Task Prior to Abatement (Description)
Travelers is one of the nation’s largest workers’ compensation insurance carriers. Although the company had been prescribing healthy and safe workplace practices for decades, it was only in the last five years that the company implemented its own ergonomics initiative. The company employs 23,000 workers. Workers had to perform different computer related tasks.
Task Prior to Abatement (Method Which Identified Hazard)
Increasing rate of medical incidents of carpal tunnel cases, strains and sprains, slips and falls, and other CTDs from 1992 to 1994.
Ergonomic Risk Factor (Posture)
Awkward postures were required to perform the tasks.
Ergonomic Risk Factor (Repetition)
High repetitive motions were required to perform the tasks.
Ergonomic Solution (Administrative Controls)
- Implementing ergonomics pilot program.
- Building a management system including senior and departmental managers to establish accountability, identify resources, establish work practices, training and communications issues.
- Implementing a four step problem solving process, ERIP (Ergonomics Review and Improvement Process) incorporating problem identification, evaluation, solution development and solution implementation.
- Establishing application guides to help departmental buyers choose the right equipment.
- Developing standards for many office products.
- Mass mailing of “Computer Comfort Tips” to all company employees.
- Alternative treatment options (physical therapy, anti-inflammatory medicine and exercise).
- Printing two articles on the corporate ergonomics process in the company newspaper.
- Educating the company and workers about the importance of ergonomics.
Ergonomic Solution (Engineering Controls)
- Replacing furniture, particularly on multi-user workstations.
- Providing fully adjustable workstations.
- Fitting 17 inch and 21 inch monitors on a 30″x45″ return surface.
- Designing corder pieces and brackets to address the new equipment.
Ergonomic Solution (Benefits)
- All workers that perform the tasks now have reduced exposure to various kinds of computer-related injuries (carpal tunnel syndrome, strain and sprains, etc.).
- Preventing cases from becoming chronic and costly by early reporting and interventions.
Ergonomic Solution (Method Which Verified Effectiveness)
- Reduction of the average cost per claim of computer-related disorders by about 30 percent between 1994 and 1995.
- The pilot areas average cost per computer-related disorders was 48 percent lower than those areas that have not yet begun the ergonomics improvements.
- Reduction of surgery rate for computer-related injuries over 90 percent.
- Reporting 80 percent symptom free workers after 30 days of implementing ergonomics recommended solutions.
Travelers’ office ergonomics process was recently recognized by “Risk & Insurance,” a monthly magazine covering the insurance industry. This award was based on product or service effectiveness and innovation and whether it fulfilled on important risk management need.
CTD News, January 1997, Travelers Takes Dose of Own Ergo Medicine, CTD News.