Mike Tuck knew he was in for a challenge when he was appointed Plant Manager of Kimberly-Clark Professional (KCP) in Belmont, Michigan. The Kimberly-Clark veteran was tasked by leadership with turning around its recent acquisition, Jackson Safety. The safety supply manufacturer had a 30-year history of 9 to 15 injuries per year and the facility did not fit into Kimberly-Clark's worldwide safety culture.

The Kimberly-Clark Professional Belmont facility in Grand Rapids, Mich., was acquired through the 2009 acquisition of Jackson Safety. When Kimberly-Clark Professional assumed operations, the facility accounted for 40 percent of the sector's injuries while employing only 11 percent of its sector's employees. Averaging an injury a month, the facility was statistically at high risk for a serious injury. All injuries were repetitive and overuse in nature. The root cause of these injuries was that employees were not physically prepared to perform the essential functions of their jobs due to lack of conditioning.

"I can see how that permeated the organization because it was very prevalent, that injuries over a 30-year history, of having nine to fifteen injuries per year over thirty years, you (employees) just begin to believe that is the way things happen," reflects Tuck on the culture he observed when arriving at the Belmont facility. He chose Todd Hoogewind, former Jackson Safety Plant Manager and current Belmont Safety Leader, to assist him in shifting the safety culture to Kimberly-Clark standards. Hoogewind understood that if pain was not addressed early it could lead to more serious risks of injury.

Ergonomic-Related Injuries Quite Common & Costly In an article in the NIOSH Science Blog, Drs. Brian D. Lowe PhD, Brent A. Baker PhD, and Jim Grosch PhD offer insights into how companies can prevent and manage joint pain in the workplace.

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