Our Ergo Challenge Winner in the Corporate Category: “Changing a Philosophy” with Beverly Figge
Congratulations to our Ergo Challenge Winner: Beverly Figge, COHC, CEAS II
We’re thrilled to announce the winner of our first ever, Ergo Challenge, Beverly Figge. We had so many good entries that we split the contest into two categories – Corporate Ergonomics and Individual Ergonomics. Beverly is our winner in the corporate ergonomics category. As our winner she has been awarded access to the online course of her choice along with a RollerMouse Red and Balance Keyboard generously donated by Contour Design. You can read Beverly’s Ergo Challenge submission below. Congratulations, Beverly!
Changing a Philosophy
When I began practicing ergonomics as a CEAS for Westar Energy, there were four of us on our ergonomic team. Our company has 2400 employees across the state of Kansas in 47 different locations. We have everything from office employees to the lineman in the field. Our scope of ergonomic awareness was a new huge undertaking.
In 2015, we had an employee retire and I was asked to lead the team. My challenge was to re-design the ergonomic program for the entire company. We did not have anything formal about our process prior to this challenge. I was tasked to make this new ergonomic program management and make it formal.
In 2014, our ergonomic requests had hit an all-time high. We were running from one end of the state to another, completing ergonomic assessments for new hires, employee workstation moves, and for real concerns as well. The goal of our new ergonomic program was to add employee ergonomic awareness and basic consultations.
I started with using our corporate communications department, our company newsletter and internal TV communications to introduce short ergonomic tips to our employees. We moved on to Ergonomic Basic Awareness Training – not only for employees, but for supervisor and managers. I designed a short 15-20 minute ergonomic awareness training for the employee level that was very basic, but also included a basic self-check form for the employee to take initiative to learn more.
The Ergonomic Awareness Training 201 was designed for supervisors and managers to identify basic symptoms before they become more predominate or even a full MSD. This training gave supervisors and managers the tools needed to assist their employees with basic needs when setting up new employee workstations or with their moves between locations. The supervisors and managers were now more empowered and engaged with ergonomics.
Coinciding with the retirement of one CEAS, two others were reassigned and given additional duties that limited their availability to assist with ergonomic assessments. That left myself as the only one trained in ergonomics to provide the majority of the training, awareness campaign and ergonomic assessments as needed. This was quickly becoming a full time position for my part time availability. Using technology, I designed an internal SharePoint webpage with Ergonomic Resources for our employees. This webpage includes links to videos, stretches, ergonomic breaks tips, the basic ergonomic self-check, and a link to contact me when they do have an actual ergonomic concern.
The webpage was shared company-wide to every employee using our newsletters and internal communications. This has been a huge asset to our Ergonomic Program Management. With new phone and email consultations, I can help prevent an employee’s aches & pains, or even an MSD.
As with every program, change is inevitable. And we are in the process of identifying the next challenge to make our Ergonomic Awareness campaign and overall Ergonomic Program better with every step. My next step would be to complete the next CEAS III training and to continue learning more about Ergonomics!