Because of the multifactorial nature of MSD hazards, it is not always clear whether the selected controls will achieve the intended reduction in exposure to the hazards. As a result, the control of ergonomic hazards often requires testing selected controls and modifying them appropriately before implementing them throughout the job. Testing controls verifies that the proposed solution actually works and indicates what additional changes or enhancements are needed.
First, evaluating the effectiveness of controls is top priority in an incremental abatement process. Unless they follow up on their control efforts, employers will not know whether the hazards have been adequately controlled or whether the abatement process needs to continue. That is, if the job is not controlled, the problem solving is not complete.
Second, the tracking of progress is also essential in cases where a need exists to prioritize the control of hazards. It denotes whether the abatement plans are on schedule.
Third, tracking the progress of control efforts is a good way of determining whether the elements of the program are functioning properly and quantifying their success. The following are some of the measures to use:
- • Reduction in severity rates, especially at the very start of the program
- • Reduction in incidence rates
- • Reduction in total lost workdays and lost workdays per case
- • Reduction in job turnover or absenteeism
- • Reduction in workers' compensation costs and medical costs
- • Increases in productivity or quality
- • Reduction in reject rates
- • Number of jobs analyzed and controlled
- • Number of problems solved