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Psy 552 Ergonomics & Biomechanics. Lecture 17. Work classification methods. The need to address productivity, comfort and safety dictate the need evaluate work methods. In the quest to find the optimal method, early methods focused on productivity.

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work classification methods
Work classification methods
  • The need to address productivity, comfort and safety dictate the need evaluate work methods.
  • In the quest to find the optimal method, early methods focused on productivity.
  • These work analysis methods have significant drawbacks that limit their use in ergonomics and biomechanics.
historic names
Historic names
  • Frederick Taylor – father of time–motion studies.
    • Used time analysis of work to enhance productivity.
    • Devised the four principles of

scientific management

4 principles
4 Principles
  • Study work methods specifically.
  • Select the best workers for the task and train them.
  • Develop cooperation between employees and managers.
  • Divide work according to ability, between workers and managers depending upon who was best suited to perform it.
frank and lillian gilbreth
Frank and Lillian Gilbreth
  • Studied work methods
  • Capitalized on motion studies using illuminated markers.
  • Categorized motions in to “elemental motions” that now serve as the basis for contemporary time and motion studies.
method time measurement mtm
Method-Time Measurement (MTM)
  • MTM is a time estimation based upon elemental movements:
mtm cont
MTM (cont)
  • Focuses on how:
    • ...
  • Uses TMUs…
time motion ergonomics
Time & motion & ergonomics
  • These early studies created a foundation for ergonomic evaluations.
  • T&M studies do not generalize to ergonomics & biomechanics because they:
contemporary classification methods
Contemporary classification methods
  • Modern systems fall into two categories:
    • Passive
    • Active
passive surveillance
Passive surveillance
  • Involves reviewing and analyzing pre-existing records such as:
the passive process
The passive process
  • Must be contrasted with results of other assessment techniques including:
the passive process cont
The passive process (cont)
  • Works best when records are computerized.
  • Should be conducted monthly if not quarterly.
  • Should contain requisite information:
  • Incident rate
    • IR = (# of illnesses x 200,000)/hours worked
  • Point prevalence
    • PR = (# new + # old case at a given time)/number of workers at the same time
  • Severity index
    • SI = (Total # lost work days due to the disorder(s))/(Total number of workers or hours worked in a period)
passive advantages
Passive advantages
  • Low cost
  • Makes use of available data
  • Historical perspective
  • Can be used to compare departments
  • Can be used to evaluate ergonomic interventions
passive disadvantages
Passive disadvantages
  • There are few accepted “signs” for WMSD.
  • The “true” causes of WMSD are not well known.
  • Putative factors are present in every job.
    • These factors don’t discriminate or differentiate jobs with and without histories of WMSD.
  • Underreporting
passive disadvantages cont
Passive disadvantages (cont)
  • Inconsistent record collection
  • WMSD occur over time and might not be reflected in records.
  • Unknown reporting thresholds
  • Records often fail to record the specific task being performed.
active surveillance
Active surveillance
  • There are two types:
    • Self-report
    • Audits
  • Advantages
active surveillance cont
Active surveillance (cont)
  • Success depends on:
    • Short response times
    • Adequate response rates
    • Trained personnel
    • Employee memory
    • Tolerance of false positives
analyzing wmsd data cont
Analyzing WMSD data (cont)
  • WMSD incident rates > 1 per 200,000 should be investigated further.
  • In Washington State between 1988 and 1991 the WMSD incident rate was .82 per 200,000 work hours.
  • Prioritize
    • Jobs with the highest incident rates.
    • Jobs with the most effected people.
    • Jobs where large changes have taken place.
active surveillance risk factors
Active surveillance: Risk factors
  • Used by trained ergonomist
  • Provide data based on educated observations
  • Do not require preexisting symptoms
  • Can be used to evaluate work or equipment changes.
  • Highly correlated with discomfort surveys.
risk factors cont
Risk factors (cont)
  • Posture targeting
  • Ovac Working Posture Analysis System
  • EMG
risk factor surveillance disadvantages
Risk factor surveillance: Disadvantages
  • They are more descriptive than evaluative.
  • A risk factor absent an injury requires evaluator judgment.
  • There are often few comparisons.
when conducting evaluations
When conducting evaluations
  • Cleary state your objectives.
  • Understand sponsor’s desires.
  • Understand that you will not be universally accepted.
  • Select methods using an iterative process to promote validity.
  • Seek most recent scientific literature.
  • Seek advice of experienced colleagues.