October is Ergonomics Month
-Do you have reasons to cheer, or do you need a new chair?
Musculoskeletal Injury (MSI's) are one of the leading types of workplace injuries. The often-forgotten factor is easier to manage than you think!
From service bays to filing cabinets, MSI's can be mitigated in four easy steps.
1) Consult with your workers- Seeking input from employees and your safety committee can identify hazards faster, reduce the risk and build collaboration and trust. One of the best people to identify that a chair is worn out, that a workstation is the wrong height or that a service area is poorly set up is the person who uses it. Consider assigning someone, or a small group, to focus on MSIs and become the resource in your dealership.
2) Provide Education- Providing information to employees helps them understand what to look for as a hazard, assists in explaining possible discomfort (or worse!) that they may be experiencing and demonstrates a commitment to employee safety and wellness. Simple ways to ensure that you are educating your employees include:
Making a safe workstation set up and providing MSI information as part of the onboarding process.
Having "tailgate talks" and other short meetings about ergonomic topics within the department.
Making a review of the workstation part of an annual review process
Hostin Lunch and Learn sessions
Providing training programs, courses, or self-directed learning material on your training platform, HRIS system or company intra-net.
3) Identify and control the risks- Ensure you identify factors in the workplace that may expose workers to a risk of musculoskeletal injury, be sure to evaluate all the areas of the dealership, not just the "usual suspects". This includes, measures such as reviewing first aid reports and injury reports for possible MSI issues, and then addressing the risk factors, polling staff on their experiences, including an ergonomic checklist in your inspections, research trends in other operations or the industry.
There are five main risk factors to look for. They are 1) Physical Demands 2) The Layout of the workstation 3) Material and Equipment Handling 4) Environmental Conditions and 5) How work or tasks are assigned and organized.
Once these risks are identified you can assess the risk, control the risk, and train your staff to address the risk.
4) Monitor and Evaluate - Just like with any other Health and Safety initiative, maintaining a healthy approach to MSIs takes ongoing focus and monitoring and evaluating successes, ongoing challenges and effectiveness is important to continued success. When weaknesses, deficiencies or challenges are identified, it is imperative that they are addressed and corrected quickly. A strong monitoring process includes the following elements:
Annually evaluate the overall effectiveness of the MSI prevention measures.
When processes or equipment in the workplace change, ensure that an evaluation or re-evaluation occurs.
Evaluate the effectiveness of the measures through multiple assessment avenues.
Retaining records for future reference, measurement, and trends.
If you would like more information on MSIs, ergonomics or how we assist subscribers in assessing their workplace, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.