An Action Oriented Research Study: Evaluating an Ergonomics Training Program
Betsy Piatt, Ed.D., Alumna, School of Educational Leadership & Change (2012)
The focus of this research was to evaluate the effectiveness of the Ergonomics Training Program and to seek ways to improve the program so that office workers at the High-Tech Manufacturing Company (HTMC), a pseudonym, were and will be able to perform their jobs safely. The amount of office-related musculoskeletal disorder (MSD) injuries doubled from 2007 to 2009, raising concerns about the safety of employees, which prompted this action-oriented study of the Ergonomics Training Program at HTMC. Hence, the goal of the dissertation was to determine the strengths and challenges of the program and develop strategies to improve it. The Ergonomics Training Program included three features: (a) Office Safety and Ergonomics; (b) Office Assessor Training; and (c) Manager Safety Forums. Over the last few years, two components were added: (a) a mandatory Ergonomics Training Class for all HTMC employees and (b) the Keyboard and Mouse Usage Software (KMS), a pseudonym. It was assumed that these elements would influence employee behaviors resulting in a reduction of injuries. Data were collected from questionnaires with 820 training session participants and interviews with nine Safety Leadership Committee members. The quantitative injury data from 2007 through 2009 were compared against the frequency of injuries from 2010 and 2011. The strongest aspect of the Ergonomics Program echoed by the Safety Leadership Committee (SLC) members was the professionalism and expertise of the ergonomists and the training that they provide. The biggest challenge to the program per feedback from the SLC is keeping training materials updated. The conclusions of the study indicate that the office-related MSD injury trend decreased and that the components of the Ergonomics Training Program at HTMC successfully influenced positive safety behavior changes. Recommendations made by the participants will be implemented, adding to the ongoing action oriented approach to the program.