Repetitive work including manual material handling of loads at high frequency involves a significant stress of the upper limb, mainly affecting hand and wrist, but even shoulders and low back. Lifting, reaching, and performing repetitive activities with moderate force, cause excessive stress on joints and tendons if performed at high frequency or for a long time. These activities commonly lead to deteriorated postures, awkward body positions and muscular fatigue. Such behaviors are the main cause of occupational diseases as cumulative trauma disorders and work-related musculoskeletal disorders (WMSDs), e.g., tendonitis, low back pain and carpal tunnel syndrome. WMSDs are considered one of the most common and expensive occupational diseases. Furthermore, work-related WMSDs increase the risk of errors and frequently result in reduced productivity and quality. Physical and psychosocial factors as the characteristics of tasks and workers, and the work organization are the main risk factors for work-related WMSDs. Other additional factors include the work conditions as noise, illumination, climate and vibration. The health and safety regulations and guidelines require to eliminate the risk or to reduce the exposure by means of engineering and administrative controls. Specifically, engineering controls eliminate or reduce exposure to a physical hazard through the adoption or substitution of engineered machinery and equipment. Administrative controls, or work practice controls, involve changes in the work organization or in work procedures, e.g., training of workers, safety procedures and job schedules. This chapter presents a brief review on recent innovative engineering controls for the ergonomics of manual workers in several industries (e.g., construction, agriculture, meat-processing, retail and personal service assistance). A procedure for planning the implementation of engineering controls to support the risk elimination or reduction is introduced, together with two practical applications on different industrial workplaces. The ergonomic risk assessment before the introduction of the engineering controls revealed some major risk factor associated with work-related WMSDs. After the adoption of the solutions, the achieved ergonomic improvements led to the reduction of the risk factors. The proposed engineering controls are included in the Solutions Database, a research project for the development of informative documents to support and update the companies about available automated solutions and tools improving ergonomics in occupational environment characterized by manual material handling and repetitive work. The results of this study showed that improving ergonomics and workers’ health and safety is possible even with limited resources.

Engineering controls and industrial applications for ergonomics

BOTTI, LUCIA;MORA, CRISTINA;
2016

Abstract

Repetitive work including manual material handling of loads at high frequency involves a significant stress of the upper limb, mainly affecting hand and wrist, but even shoulders and low back. Lifting, reaching, and performing repetitive activities with moderate force, cause excessive stress on joints and tendons if performed at high frequency or for a long time. These activities commonly lead to deteriorated postures, awkward body positions and muscular fatigue. Such behaviors are the main cause of occupational diseases as cumulative trauma disorders and work-related musculoskeletal disorders (WMSDs), e.g., tendonitis, low back pain and carpal tunnel syndrome. WMSDs are considered one of the most common and expensive occupational diseases. Furthermore, work-related WMSDs increase the risk of errors and frequently result in reduced productivity and quality. Physical and psychosocial factors as the characteristics of tasks and workers, and the work organization are the main risk factors for work-related WMSDs. Other additional factors include the work conditions as noise, illumination, climate and vibration. The health and safety regulations and guidelines require to eliminate the risk or to reduce the exposure by means of engineering and administrative controls. Specifically, engineering controls eliminate or reduce exposure to a physical hazard through the adoption or substitution of engineered machinery and equipment. Administrative controls, or work practice controls, involve changes in the work organization or in work procedures, e.g., training of workers, safety procedures and job schedules. This chapter presents a brief review on recent innovative engineering controls for the ergonomics of manual workers in several industries (e.g., construction, agriculture, meat-processing, retail and personal service assistance). A procedure for planning the implementation of engineering controls to support the risk elimination or reduction is introduced, together with two practical applications on different industrial workplaces. The ergonomic risk assessment before the introduction of the engineering controls revealed some major risk factor associated with work-related WMSDs. After the adoption of the solutions, the achieved ergonomic improvements led to the reduction of the risk factors. The proposed engineering controls are included in the Solutions Database, a research project for the development of informative documents to support and update the companies about available automated solutions and tools improving ergonomics in occupational environment characterized by manual material handling and repetitive work. The results of this study showed that improving ergonomics and workers’ health and safety is possible even with limited resources.
Ergonomics: Challenges, applications and new perspectives
49
110
Botti, L.; Mora, C.; Zecchi, G.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11585/583835
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