Magazine article Occupational Hazards

Ergonomic Success Stories

Magazine article Occupational Hazards

Ergonomic Success Stories

Article excerpt

Many of the most sophisticated ergonomic job analysis programs use video cassette recorder-based technology. Ergonomic experts at Dow Corning Corp., Midland, Mich., don't put all of this equipment away when they're done evaluating jobs, however.

They use a basic video camera and VCR, which almost all employers have access to, to share their ergonomic results with Dow Corning facilities around the world. Dan Clarey, ergonomics coordinator at the Midland site, compiles video clips of Dow Corning ergonomic projects into a videotape narrated by Corporate Safety Director Robert Siegel.

"Communication and coordination were a problem for us," said Clarey, noting that the Midland site alone has more than 100 buildings. "The videos let people see what other sites are doing. They are a cheap, easy way of communicating."

Dow Corning's first video, a 19-minute production featuring some two dozen ergonomic innovations, was finished in late 1993. A new version, which will include footage from plants as far away as Japan, was under development at press time.

How They Do It

Clarey relies on site ergonomics coordinators and other safety experts to provide video footage of actual operations and operators. Some sites provide video footage of jobs showing before and after they were improved.

Clarey estimated that compiling the video, developing a script and integrating the two takes less than 10 hours. Copies of the finished video are distributed to all Dow Corning sites, which can use them for training, as ideas for engineers, and as regular programming on the company's internal TV system.

The videos are designed to showcase a combination of quick and comprehensive ergonomic fixes - what Clarey calls "real, common-sense ergonomics." Solutions shown include carts and rollers, lift assist devices, adjustable tables and automated systems. Technical information about job analysis and biomechanics is left for manuals and training sessions. …

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