The Cadillac News, Cadillac, MI, reported this week that Michigan Rubber Products President, Dennis Brovont, accepted the Ergonomic Innovation Award from the Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration (MIOSHA).
Doug Kalinowski, director of MIOSHA, told Cadillac News reporter, Sally Barber, "Work-related musculoskeletal disorders are the most prevalent and one of the most expensive occupational health concerns in the nation. Companies like Michigan Rubber are on the cutting edge of implementing safety and health management systems that effectively address ergonomic hazards in the workplace."
Kalinowski said that half of all workplace accidents and lost workdays stem from ergonomic issues.
"It's not just about safety and health. It's about taking care of people," he added.
A Total Team Effort
Barber reported that Michigan Rubber, a manufacturer of automotive parts, is only the second company in the past year to receive the MIOSHA award, and that it took dedication from all employees to achieve ergonomic excellence.
The company implemented 30 changes in operations in its plants to reduce ergonomic injuries. Changes include improvements to electric and compression presses, extrusion workstations, injection presses, splice mold and autoclave track areas and verification machines.
"We are able to achieve this because of total team focus on safety and the dedication of our safety committee," Brovont said.
The improvement process involves an ongoing multidisciplinary effort. A plant safety team conducts a monthly survey at each of the company's two plants, paying special attention to stations recording injuries.
"We look at every job and run and make a risk assessment," said facilities engineer Dale Rice.
Engineers, maintenance and lab personnel, as well as human resource staff consider all aspects of a function. Equipment redesign and the implementation of robotics have corrected conditions causing numerous wrist, elbow and shoulder injuries.
"We use people for their brains and for management and let the robots do the mechanical part," Rice said.
Sources: Sally Barber / Cadillac News; MIOSHA