NIOSH Develops Guide for Ergonomics Program Development

In 1997, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) issued guidelines for developing practical and cost-effective approaches to protecting workers from job-related musculoskeletal disorders. It describes the basic elements of a workplace program aimed at preventing work-related MSDs by focusing on management commitment, worker participation, and training as essential elements in an overall ergonomics program. It also includes a "toolbox" which is a collection of techniques, methods, reference materials, and other resource information to help employers develop a successful program.

Elements of Ergonomics Programs: A Primer Based on Workplace Evaluations of Musculoskeletal Disorders outlines methods that are commonly used for identifying, correcting, and preventing MSDs. The book, a culmination of two decades of NIOSH research, contains many illustrations and charts on how those techniques can be tailored for specific types of workplaces. It covers these basic steps for controlling work-related musculoskeletal disorders:

  • Determine if musculoskeletal problems exist.

  • Develop roles for both managers and workers in the ergonomics program.

  • Recognize and fill training needs.

  • Gather and analyze data to define the scope and characteristics of ergonomics concerns.

  • Develop control solutions.

  • Establish health care management.

  • Create a proactive ergonomics program.

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