Insy 3020 introduction to occupational ergonomics
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INSY 3020 Introduction to Occupational Ergonomics. Dr. Robert E. Thomas Industrial and Systems Engineering Department Auburn University Spring 2005. ERGONOMICS. “ Ergo ” = Greek word meaning “work” “ Nomos ” = . . . “laws”

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INSY 3020 Introduction to Occupational Ergonomics

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INSY 3020Introduction to Occupational Ergonomics

Dr. Robert E. Thomas

Industrial and Systems Engineering Department

Auburn University

Spring 2005


ERGONOMICS

  • “Ergo” = Greek word meaning “work”

  • “Nomos” = . . . “laws”

    Introduced into literature in the 1840’s by Polish educator and scientist Jastrzebowski Wojciech.


ERGONOMICS

Ergonomics is a multidisciplinary activity that assembles information on people’s capacities and applies that information in designing jobs, products, workplaces, and equipment.


Philosophy of Ergonomics

“Fit The Task To The Person”


Ergonomics Activities

  • Worker / Workplace Accommodation

  • Physiological Stress Prevention

  • Environmental Stress Prevention

  • Equipment design

  • Error Minimization


ERGO VS. SAFETY

  • Safety generally concerns traumatic injuries (i.e “slam/bang’)

  • Ergonomics generally concerns chronic injuries (i.e. “slow”)


Historical Events

  • Scientific management/industrial engineering (1880s to 1930s)

  • World war II (1940s)

  • Space program (1950s and 1960s)

  • Product & Environmental focus (1970s to ..)

  • Productivity focus (1970s to …)

  • Safety & Health focus (1980s to …)


Traditional Meanings and Background

United States = Human Factors

Europe = Ergonomics

Other Terms = Human Engineering

Engineering Psychology


Types of Ergonomics

  • Informational- Concerned with information interfaces and transfer

  • Physical- Concerned with physical interfaces including workplace and tool design

  • Organizational-Concerned with the design of organizations, jobs and activities (AKA as “Macro- ergonomics where large organizations or entities are involved


How Ergonomics is Mostly Accomplished

  • By changes in the design of workplace or work area.


Primary Techniques-Tools of Ergonomics

  • Methods Analysis / Design

  • Workplace/area Design

  • Equipment Design

  • Tool Design

  • Operator Assignments

    Note: Basic understanding of industrial engineering, biomechanics, psychology, and physiology, underlie these techniques.


Examples of Ergonomic Designs

  • Angled soldering iron

  • Bent-handle pliers

  • Paint brush with pistol-grip handle

  • Meat-cutting knife with pistol-grip handle

  • Adjustable chair

  • Adjustable computer workstation


Examples of Ergonomic Designs (con’d)

  • Assembly line that flips automobile onto its side

  • Moon-cut workstation

  • Automobile control panel

  • Adjustable-height conveyor belt

  • Adjustable computer keyboard


“Secret” of Ergonomics

“Adjustability”


ENFORCEMENT OF ERGO

  • Under the General Duty Clause of the OSH Act

  • OSHA has issued draft ergonomics guidelines for nursing homes , retail grocery stores and poultry processing

    (http://www.osha.gov/SLTC/ergonomics/guidelines.html


Current Primary OccupationalErgonomics Focus

  • Musculoskeletal CTDs

    - Of lower back

    - Of upper extremities

    *Neck

    *Shoulders

    *Arms

    *Hands


Factors Influencing Ergonomics

  • Occupational Safety & Health Legislation

  • Equal Employment Opportunity

  • Product Liability Litigation

  • Quality of Life Expectations

  • Responsible & Concerned Management

  • Workforce Changes (Next slide)


Workforce Changes

  • Composition of the workforce

  • Types of work

  • Where people work


ERGO PROFESSIONAL SOCIETY

  • Human Factors and Ergonomics Society http://www.hfes.org/


CERTIFICATION IN ERGONOMICS

  • Board of Certification in Professional Ergonomics (www.BCPE.org)


Benefits of Ergonomics

  • Improved safety and health

  • Increased productivity

  • Increased operator acceptance

  • Improved attitude toward change

  • Lower worker’s compensation premiums


What’s Stopping Ergonomics?

  • Common misperceptions

  • “Ownership” conflicts

  • Omission from engineers’ training

  • “Quick-fix” focus

  • Ergonomics “costs too much.”


The “Average Person”

Designing for the

“Average Person”

--- Whoever they may be !!!


Ownership Conflicts

  • Safety Vs.. Human Resources

  • Human Resources Vs.. Medical

  • Medical Vs.. Safety

  • Engineering Vs.. All of the Above


Training of Engineers

  • Engineers are not taught ergonomics at universities

  • Fixation is on “things,” not on people


Quick-Fix Focus


Ergonomics Cost Too Much

  • Fixing Existing Ergo Problems= $4 Savings for $1 Invested

  • Prevention Ergo Problems during design stage( I.e. before tey occur)= $10 saving for $1 invested


Summary

  • Ergonomics isn’t new

  • Fit task or work area to people

  • Ergonomics is accomplished by design changes

  • Ergonomics is “stopped/impeded” by several common misperceptions

  • Ergonomics is almost always economically beneficial


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