Effectiveness of Evidence Based Ergonomic Interventions in a Manufacturing Facility
Authors: Stephen Baoa, Han Kima, Barbara Silversteina, Ninica Howarda
Abstract: A large US northwest aluminum mill has been committed to combating the work-related musculoskeletal disorders (WMSDs) that the metals manufacturing industry faces by improving their working conditions and protecting the health of their workers. The mill formed an ergonomics team a few years ago, which received 2.5 days of applied production ergonomics training from researchers of the SHARP program. Several changes have been made since then by the ergonomics team. A few changes were made in conjunction with some of the lean process activities, which focused on reducing waste and improving productivity. The goals of the present study were to qualitatively and quantitatively evaluate the improvement changes, with regards to their impact on biomechanical loading that may cause WMSDs. While several production processes and jobs were evaluated, only the following improvements will be reported in the present paper: (1) loading and unloading treated aluminum plates in the vertical heat treat area, (2) changing paper rolls on the Striene machine, (3) some changes associated with lean manufacturing activities. Significant improvements in terms of biomechanical loading reduction were observed in these intervention projects.
Keywords: Participatory Ergonomics, Physical Exposure, Job Evaluation, Work-related Musculoskeletal Disorders
Cite this paper: