MHealthy grant program helps fund workplace ergonomic solutions
The MHealthy Ergonomics Awareness Team is accepting applications for its annual grant program. Departments or units in need of financial help to purchase equipment or redesign work processes to solve ergonomic issues can receive up to $5,000 to implement solutions that make the work environment safer.
Qualifying projects address one or more ergonomic risk factors: awkward postures, forceful exertions, repetition or sustained postures, contact stress, vibration, or temperature extremes.
Robert Burdette, supervisor of distribution for UMH Medical Equipment Operating, used ergonomic grant funds, along with budgetary funds, to purchase seven power stair-climbing carts.
"Our technicians deliver and pick up oxygen cylinders, weighing up to 150 pounds each, to patient homes," Burdette says. "Our old carts required them to use brute strength to manually pull and push the cylinders up and down stairs and over thresholds."
"We were already looking into purchasing new carts and the ergonomic grant helped to offset some of the costs for us," he says. "We've been using the new carts since June and everyone loves them. They have really helped to minimize the strain on our technicians' backs and the amount of heavy lifting required, minimizing our chances of work-related injury."
A department or unit that already has plans to purchase work equipment to improve employee comfort and reduce risk factors really benefits from applying for an ergonomic grant, says Suzanne Bade, MHealthy Ergonomics Awareness Team chair and senior ergonomics consultant. "It can help stretch your departmental budget further by supplementing your existing funds."
To help as many university areas as possible and make grant dollars go further, MHealthy encourages departments and units that receive a grant to share in the cost of the project.
Submissions received by Oct. 31 will be reviewed in November, but applications are online year-round. If funds remain after November, a second review will occur in spring 2012. Applications will be judged based on the significance of the ergonomic issue, the feasibility of the project and the anticipated outcome.