I read with interest the article in the Sept. 23 issue on the concern of ergonomics in the plastic industry (“OSHA caveat: Ergonomics is top priority,” Page 1).
Here at Ballard Medical Products we began a serious look at ergonomics in all of our departments. We have a molding operation as well as several assembly areas. Safety is our No. 1 concern. Not only in ergonomics, but in all areas of safety.
Safety issues are brought to the forefront and action items are assigned to rectify any safety concerns immediately.
In 2000 we had 36 incidents of ergonomic issues. Through an extensive examination of these incidents we developed a program to reduce the potential for repetitive issues. This includes stretching exercises that are job-specific and are required to be done at least once per shift, rotation of job assignments, ergonomic chairs and custom-built workstations. The amount of awareness of these and all safety issues is the key to success. We went from 36 incidents of repetitive motion in 2000 to 17 in 2001 to just three so far in 2002. I just wanted to share this with you. It is not insurmountable, but it does require a buy-in by all.
Kimberly Clark Corp./Ballard Medical Products