Task Prior to Abatement (Description)
An ergonomic case study for workers at Siemens Automotive. Siemens Auburn Hills, Mich-based, designs and manufactures electronic automobile systems. It has 14,000 employees. Workers had to lean to the right and grope for the mouse on the desktop which was away from the keyboard. Workers had to look sharply down and to the left to read documents on the worktable while using the typewriter. Although Siemens purchased adjustable workstations, they were not easily or completely adjustable.
Task Prior to Abatement (Method Which Identified Hazard)
- Complaining from 43 of 100 employees of pain in their shoulders, back, elbow and fingers.
- Increasing incidence rate of carpal tunnel syndrome.
- Scheduling 3 of 43 employees for cervical laminectomies.
- Several employees visited chiropractors.
Ergonomic Risk Factor (Posture)
Workers had to lean to the right and grope for the mouse on the desktop and away from the keyboard.
Workers had to stretch their necks to read the documents.
Ergonomic Solution (Administrative Controls)
- Performing ergonomic evaluations on workstations of those employees with symptoms.
- Training for stretch exercises.
- Encouraging the CAD operators to take frequent, short breaks.
- Conducting a back school training program twice a year to emphasize good lifting and pushing techniques, good posture and exercises for strength and flexibility.
- Developing a slide show on office ergonomics for new employees which includes training on how to adjust their workstations.
Ergonomic Solution (Engineering Controls)
- Encouraging the CAD operators to wear 22 inch focus glasses.
- Purchasing 27 back cushions, 71 lumbar supports in three different sizes, 24 keyboard/mouse rests and 12 document holders in the past five years.
- Providing adjustable chairs.
- Providing a foot rest and raising the chair for shorter workers.
Ergonomic Solution (Benefits)
- All workers that perform the tasks now have reduced exposure to CTD risk factors.
- Saving 20,000 hours lost time per year since eliminating CTD-related complaints in two years.
Ergonomic Solution (Cost)
The total cost of ergonomics interventions was about $3,600.
Ergonomic Solution (Method Which Verified Effectiveness)
Eliminating CTD-related complaints in two years.
Communication was the key to Siemens program’s success. Let the workers know what you can do for them, and take the time to observe and listen to them.