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Updated 10:00 AM April 6, 2009

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MHealthy ergonomics program awards $45,000 in grants

Grant money from the MHealthy Ergonomics Awareness program and matching departmental funds have enabled Housing Facilities to buy three Kaivac Touchless Cleaning Systems to power-wash residence hall bathrooms and restrooms. The new equipment will drastically reduce stress and strain put on the body with conventional cleaning equipment.

"Our staff can spend as much as half their shift cleaning bathrooms — stooping to scrub showers, reaching overhead to clean walls and repeatedly leaning forward and back to mop floors," says Shannon Meeks, building facilities manager and front desk coordinator for Martha Cook Residence Hall. "The Touchless Cleaning System reduces the amount of strain on their bodies and cleans more efficiently and more effectively than conventional methods."

Twelve university units received grants totaling $45,000 to help implement ergonomic solutions that promote safety, health, productivity and job satisfaction in the work environment. This year, the program received more than $400,000 in grant requests.

"Creating a work environment that is ergonomically sound benefits everyone because it can reduce employee injury and increase job satisfaction and productivity," says Suzanne Bade, MHealthy Ergonomics Awareness program chair and senior ergonomics consultant.

"To make our grant dollars go further, we encourage recipients to share in the cost of the project by matching the grant amount."

Winners of the Ergo Grant Incentive Program received up to $10,000 to purchase equipment, train staff or redesign work processes to improve employee comfort and safety. Recipients include Plant Building Services, Construction Services, Dearborn Facilities Management, Department of Epidemiology, Department of Pathology, Dermatology Clinic, Pediatric Cardiology, Holden Nursing, Housing Facilities, UMHS Materiel Services, University Center for the Development of Language Literacy, Social Work and Community Programs Geriatrics Center, and Marketing and Conference Services.

Two units also were recognized with the Effective Ergonomic Solutions Award for addressing ergonomic issues in the workplace.

Ross School of Business Computing Services received the award for organizing presentations on workplace ergonomics and Michigan Sea Grant College Program, School of Natural Resources and Environment, was recognized for eliminating ergonomic risk factors by purchasing new office equipment.

Go to to view before and after pictures of the previous years' winners. Applications for the Fourth Annual MHealthy Ergonomics Grants and Awards Program will be available at in October to celebrate National Ergonomics Month.

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