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Certified ergonomist Blake McGowan shares five of the nine findings from a systematic review of research that summarized the elements of a successful participatory ergonomic intervention

Video Transcript

Hi, my name is Blake McGowan, and I’m a certified professional ergonomist with Humantech (now VelocityEHS Ergonomics).

Participatory ergonomics programs, or PE programs, are commonly applied in the workplace to reduce musculoskeletal disorders. Basically, these programs include the worker in the problem-solving process. Well, in 2010, a group of researchers led by the Institute of Work and Health in Toronto, Canada, conducted a systematic review of the literature to understand the key elements of a successful PE program. They reviewed over 2000 articles and found 52 articles to be of high enough quality to be included in the study.

So, what did they find?

Well, they identified that there are nine key elements for a successful program, but I’m going to summarize what I think are the top five elements. First of all, is support. There needs to be support across the entire organization, from leadership to management to supervisors all the way down to the worker. A committee is number two. You need to form a committee that advises the PE process, and that committee should include people from all departments across the organization.

Number three is resources. Management needs to provide the appropriate people, funds, and time for that successful PE program. Number four is the right people. You need to have small teams of the right people. It is typically led by a specialist or an ergonomist that initiates and facilitates that PE process, but most importantly, it needs to include the supervisor and the employee. Lastly, it’s training. The right people need the right training for their work environment.

So, what does this mean? What’s the bottom line?

Well, PE programs are a great way to manage musculoskeletal disorders in the workplace, and there are some key elements to have a successful PE program.

For more information on Humantech and the Bottom-Line series, please feel free to visit us at Humantech (

Thanks, have a great day.