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Two Companies Win Outstanding Office Ergonomics Award

The Center for Office Technology awarded Prudential and Seattle City Light for their outstanding efforts with workplace ergonomics.

Prudential, an insurance and financial services company based in Newark, N.J., and Seattle City Light, a public power utility based in Seattle, Wash., are the winners of the Center for Office Technology'' (COT) annual Outstanding Office Ergonomics Award.

The two awards are based on demonstrated program results, breadth, longevity, innovation and sharing both within the organization and with other in the field.

"These successful programs addressed core ergonomics elements in a variety of ways to meet unique organizational needs," said PJ Edington, COT executive director. "These varied approaches demonstrate that positive ergonomic results can best be achieved by allowing employers to choose from a wide range of options when implementing programs."

Prudential''s quick response efforts to reported increases in the number of complaints about musculoskeletal pain began in 1990.

Through work with a number of interdisciplinary teams, training programs were developed along with a "Train the Trainer" program.

Ergonomic education has been provided to Prudential''s more than 60,000 employees in 30 countries via the corporate Internet, corporate newsletter and a guide booklet.

The company also established 800 numbers for worker compensation reporting and as a means to order ergonomic equipment.

Collaborative programs with furniture suppliers allowed them to pilot new products and make improvements to existing chairs, cubicle designs and keyboard trays.

Seattle City Light was recognized for its proactive efforts to reduce workplace hazards and train its employees.

The Seattle City Light program incorporates several injury prevention/intervention strategies including a fully integrated comprehensive ergonomic process.

Other safety and health strategies include an on-site work conditioning program for injured employees; an on-site, on work-time employee stretching program; on-site exercise facilities; and an aggressive return to work program using a team approach to claim management.

Seattle''s program customizes the ergonomics approach for each employee through specific job functions because it believes that one size and one ergonomics fix does not work for all employees.

by Virgina Sutcliffe

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