MARINE CORPS LOGISTICS BASE ALBANY, Ga. --
When John Cody and Michael Peak arrive at their work stations in Building 3700 at Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany, they can now comfortably fit into their chairs to face the day’s tasks.
But, that wasn’t always the case.
“I’m 6 feet 8 inches tall, and the old work station I had wasn’t user friendly. Now, some ergonomic measurements have been done and the new furniture fits me,” said Cody, a logistics management specialist, Program Support Center, Marine Corps Logistics Command. “My supervisor noticed that I was leaning over to get to my desk and I was uncomfortable, so he started the process to get new furniture.”
His new work station was better than his previous one before his work area was renovated. But it still presented problems for him.
“It’s a good feeling to know that someone actually paid attention and saw an opportunity to make a change and acted on it,” Cody said.
Cody isn’t the only recipient of office furniture to fit unique needs.
“The equipment I used before was OK, but there’s always room to make improvements,” said Peak, a data specialist, Program Support Center, LOGCOM. “The chair I have now was specially designed for little people, and I’m excited to have it.”
The chair he uses is designed to fit his 3-feet-6- inch frame and was ordered after his custom measurements were taken.
“Finding furniture to properly support Cody and Peak’s needs wasn’t easy, but it had a happy ending,” said Kay Mull, safety specialist, Installations, Environment and Safety, LOGCOM.
“The search for proper ergonomic office furnishings was extensive and not easily accomplished considering the range and size differences that I was trying to support,” Mull said. “We were able to find an electro-mechanical work station that could be raised to accommodate Cody. We also found a company in California that specializes in constructing furniture to accommodate individuals who are Peak’s size.”
“I have performed 24 formal work-station ergonomic assessments that have resulted in furniture or accessories change requirements. Plus, I have performed more than 100 informal ergonomic assessments where re-arranging the work station to fit the employee’s job tasks or showing an employee how to change their work practices have alleviated their discomfort, and is being expanded to include our industrial operations,” Mull said.
Occupational Safety and Health Administration does not have an ergonomics standard, but there is a requirement for an ergonomics program in Marine Corps Order 5100.8.
More than one-third of all reported civilian injuries fall under the category of work-related musculoskeletal disorders and LOGCOM’s goal is to make sure that every employee’s work station fits their capabilities and limitations,” Mull added.
LOGCOM’s Volunteer Protection Programs are active at all of the command’s locations in three states: Georgia, Florida and California.
“Our focus on ergonomics is part of our Quality, Safety and Health Management program,” said Michael D. Basnight, director, IES. “The Voluntary Protection Programs promote effective worksite-based safety and health. In the VPP, management, labor, and OSHA establish cooperative relationships at workplaces that have implemented a comprehensive safety and health management system. Approval into VPP is OSHA’s official recognition of the outstanding efforts of employers and employees who have achieved exemplary occupational safety and health.”
The VPP is being adopted by the Marine Corps. The goal of the ergonomics program is to adapt the workplace to a specific worker, dependent on the job description, required tasks and physical make up of the employee performing those tasks. Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany and LOGCOM each have a VPP, but each pursues VPP recognition independently, according to Basnight.
LOGCOM has been involved with the OSHA VPP since 2006 at the maintenance centers at MCLB Barstow, Calif., and MCLB Albany.
Last year, LOGCOM leadership directed the development of a comprehensive safety and health management program across the LOGCOM enterprise utilizing VPP.
Headquarters Marine Corps Safety Division contracted with the Department of Defense Center of Excellence to perform engagement and assessments at the maintenance centers, the fleet support divisions, the headquarters element, and is coordinating efforts to include Blount Island Command, Jacksonville, Fla., Basnight said.
The OSHA VPP program includes management leadership and employee involvement, worksite analysis, hazard prevention and control, and safety and health training. Through a proactive approach to safety management, leadership and employees are not only recognizing unsafe and unhealthful work conditions, but are actively finding solutions to prevent hazards and promote safety as a way of life at work and at home, according to program officials.
Additional information on ergonomics is available on the LOGCOM Installations, Environment and Safety Web site. Supervisors and employees requiring assistance performing worksite assessments can call Nancy (Kay) Mull at (229) 639-8354 or contact her through e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.