Northeast Credit Union
OVERVIEWNortheast Credit Union traces its history back to 1936 when it began as US Employees Federal Credit Union #1515 located in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. The organization has successfully negotiated the many challenges faced by financial institutions such as the recession and upheaval of the credit industry in the 1980s, the credit union challenges of the 1990s when the banking industry lobbied against credit union’s exempt status as well as the current financial challenges.
Through it all, the organization has thrived due to the loyalty of its members and the dedication of its board, management team and staff who continue to focus on their original mission which holds true today – to make credit available to people of modest means and to be a trusted neighbor. The organization currently has seven branches with a vision set on future expansion.
CHALLENGEThe company experienced significant challenges with workplace related injuries on their teller line and back office personnel dating as far back as 1990. It was at that point that Facilities Supervisor, Devin Parker, began to draft the organization’s ergonomics policies. “It was an extremely challenging undertaking on a number of fronts. The HR manager was enlisted in the effort and helped to make the NECU Ergonomics Program a part of NECU policy but, as we began to raise awareness, the number of claims began to increase.” Devin stated.
This is an interesting phenomenon that is fairly common as ergonomic awareness is increased. As employees are educated and potential injuries are discussed, the incidences of occurrences increase over the short term as employees now bring to light existing challenges and issues. Some may be founded and some unfounded, but all of them must be investigated.
SOLUTIONS“While the awareness phase was unquestionably the most challenging, we stuck with the program” said Devin. “It took us about 5 years to see the results we wanted with the 3 year look back on claim history. Partnering with a progressive insurer, we began to compile evaluations for high risk cases and brought in outside consultants to help in this effort, including Jaymil, whose expertise on posture, work flow, and product allowed Northeast Credit Union’s employees to achieve proper realignment at the workstation. Jaymil’s ergonomic improvements included adding quality adjustable task chairs, articulating keyboard mechanisms, monitor arms, input devices, keyboards, and stools to the teller lines – AND training for each employee. In addition, Jaymil was sought out to outfit new branch locations with traditional furniture enhanced with ergonomic solutions”.
“The program gained momentum,” continued Devin; “we promoted wellness and sponsored activities such as walking programs. Today, all new employees undergo clinical ergonomic evaluations when they’re hired and I conduct monthly training sessions for new staff as well. The culture of our organization has completely transformed itself. Our policy charges all Managers with knowing the importance of ergonomics, so they the are keenly aware of and are constantly on the lookout for potential challenges. In many cases, they’re able to resolve the issues themselves but if not, HR is notified immediately. If I’m not able to address the challenge HR will bring in outside resources.”
OUTCOMEWhile the company experienced initial challenges adapting and incorporating ergonomic awareness throughout the organization, the perseverance has paid off. The results have been outstanding. The experience modification number dropped by almost half over three years and the company plans to maintain its focus to ensure it continues to decline.