return on investment is a critical step in defending and justifying the implementation of ergonomic controls. Show how the expected payback could impact productivity, quality, safety, abseentism, and turnover.
4. Objectively assess the outcomes of controls that have been implemented.
Questions that team members should ask are: Will this improvement:
- Reduce or eliminate most or all of the identified contributing factors and the reasons for those factors?
- Add contributing factors that have not been previously identified?
- Reduce or eliminate any other problems identified and the reason for them?
- Increase or decrease productivity and efficiency?
- Be affordable for this organization (e.g., is there a less expensive alternative that could be equally as effective)?
- Be accepted by employees?
- Positively affect employee morale?