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Journal of Ergonomics
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Low-Cost Improvements for Reducing Multifaceted Work-Related Risks and Preventing Stress at Work

Kazutaka Kogi1*, Toru Yoshikawa2, Tsuyoshi Kawakami3, Myung Sook Lee4and Etsuko Yoshikawa5

1The Ohara Memorial Institute for Science of Labour, Tokyo, Japan

2National Insitute of Occupational Safety and Health, Kawasaki, Japan

3International Labour Office, Geneva, Switzerland

4Council of Group Occupational Health Service, Seoul, Korea

5Tokyo Ariake University of Medical and Health Sciences, Tokyo, Japan

*Corresponding Author:
The Ohara Memorial Institute for Science of Labour
1-1-12, Sendagaya, Shibuya-ku
Tokyo 151-0051, Japan
Tel: 81467318942
E-mail: [email protected]

Received Date: December 9, 2015 Accepted Date: JJanuary 13, 2016 Published Date: January 21, 2016

Citation: Kogi K, Yoshikawa T, Kawakami T, Lee MS, Yoshikawa E (2016) Low-Cost Improvements for Reducing Multifaceted Work-Related Risks and Preventing Stress at Work. J Ergonomics 6:147. doi:10.4172/2165-7556.1000147

Copyright: © 2016 Kogi K, et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.


Types of low-cost improvements that can help reduce work-related risks and prevent stress at work are reviewed by examining simple improvements achieved by participatory action-oriented programs in different work settings. Programs reviewed include WISE (work improvement in small enterprises) projects in various industries, including POSITIVE (participation-oriented safety improvements by trade union initiative) activities by trade unions, and recent mental health interventions for work stress prevention. Participatory steps undertaken commonly comprise learning local good practices, group work on feasible improvement options and consensus building on immediate actions. These common steps are found effective for achieving multifaceted improvements at low cost in short periods. Typical low-cost improvements by work improvement programs cover materials handling, workstations, physical environment and work organization, whereas those by stress prevention programs additionally cover internal communication, restful schedules and social support measures. The planning and implementation of these improvements are usually facilitated by the use of action-oriented toolkits including good examples, action checklists listing practical low-cost improvements and group work sheets. Serial intervention studies confirm reductions in workplace risks, often with productivity increase, in both work improvement and stress prevention activities. Main contributing factors leading to these positive achievements are (a) simple procedures aimed at good practices in multifaceted risk management, (b) a clear focus on locally feasible improvements that have real impact on risk reduction, and (c) the use of locally adjusted action-oriented toolkits. These results demonstrate the importance of promoting participatory programs relying on multifaceted low-cost improvements in reducing the work-related risks and stress in varied work situations.


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