Ergonomics Jobs Designed
with People in Mind
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What is Ergonomics?
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The size of people - anthropomety
The strength of people - biomechanics
The endurance of people - physiology
The movement of people - kinesiology
The environment for people - Industrial
hygiene
• The information processing of people Psychology
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What’s the objective?
• Error free performance
– Errors in perceptions
– Errors in decisions
– Errors in actions
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How can problems be identified?
Injury Data
Interviews
Observations
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What type of injuries are seen?
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Muscle pain
Joint pain
Swelling
Numbness
Restricted motion
• Repetitive stress injury
• Repetitive motion
injuries
• Cumulative trauma
disorder
• Musculoskeletal
disorder
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What’s there usual diagnosis?
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Tendinitis
Rotator cuff tendinitis
Tenosynovitis
Stenosing tenosynovitis
Thoracic outlet
syndrome
• Carpal tunnel syndrome
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De Quervain’s
Herniated disc
Tension neck
Epicondylitis
Cubital tunnel
Guyon tunnel
Gangilionic cyst
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What are some common names?
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Trigger finger
Bricklayers shoulder
Carpet layers knee
Pizza cutters wrist
Tailors seat
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Gamekeepers thumb
Cotton twisters hand
Golfers elbow
Tennis elbow
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How are injuries and illnesses
calculated?
# of injuries or illnesses x 200,000
Total hours worked
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Fatality
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15 injuries x 200,000 = 7.5
400,000
300
600
Lost Time
First Aid
Near Misses
Prevention
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Interviews
• Are there problem jobs??? - ask the
worker
• Structured interviews
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What’s the blueprint for a
good ergonomic program?
• Commitment by Top Management
• Employee Involvement
• Written Program
• Review and Evaluation
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What should the program include?
• Worksite analysis
• Hazard prevention and control
• Medical management
• Training and education
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Work site analysis
• Identifies problem areas and
risk factors
• Conduct worker surveys
• Perform analysis of tasks and
positions that are problems
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Hazard prevention and control
• Prevented by
– Design of task, job, or job site
• Corrected by using
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Engineering
Work practice
Personal protective equipment
Administrative
• Some more effective than others
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What are some examples of
engineering controls?
• Mechanical devices
• Lift tables/adjustable
workstations
• Push/pull carts
• Work bins
• Tool design
• Seating, wrist/foot
rest, glare screens
• Floor mats
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What do work practice controls
involve?
• Proper work techniques
• Employee conditioning period
• Monitoring
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What are the factors to consider when
using PPE?
• Variety of sizes
• Proper fit, and safe design
• Back belts
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Can administrative controls be used
instead of engineering controls?
• Considered in conjunction with
engineering controls
• Implemented where engineering
controls not feasible
• Temporary, does not eliminate
hazard
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Examples include!
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Reducing # of repetitions
Job rotation
Frequent breaks
Broadening job content
Training on proper lifting
procedures
• Decrease work pace
• Increase # of employees
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What are the major components of a
medical management program?
• Periodic walk-throughs
• Symptoms survey
• Identification of restricted duty
jobs
• Health surveillance
• Early reporting of symptoms
• Medical care
• Accurate recordkeeping
• Periodic program evaluation
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What training is required?
• General Training
• Job Specific
• Training for supervisors
• Training for managers
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What are the benefits of videotaping
a task?
• Record of job
• Offers detailed review
• Allows management to
focus on task
Job
Safety
Analysis
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What are the steps to take prior to
taping the job?
Observe
job
Plan the views
Get permission
Describe
job
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How should the job be recorded?
• Use clock, and date
• Shoot upstream and
downstream
• Whole body shots
• Zero-in on problems areas
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What additional data should be
considered?
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Weight of materials
Amount of hand force used
Hand tool or surface vibration
Work organization
Workstation design
Environment - temperature, odors, etc.
Height of worker
Experience of worker and hours at work
Worker modifications - both implemented
and suggested
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Where can I get additional
information?
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Trade associations
Venders
Visits to other worksites
OSHA field offices
OTI
Internet
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G AL
* Find the problem and fix it,
but don’t put Band-Aids
on the symptoms!
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Video Display Terminals
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Introduction
• Have revolutionized workplace
• 25% use in 1984, versus 45%in 1993
• More than 18 million workers in jobs
• Along with use comes health effects
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What are the components of a Video
Display Terminal?
• Display screen
– Shows what’s being processed.
• Keyboard
– Allows user to send information.
• Central processing unit
– Brains of computer
– Performs calculations,
organizes data
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What are some of the problems that
come with their use?
• Eyestrain and irritation
• Symptoms can be from
– improper lighting
– glare from screen
– poor positioning of screen or copy material
• Adjusting physical and environmental
settings
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Fatigue and Musculoskeletal
Problems
• Operators are subject to various
MSD’s
• Injuries to muscles, joints, tendons,
nerves
• Caused/made worse by work related
factors
• Early symptoms include:
• If workers have problems
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Lighting
• Direct so doesn’t shine into screen.
• Four factors must be controlled to avoid
eyestrain.
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Quantity
Contrast
Direct glare
Reflected glare
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What are some of key areas of work
station design?
• Proper design will reduce visual and (MSD)
discomfort when the following are observed:
– Flexible sitting position
– Support for back, arms, legs, and feet
– Adjustable screens, keyboards, tables,
and desks
– Proper chair height, and support for
lower back.
– Use of document holders
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How important are Chairs?
• Crucial factor in preventing back
pain
• Majority of office workers spend
most of time sitting.
• Comfortable for the task.
• Easy adjustments.
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Chair Height
• Human body provides a
starting point.
• Height from floor to point
at crease behind knee.
• Sole of foot on floor or
footrest.
• Allows good circulation
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Seatpan Design
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Size and shape are two factors
Slightly concave, rounded edge
Distributes weight/prevents sliding
Also consider angle.
Options to include:
– back and forward tilts
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Arm and Backrest
• Armrest, low, short enough to fit
under worksurfaces.
• Backrest should support entire
back.
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VDT Design
• Separate, adjustable keyboards
and screens.
• Top line no higher than user’s
eyes.
• Screen and document holder
same distance from eye.
– Preferred viewing ranges
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Keyboard
• Detachable and adjustable
• Forearms, parallel to floor, elbows at side
• Wrist in line with the elbows
• Padded and detachable wrist rests
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Mouse
• Operator’s side, arm close to body
• Straight line between hand and
forearm.
• Upper arm not elevated/extended
while in use.
• Pad or rest helps maintain straight
wrists.
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What are some work practices that
may help employees?
• Frequent breaks
• Design jobs so employees
can vary VDT task with
non-VDT tasks
• Open and positive working
relationships
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Back injuriesA painful problem
Ouch
!
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What are the risk factors?
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Awkward posture
Forceful exertions
Repetitive motion
Vibration
Contact stress
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What should I look at when
analyzing the job?
• Look at the function
• Interview workers
• Break it into elements
– work station
– work methods
• Use checklist
• Interview supervisors
• Videotape
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What are some of the controls can I
use?
• Engineering
• Administrative
• Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
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Administrative controls!
• Temporary
• Do not eliminate hazard
• Must maintain practices and policies
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Types to consider include!
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More rest breaks
Job rotation
Broadening of job content
Training of proper lifting procedures
Reduce overtime
Decrease work pace
Increase # of employees
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After an injury, how soon should a
worker return?
• As soon as possible
• Helps employee/employer
• Reduces cost
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Ouch
!
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1
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300
Fatality
Lost Time
First Aid
600
Prevention
Near Misses
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Video Display Terminals