New IWH guide aims to improve effectiveness of PE programs

Inspired by this auto parts manufacturer to undertake your own participatory ergonomics (PE) program? The Institute for Work & Health (IWH) has just released the guide you need to get started.

Called Reducing MSD Hazards in the Workplace: A Guide to Successful Participatory Ergonomics Programs, this concise booklet provides advice on what needs to be done up-front to give your program the best chance at success and to prevent problems down the road. It is a useful companion to the step-by-step advice offered in Participative Ergonomic Blueprint. The guide is designed for workplace parties and practitioners (such as ergonomists) who are interested in implementing a PE program to identify and reduce risks that can lead to musculoskeletal disorders.

The advice is based upon an IWH systematic review examining the factors that resulted in successful PE programs in workplaces. Led by IWH Associate Scientist Dwayne Van Eerd, the review pointed to a number of “process” and “implementation” factors that can make or break a program. These gave rise to the following key points, each of which is brought to life in the booklet through a case study:

  • Address key barriers to the process.
  • Create PE teams with appropriate members.
  • Involve a PE champion to guide and monitor the process.
  • Provide training.
  • Involve the right people from the workplace in the overall PE process.
  • Define team members’ responsibilities.
  • Make decisions using group consultation.

We feel this guide is the place to get started, says Van Eerd. The hope is that, by following its advice, whatever PE process follows will be more successful.

You will find the new guide at: www.iwh.on.ca/pe-guide.

Source: At Work, Issue 57, Summer 2009: Institute for Work & Health, Toronto