April 4, 2024 / Christy Lotz

Deploying a Large-Scale Ergonomics Process Year by Year

Sponsored by VelocityEHS

Large organizations often launch ergonomics processes only to have them "fizzle" when the business climate changes, key participants join or depart, or the low-hanging fixes have been completed. Failure to initiate and maintain an effective process can result in loss of credibility and trust by employees and management, wasted resources, and poor results.

The key to long-term success in ergonomics is to build a strong foundation with solid planning. So, let's review the critical elements of establishing, deploying, and, most importantly, sustaining a large-scale workplace ergonomics process to identify risk factors and prevent musculoskeletal disorders. Based on real-world experience, proven management practices, and data mined from hundreds of successful programs from around the globe, here is a roadmap to follow year by year (though organizations can move as fast or slow through this process as necessary based on resources, experience, and expertise).

Identifying simple annual activity metrics to strive for will help sustain long-term momentum for the ergonomics process. Metrics are paramount and can often derail the process if they are too difficult to achieve. For ergonomics, leading metrics should be tracked for the life of the process, such as:

  • percentage of workstations at high risk
  • percentage of body areas at high risk
  • percentage reduction of MSD score

Simple annual strategies focused on activity metrics will help you understand where you want to go and how you're going to get there. We'll identify metrics to track each year as you prepare, deploy, expand, sustain, and enhance your process.

Year 1: Prepare

The key to long-term success with an ergonomics process is to build a strong foundation with well-thought-out planning in Year 1 before getting too deep into deployment.

Companies often think that if they get their hands on an assessment tool, all their problems will be solved. A robust ergonomics process includes more than just assessments. It should cover training, assessments, improvement management, and strategic reporting. Follow these steps to establish your foundation.

1. Identify gaps, fit, policy, and plan. The first step in the process is to identify where you are currently, where you want to go, and how you are going to get there. Try to understand your organization, available resources, and capabilities, and be realistic about what you can achieve. Create policies that are easy to follow, and be pragmatic: setting attainable goals will help your process get off the ground.

2. Select supporting software. Using software will improve efficiency and accuracy, provide global access, and help create a long-term, sustainable process. The software you select should include not just up-to-date assessment tools but an overall job-improvement process, including training, management of improvements, built-in design guidelines, and easily accessible data-mining dashboards and reports.

3. Identify roles and responsibilities. Clearly defined responsibilities are essential for holding people accountable for the quality of assessments, improvements, and overall MSD risk reduction. Everyone should play a part in the ergonomics process. Take the time to understand and describe how each function in the organization can contribute to the success of the process. Integrate your ergonomics process into the existing company structure.

For the rest of the detailed ergonomics process roadmap across five years, get the eBook from VelocityEHS. You'll learn the recommended time frame for deploying different elements, the steps involved, the metrics to track each year, and how to sustain momentum for the long term.

Christy Lotz

Christy Lotz, CPE, is director of strategic accounts at VelocityEHS, where she is responsible for supporting strategic customers across all industry segments. Christy received a bachelor of science in kinesiology from Dalhousie University and a master of science in ergonomics and biomechanics from Queen’s University, and she has achieved recognition as a Certified Professional Ergonomist.


There are no submissions.

Add a Comment