What’s the role of ergonomics in the food industry? Alberta’s food production industry is growing. According to the Alberta Government, “Alberta’s food and beverage industries form the province’s second largest manufacturing sector, employing approximately 25,500 people with sales of more than $13 billion.”This means assessing where they may be a potential risk for injury, such as repetitive movement or poor setup. Convincing companies to implement an ergonomics program may be difficult, but sometimes looking at the cost of injuries can drive change. For example, a seafood processing plant in eastern Canada noticed their WCB claims were higher by leaps and bounds versus industry rates. Research examined if a knife sharpening program would reduce injuries. The program included decreasing cutting forces, increasing recovery time, and fewer cuts per minute. The results were astonishing. The amount of claims decreased to normal industry rates and productivity increased by 17% after 6 weeks. In this case study, ergonomics was a great return on investment. Showing a return on investment can move beyond incident rates. Consider sick-days, retention rates, and employee satisfaction rates. In addition, include measures of productivity. As Annie pointed out in her presentation, “ergonomics can and should also improve productivity.” So how do we overcome barriers in the workplace? First of all, raising awareness early. Strains and sprains need to be discussed as part of new employee orientation. And, as Annie recommends, “encourage everyone at all levels to take MSI awareness training so that everyone is informed”. In addition, sustain initiatives by incorporating these principles into daily activities to the point that people don’t need to think about it. Training offered by EWI works: Back Care Training Upper Extremity Injury Prevention Tips MSI Awareness Training Office Ergonomics Awareness Training Customized Training Sessions, and more. EWI Works offers many services that can improve your quality of life. Find out more about our Online Training, Services, and Resources. Follow us on Twitter for more updates and offers, or sign up for our newsletter at the bottom of our homepage.