1597c Sharing solutions in participatory ergonomics – a key to sustainability

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Abstract

Introduction

Musculoskeletal disorders (MSD) and slips, trips, and falls (STF) are a major source of workplace injuries. In Ontario, MSD account for upwards of 40% and STF account for almost 20% of all lost-time claims depending on sector. Our objective was to integrate stakeholder perspectives about the implementation of a participatory ergonomics program.

Methods

The project builds on a recently completed pilot study and process evaluation of the Employee Participation in Change (EPIC) program in three work sites (391 workers) within one organisation. Individual interviews were conducted with Program Champions (n=3) and an interactive stakeholder workshop, including a moderated focus group (n=13), was held. Data from Program Champions informed the interactive workshop. Focus group data centred on strategies for knowledge sharing and program recommendations. Transcripts and field notes were analysed for emerging themes.

Results

Participants reported positive experiences with program implementation. EPIC has been sustained and incorporated into existing health and safety procedures at all sites. Improvements in communication about safety were noted in all cases. Funding to implement changes remains a challenge in all sites.

Results

Program champions, site administrators and worker representatives led discussions consistently noted positive changes but also described the need for iteration in solution development. Focus group results included suggestions to reduce program training and paperwork burdens. Key barriers included the time it takes to implement solutions.

Results

Frontline workers continue to use EPIC hazard identification tools and practices, and communicate about hazards and solutions regularly. The ‘raised awareness’ from EPIC has persisted. A key facilitator to success included the role of ergonomics consultants.

Conclusion

EPIC program stakeholders participated in an interactive workshop to inform improvements in program delivery and evaluation of a participatory intervention. Participants noted that sharing solutions across sites would have been useful earlier. Future implementation research will incorporate solution sharing opportunities.

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