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Implementing a participatory ergonomics process


Implementing a participatory ergonomics process * This part of the process addresses the immediate ill-health and other concerns due to poor ergonomics * * Proactive ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Implementing a participatory ergonomics process

Implementing a participatory ergonomics process
  • Traditional Ergonomic Practice
  • PE definition/background
  • Who is involved in PE programs
  • PE in small workplaces
  • Success Factors for Organizational Change
  • Barriers to the PE process
  • PE Blueprint

Traditional ergonomic practices
  • Traditional Intervention Approaches
  • Fit a task/workspace to a worker
  • Recognition of risk (WRMSDS)
  • Employ guidelines, laboratory findings,
    statistical modeling
  • Notion of accidents has changed
  • (Typically) not reiterative and often does not
    consider how changes create problems
  • Effective in creating a problem solving culture?

Failure of traditional approach
  • NOT poor science
  • Ergonomic information (KNOWLEDGE) is not being
    properly adapted and applied
  • Carrivick, Lee, Yau, Stevenson (2005)

  • How do we adapt apply this ergonomics knowledge?

  • Participatory ergonomics represents an
    intervention style to work within a systemic
    approach to ergonomics
  • (Antle, 2008)

Background on PE
  • Rivilis et al., (2006)
  • PE interventions/programmes are used to reduce
    work related musculoskeletal disorders in
  • Grew out of quality circle experiences in Japan
    participatory workplace design processes in
    Northern Europe and North America in the 1980s

Background on PE
  • Supported by unions, health and safety sectoral
    agencies, and health and safety associations
  • (Rivilis et al., 2006)
  • PE programs can be implemented as part of an
    organizations constant improvement process and
    should be budgeted and evaluated

PE Programs
  • Improved ergonomics can lead to increased
  • Reported outcomes from participatory ergonomics
    interventions include
  • decreased injury incidence and lower compensation
    costs (Laing et al., 2005)

PE Definitions
  • The involvement of people in planning and
    controlling a significant amount of their work
    activities, with sufficient knowledge and power
    to influence both processes and outcomes in order
    to achieve desirable goals.
  • Wilson Haines (1997)

PE Definitions
  • Participatory Ergonomics is the adaptation of the
    environment to the human (ergonomics) together
    with the proper persons in question
  • Vink (2005)
  • Practical ergonomics is necessary with actors in
    problem solving
  • Kuorinka (1997)

Participatory Ergonomics
Antle (2008)
PE Definitions
  • There is no common consensus on a definition of
    PE (Antle, 2008)
  • But in all PE descriptions there is one common
    component- the involvement of stakeholders in the
  • Failure to involve these individuals may lead to
    their negative interpretation of the need for an

  • Who is involved in PE programs?

Participatory Ergonomics
  • PE requires key company stakeholders to be
    involved in the intervention at all stages of
    the process
  • They account for the traditional ergonomic
    measures, as well as the organizational and
    employee/management factors
  • Participation can either be direct or
  • Antle (2008)

Participatory Ergonomics
  • In implementing effective ergonomics, we cannot
    focus on technology alone. We must understand the
    context in using comprehensive management
  • Vink et al. (2008)
  • Capturing knowledge must account for social and
    organizational factors
  • Kuorinka (1997) Laitinen et al. (1998)
  • \\

Participatory Ergonomics
  • An effective PE program encourages workers to
    identify the hazards or risk factors in their
  • Risk can be shaped by different workplace
    components (multi-dimensional in nature)
  • Those related to the individual job
  • Those related to worksite environment
  • Those related to organizational issues
  • Cann et al. 2006

  • In a 2008 study, Vink et al. theoretically
    proposed the different levels of involvement of
    participants in each step of a PE process.

Participatory Ergonomics Who is involved?
  • Vink et al. (2008)
  • Top Management
  • Middle Management
  • Employee
  • Ergonomist
  • Designer
  • Internal Staff

Vink et al. 2008
Top Management Step 1 Middle Management Steps
1, 4 Employee Steps 2, 3, 4, 6, 8, 9 Ergonomist
Steps 2, 3, 5 Designer Steps 3, 5, 7
Participatory Ergonomics
  • Vink et al. (2008) results
  • Middle management also involved in implementation
  • Employees also involved in adjustment
  • Ergonomists role limited in later stages such as
    adjusting and implementation

  • Cann et al. (2006)
  • Lay versus expert understandings of workplace
    risk in the food service industry A
  • multi-dimensional model with implications for
    participatory ergonomics

How do perceptions differ?
  • Cann et al. (2006)
  • Explored the understandings of risk as felt by
    food service workers and how these compare with
    an expert in risk assessment
  • They note that the risk literature usually
    focuses on the evaluation of trained experts

Cann et al. (2006) findings
  • Ergonomists may be insufficient for successful
    workplace change and intervention
  • Workers are knowledgeable and their knowledge is
    a result of experience
  • Workers identified the same risks as the
    ergonomist just in more detail

How can we train those involved in PE programs?
  • Can take several forms
  • Be careful with media selection
  • Lectures vs. Video/computer based learning
  • Hands on learning
  • Employees should feel as though they are active
    part of the program

  • Success Factors for Organizational Change

Success Factors for Organizational Change
  • The employment of long-term strategies for the
    company and the ability to make the necessary
    resources available
  • Adequate participation of individuals and groups
    affected by the changes
  • Consideration of impact of companys or plants
  • Zink et al. (2008)

Success Factors for Organizational Change
  • Coherence between different change initiatives
  • Emphasis on structures and behaviours considering
    the interdependencies between them
  • Change initiatives seen as evolutionary process
    but not as time-limited programs
  • Zink et al. (2008)

PE factors for success
  • Literature identifies the several PE requirements
  • Koningsveld, Dul, Van Rhijn, Vink, 2005 de
    Looze, Urlings, Vink, Van Rhijn, Miedema, 2001
    Haines,Wilson, Vink, Koningsveld, 2002 Saleem,
    Kleiner, Nussbaum, 2003
  • Existence or absence of these factors determine
    the success of the intervention and long-term
    improvement of ergonomics/OHS capacity at the

Common Framework Success Factors
  • Identifying the involvement of key personnel
    developing a steering committee
  • Having a PE trained ergonomic facilitator
  • Having participation of employees from all levels
    of the organization in as direct a manner as
  • Having strong management commitment
  • Focusing on employees satisfaction, production
    factors and other such outcomes, not just health
  • Using a step-wise strategy for the project
  • Ensure proper tools and equipment are available

  • PE in small workplaces-how can we successfully
    implement changes?

Participatory Ergonomics in Small Workplaces
  • Kogi (2008) reviewed the use of trainers in
    helping local people in small work environments
    and the improvements they can help make in
    different work scenarios

Kogi (2008)
Kogi (2008)
  • Programs dealing with work- related risks were
    organized according to the target groups
  • Risks addressed were
  • Needle stick injuries
  • MSD
  • Mental stress situations
  • Irregular hours/overwork situations

  • WISE training programs applied to small
    construction sites and home workplaces
  • Trainers played crucial role in facilitating
    learning of local good practice, low cost ideas,
    and follow up activities
  • Similar roles played in WIND programs

Kogi (2008)
  • Trainers in these programs contributed to the
    adjustment of training materials to local
    conditions through the observation of local good
    practices and photographic examples

Kogi (2008)
  • Second stage of facilitation was concerned with
    the planning of immediate improvements
  • Planning done by participating managers, workers
    or farmers themselves
  • CRUCIAL in each program

Kogi (2008)
Kogi (2008)
  • Effects of Participatory steps
  • Practical improvements had been achieved in work
    and life conditions
  • Improvements in
  • Reduced injury risks
  • Work environment
  • Lighting, ventilation machine guarding, and
    chemicals handling
  • Reduced physical and muscular loads

Kogi (2008)
  • Concluding remarks
  • A trainers facilitative role is more effective
    when these support functions are followed
  • Building local initiative for action
  • Focus on practical options
  • Conformation of benefits of the improvements
    achieved through feedback

  • Barriers to the PE process

Key Barriers to PE Process
  • Three issues in PE process noted by Institute for
    Work and Health (2009)
  • Having support for PE program from the
  • Having resource commitment from the organization
  • Having open communication about the PE program

Barriers to PE Process
  • Cann et al. (2006)
  • A key barrier to shared knowledge is not due to
    expertise, but the inability or unwillingness to
    incorporate different types of knowledge and
    expertise to accomplish a common goal

  • What happens when PE interventions are not
    considered successful?

When PE Interventions Are Not Successful
  • Laing et al. (2007) investigated the purpose of
    a PE programme in reducing WMSD
  • Wanted to assess whether an intervention
    influenced pain severity based on aspects of the
    change process
  • Used a sister plant in the corporation as a
    referent group

Laing et al. (2007)
  • There was an increase reported in enhanced
    communication regarding ergonomic issues
  • However, when the final assessment took place
    there was no real change in worker perception or
    pain severity.....
  • What went wrong?

Laing et al. (2007)
  • Possible Explanations
  • Worker input
  • Limited intervention intensity
  • Context/Co-intervention differences between the
    two plants
  • Lack of sensitivity/specificity in psychosocial
    measures used

Laing et al. (2007)
  • Worker input
  • Improved communication dynamics may be a
    requirement for changes to occur in worker
    perception of workplace decision latitude and
  • May not be sufficient enough- Why?
  • Workers may perceive that their input is ignored
  • This may lead to decrease in decision latitude

Laing et al. (2007)
  • Limited intervention intensity
  • Intervention period may have been too short (10
  • Lack of commitment by ECT team
  • Logo/participation in 1 minute survey
  • Use of representative participation approach
  • Employees may not have felt involved in process
    of change

Laing et al. (2007)
  • Context/Co-intervention differences between the
    two plants
  • A history of mistrust and non-participatory
    practices between labour and management existed
    at the intervention plant
  • New management 4 months into intervention period

Laing et al. (2007)
  • Lack of sensitivity/specificity in psychosocial
    measures used
  • Psychosocial exposures measures may not have been
    sensitive enough for the specific changes
    involved with the particular intervention
  • More thoughts need to be given to tool
    development used to measure outcomes affected by

  • PE Blueprint

PE Blueprint
  • A facilitators guide for implementing a
    successful PE program as part of an organizations
    health and safety program
  • Establishes the groundwork to gain management
    support, set up a PE change team and initiate
    basic training in ergonomics

PE Blueprint
  • Has an Ergonomic Process and a Health and Safety
  • Health and Safety Process
  • Is the organizational structure that supports the
    ergonomic process

Wells, Frazer, Norman, Laing, 2001
PE Blueprint
  • Ergonomic Process (2 Cycles)
  • Reactive Cycle
  • Facilitator identifies risk, evaluates
    priorities, proposes solutions, implements and
    evaluates a prototype in order to adopt solutions
  • Proactive Cycle
  • Uses feedback from previous changes to ensure
    that ergonomic principles are used in purchasing
    and design of new equipment

PE Blueprint
  • Ergonomic Process
  • These processes are complementary and required
  • Both of these processes use a common solution
    building, evaluation, and adoption approach

PE Blueprint Startup
Reactive Process
Reactive Process
  • Phase 1
  • Opportunities for improvement
  • Identify jobs, tasks or processes where workers
    experience greater rates of MSD or other
    indicators of poor ergonomic quality
  • Then integrate this data to determine which jobs
    may need further ergonomic investigation and

Reactive Process
  • Phase 2
  • Assess Ergonomic risk factors and prioritize jobs
    for improvement
  • Prioritize ergonomic interventions for the jobs
    identified in previous step

Reactive Process
  • Phase 3
  • Build Solutions
  • Develop a prototype/trial solution to address the
    risks identified in the previous step

Reactive Process
  • Phase 4
  • Prototype Implementation
  • Implement solutions on a small scale or
    proactively as a computer simulation where
  • This can judge its ergonomic quality and
    interactions with other equipment and processes

Reactive Process
  • Phase 5
  • Prototype evaluation
  • Estimate the ergonomic quality of the prototype

Reactive Process
  • Phase 6
  • Implement Solution
  • Allow for the smooth introduction of the solution
    after prototype trials
  • Continue monitoring the effect of the changes and
    still look for opportunities for improvement

Proactive Approach
Proactive Approach
  • Proactive Approach
  • Develops guidelines in all relevant departments
  • This aids to incorporate ergonomic information
    into decision making
  • Uses ergonomic tools
  • This allows prediction of the effects of design
    decision on human health and performance

Proactive Approach
  • Proactive Approach
  • Commits resources/time
  • needed to incorporate ergonomic information into
    decision making
  • Develops future programs
  • Builds in a continuous improvement cycle based on
    improvement of existing design problems and
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