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In addition to the ergonomics program at Navistar International Transportation Corp.'s Springfield Assembly Plant, the federal General Accounting Office's report "Worker Protection: Private Sector Ergonomics Programs Yield Positive Results," examines programs at four other workplaces.

The study looks at the success ergonomics programs have had at the 5,300-employee headquarters of American Express Financial Advisors Inc. in Minneapolis and the 300-employee AMP Inc. electronic connectors manufacturing facility in Tower City, Pa.

The 780-employee Sisters of Charity Health System St. Mary's Regional Medical Center and St. Marguerite d'Youville Pavilion in Lewiston, Maine, and Texas Instruments' 2,800-employee defense systems and electronics manufacturing facility in Lewisville, Texas, are also reviewed.

All the facilities examined experienced reductions in workers compensation costs associated with musculoskeletal disorders, and each credited the ergonomics program with contributing to those savings.

The GAO study also noted that while successful ergonomics programs all contain the same core elements-management commitment, employee involvement, identification of problem jobs, development of controls for problem jobs, training and education for employees and appropriate medical management-employers have implemented those elements in different ways.

That finding suggests the merit of companies allowing their individual units and locations the flexibility to customize their ergonomics programs to most effectively apply the core elements to address their site-specific problems, the GAO report states.