Date of Award

Spring 5-2017

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Safety Sciences

First Advisor

Christopher Janicak, Ph.D., CSP, CEA, ARM

Second Advisor

Wanda Minnick, Ph.D., CSP

Third Advisor

Jan Wachter, Sc.D., MBA, CIH, CSP, CQE, CRE

Abstract

In the United States, ergonomic losses achieve recognition as the leading non-fatal occupational injury category (OSHA, 2000) and account for 33 percent of all worker injury and illness cases (OSHA, 2016). The purpose of this study was to evaluate the degree to which leading ergonomic safety performance indicators (SPIs) are valued and utilized, identify the perceived difficulties in implementing leading ergonomic SPIs, and examine the role education and job classification have on the use and importance placed on leading ergonomic SPIs. This study examined ten leading ergonomic SPIs using survey responses from OSH professionals. The researcher posited that measuring the degree of Ergonomic Management Control Program (EMCP) implementation, via tracking leading ergonomic SPIs, would enable OSH professionals to evaluate the effectiveness of their ergonomic efforts in an ongoing manner, forecast pending shortcomings, and afford OSH intervention to reduce risk and prevent future occupational loss events.   The following major findings were identified: 1. The use of leading ergonomic SPIs in the workplace is not a widely accepted practice. Approximately two-thirds of the companies participating in this study do not use leading ergonomic SPIs. 2. For those OSH coordinators who do use leading ergonomic SPIs, they generally perceived them as being valuable. 3. This study did not find significant differences in perceived levels of importance based on job classification or education. This was mostly due to the characteristics of the study sample. 4. Lack of management commitment and an absence of knowledge are commonly perceived barriers to implementing leading ergonomic SPIs. The cost of implementation was the least frequently perceived barrier. 5. Leading ergonomic SPIs most favored by the OSH Coordinators who use them included the measurement of workers’ early reporting of ergonomic strains and sprains, tracking the number of job hazard analyses conducted to avoid ergonomic hazards, and tracking the use of pre-hazard controls to avoid ergonomic hazards.

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