Case on a Union-driven Participatory Ergonomics Program to Control Work-related Musculoskeletal Disorders in Korea

  • Lee, Yun-Keun (Institute for Occupational and Environmental Health) ;
  • Park, Hee-Sok (Department of Industrial Engineering, Hongik University)
  • Received : 2010.06.07
  • Accepted : 2010.07.14
  • Published : 2010.08.31


The objective of this paper is to report how workers' actively participate in a participatory ergonomics (PE) program, and how this program resulted in improved working conditions and decreased occurrence of work-related musculoskeletal disorders (WMSDs). A major tire manufacturing company in Korea was studied. Most of the activities in the PE program were designed and actually practiced by the workers and their union. The results revealed some positive effects of applying a PE program to the employees. It was shown that incidence of the WMSDs as well as the lost work days and the economic cost incurred by the WMSDs decreased with the PE program.



  1. Bryson, N., Trade unions: strategic participants-the role of industry federations, TUTB Newsletter, 24-25, 38-41, 2004.
  2. Canadian Auto Workers, Ergonomics in the work environment-a manual for workers, Toronto, ON, 2004.
  3. General Accounting Office (GAO), Private sector ergonomics programs yield positive results (GAO/HEHS-97-163), Washington DC, 1997.
  4. Goggins, R. W., Spielholz, P. and Nothstein, G. L., Estimating the effectiveness of ergonomics interventions through case studies: Implications for predictive cost-benefit analysis, Journal of Safety Research, 39, 339-344, 2008.
  5. Joseph, B., Corporate ergonomics programme at Ford Motor Company, Applied Ergonomics, 34, 23-28, 2003.
  6. Ministry of Labor of Korea, Analysis of industrial accidents, 2008.
  7. Nagamachi, M., Requisites and practices of participatory ergonomics, International Journal of Industrial Ergonomics, 15, 371-377, 1995.
  8. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), Federal register, Vol. 64, No. 225, Ergonomics Program, OSHA, 2000.
  9. Rivilis, I., Van Eerd, D., Cullen, K., Cole, D. C., Irvin, E., Tyson, J. and Mahood, Q., Effectiveness of participatory ergonomic interventions on health outcomes: A systematic review, Applied Ergonomics, 39, 342-358, 2008.