Health and Safety – Ergonomic Programs

Musculoskeletal Disorders (MSDs) affect the muscles, nerves and tendons. Work-related MSDs (including those of the neck, upper extremities and low back) are one of the leading causes of lost or restricted work time. Workers in many different industries and occupations can be exposed to risk factors at work, such as lifting heavy items, bending, reaching overhead, pushing and pulling heavy loads, working in awkward body postures, and performing the same or similar tasks repetitively.

SCS Engineers health safety ergonomicsSCS Engineers can develop a comprehensive ergonomic program designed to eliminate or reduce musculoskeletal injuries at your workplace, including the following elements:

  • Task Analysis and Site Evaluations to determine whether ergonomic hazards are present.
  • Worker and management site specific Ergonomics Training to ensure workers and managers are aware of ergonomic hazards and control methods.
  • Hazard Control to reduce ergonomic hazards causing musculoskeletal injuries.
  • Engineering Controls: Appropriate delivery equipment such as hand trucks, stair climbers, conveyors and hoists and light weight plastic pallets.
  • Administrative controls: Repair and maintenance programs for vehicles and equipment utilized.
  • Work organization controls: Pre-planning and loading diagrams to reduce manual product handling.
  • Ergonomic Program Evaluation to determine if the ongoing process is effective.
  • Evaluation and trending of the injury logs to ensure reduction in the incidence and severity rates of musculoskeletal disorders.
  • Worker feedback on the effectiveness of controls.

SCS employs occupational ergonomics task analysis methods to evaluate the indicators of hazardous working conditions. Psychophysical load, biomechanical load and metabolic load can be analyzed with qualitative and semi-quantitative tools. The SCS methods and tools for job hazard analysis are derived from sources recognized as best practice guidelines within the industry and regulatory bodies.

  • Psychophysical Load – Manual Materials Handling Guidelines as provided by the Liberty Mutual Tables for Evaluating Lifting, Lowering, Pushing, Pulling, and Carrying Tasks; and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Work Practice Guidelines of 1991.
  • Biomechanical Load – The Washington Industrial Safety and Health Act (WISHA) Caution and Hazard Checklists; and The American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH) Threshold Limit Values (TLV) for Hand Activity as modified by T. Bernard.
  • Metabolic Load – The qualitative method of Bernard and Joseph applied to estimate metabolic rate; and compared with the NIOSH Whole Body Maximum Aerobic Capacities for Least Fit Workers.

Work-related MSDs can be prevented. The science of ergonomics helps lessen muscle fatigue, increase productivity and reduce the number and severity of work-related MSDs. SCS can develop a program for your firm, or assess your existing program, to help reduce workplace injuries.