Sustainability at PPG

Environment Health and Safety

Safety and Health - Ergonomics


PPG removes barriers to quality, productivity and human performance by applying the science of Ergonomics to its operations. Ergonomics is the fitting of products, tasks, and environments to people in order to reduce the risk of PPG employees developing a musculoskeletal disorder.

PPG uses good ergonomics principles in the design of new workplaces. PPG also analyzes existing manufacturing systems and job tasks and implements appropriate design changes and other control measures to reduce the risk of future injuries and to enhance productivity and quality.

The PPG Ergonomics Process has incorporated various quality tools to facilitate and drive continuous improvement, including:

  • employee involvement in ergonomics teams
  • completion of ergonomic risk assessments
  • training for personnel throughout PPG
  • hazard prevention and control
  • medical management
  • site ergonomics program assessments

Recent highlights from PPG’s Ergonomics efforts include:

PPG Industries Ergonomic Injury and Illness Rate is defined by PPG Injuries and Illnesses caused or aggravated by ergonomic risk factors in the workplace.

  • Employee involvement in over 50 active ergonomics teams at manufacturing facilities throughout the corporation.

  • Globally, PPG has achieved a nearly 75% reduction in PPG Injuries and Illnesses caused or aggravated by ergonomic risk factors in the workplace since 2002 (see chart at right). These injuries include those caused by force, repetition, awkward posture, contact stress, etc.
  • Ergonomics is key to safety improvement in fiber glass. At one of PPG’s fiber glass facilities, five ergonomic projects were implemented in 2005 that reduced the number of PPG Injury and Illness cases by 49%. MORE>
  • PPG has implemented the eToolsTM Ergo Job Analyzer, a global web based software application, by Auburn Engineers. This application is an integrated set of ergonomic analysis tools from screening through follow-up, will provide consistent evaluation of jobs and tasks worldwide, and will provide for the ability to manage job improvement at every organization level. PPG has conducted over 500 ergonomic risk assessments on jobs around the world using this software.
  • PPG has been conducting global ergonomics training for employees since 1989. Since 2000, nearly 1300 ergonomics team members have been trained at workshops at their own facilities. In addition, over 1100 people have completed intensive off site, multi-day ergonomics training. Upon completing the course, trained employees facilitate their local ergonomics programs and in turn conduct ergonomics training for all personnel at their facility.


  • PPG started an internal Ergo Cup Competition in 2005 to encourage and recognize innovative ergonomic solutions in the workplace. PPG's competition is patterned after the international competition that is presented every year by the Institute of Industrial Engineers at the Applied Ergonomics Conference. The first place winner of PPG's competition represents the company at the international competition at the conference. PPG won the international Ergo Cup in 2008 in the team driven category (see below).

Huntsville aerospace team wins first-place 'Ergo Cup' award at the Applied Ergonomics Expo
International honors for ergonomic improvement

  • A 14-person team of PPG Aerospace employees at the Huntsville, Ala., aerospace transparency plant has won the internationally recognized "2008 Ergo Cup" for designing and implementing a clamp-assist system to press together aircraft window components.


  • The Huntsville team earned first-place honors in the "team-driven workplace solutions" category among a group of 16 finalists (including Boeing, the U.S. Department of Energy, General Electric, Honda and Intel) representing the best ergonomic improvements from companies around the world. The award was presented to the PPG team on March 13 by the Institute of Industrial Engineers at its Annual Applied Ergonomics Conference & Expo in Orlando, Fl. The PPG team's winning entry (which won the PPG-wide "Ergo Cup" competition in 2007 ) was a system that incorporates a light-weight pneumatic device to apply heavy-duty clamps during the process of manufacturing aerospace transparencies, and an adjustable rack to hold the clamps in position during application. Employees previously used up to 50 pounds of manual force to apply the clamps, sometimes as often as 400 times daily.


  • The award-winning Huntsville team comprises Paul Brelowski, engineer; Mildred Douglas, finisher; Toby England, finisher; Tom Fickling, process specialist; Mark Hoffpauir, environment, health and safety manager; Scott Hutchins, tool maker and ergonomics team leader; Ken Ingram, finisher; Jarvis Jamar, behavioral safety coordinator; Paul Landreth, maintenance; Justin Mercer, engineer and quality action team leader; Frank Riopka, manager of technical services and ergonomics team sponsor; Larry Rogers, finisher; Andrew Troller, engineer; and Sang Yi, finisher.


    Five members of Huntsville's award-winning team traveled to Florida to accept the Ergo Cup award: (from left) Jarvis Jamar, Justin Mercer, Scott Hutchins, Andrew Troller and Mildred Douglas.