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Ergonomics and the UC Berkeley Campus . Mallory Lynch, MA, CEA Ergonomics Specialist April 26, 2006. What is Ergonomics?. It is the science of fitting the job, tool or task to the individual Risk Factors Repetition Awkward Posture Force Vibration Contact Stress.

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ergonomics and the uc berkeley campus

Ergonomics and the UC Berkeley Campus

Mallory Lynch, MA, CEA

Ergonomics Specialist

April 26, 2006

what is ergonomics
What is Ergonomics?
  • It is the science of fitting the job, tool or task to the individual
    • Risk Factors
      • Repetition
      • Awkward Posture
      • Force
      • Vibration
      • Contact Stress
The majority of the ergonomics injuries on our campus are related to working on the computer; however, the departments with the highest injury rates have job tasks that are non-computer related.

The Ergonomics Task Force is an interdisciplinary group with members from Capital Projects (Architects), Disability Management Services, Environmental Health and Safety, Ergonomics@Work, Human Resources, Occupational Medicine, Physical Therapy and Procurement and Business Contracts. They work together to develop strategies to help with ergonomic challenges on the campus.

They use different ergonomics tools to understand the problems and develop solutions.

ergonomics tools
Ergonomics Tools
  • Tools
    • Americans with Disabilities Act
    • Anthropometric Data
    • Architectural Graphic Design Guide
    • Ergonomics Job Analysis
    • Focus Groups
    • Mock ups
    • Personal Interviews
    • Pilot Programs
    • Questionnaires
    • Video taping
job hazard analysis tools
Job Hazard Analysis Tools
  • Snook Push/Pull/Lift/Lower/Carry Hazard Tables
  • Washington State Checklist
  • Rapid Upper Limb Assessment - RULA
  • Rapid Entire Body Assessment - REBA
  • Job Strain Index
  • National Institute of Safety and Health -NIOSH Lifting Guide (Manual Material Handling)
  • American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists Hand Activity Level and Threshold Limit Values – ACGIH HAL-TLV
case 1 physical plant
Case #1: Physical Plant
  • Injury data showed high rate of ergonomic injuries for custodians, including low back, neck, shoulder, elbow, wrist and hand
  • Job tasks were specific to trash and recycle functions
  • These tasks included collecting trash and recycle separately and also throwing filled plastic bags into outside garbage bins
  • Met with department management for review of data
  • Personal interviews with supervisors and staff and job task analysis of specific trash and recycle tasks
  • Developed recommendations
  • Pilot program for feasibility of interventions
trash and recycle containers
Trash and Recycle Containers
  • Pulling one container and pushing another container are unsafe. This contributes to using awkward postures with the arms and back.
  • Tying two containers together and pulling them is unsafe because it places stress on the shoulder and back. In addition, the containers take more effort to maneuver.
a new option for staff
A New Option for Staff
  • Psychophysical data from interviews
  • RULA tool adjusts for awkward shoulder positions
  • Snook tables, 1991 – push versus pulling
  • Product identified and department provided samples for staff to test
  • The Rubbermaid Tandem Brute Dolly is a safer alternative because it offers a way to push both containers. In addition, the dolly takes less effort to maneuver in narrow spaces and on uneven terrain.
placing filled bags into outside garbage bins
Placing Filled Bags into Outside Garbage Bins
  • Trash and recycle collected and placed in larger trash bags to be emptied into the outside dumpsters
  • Staff transport filled bags down the stairs or in the Brute Dollies
  • Outside dumpsters are 48 inches tall and cannot be modified because the campus uses rear loading trucks to collect and dump the dumpsters.
  • Majority of staff reach above shoulder height to place bags into the bins
  • Weight of bags vary 15-50 pounds
challenges with existing design
Challenges with Existing Design
  • Staff need to grasp the bag near the top to properly throw bag to reduce being cut; consequently, the existing design requires the majority of the staff to frequently raise the bags above shoulder height when placing them into the dumpsters. (Anthropometric data).
  • Department has job lifting requirement of 50 pounds, which is too much for this job task (Snook Tables 1991)
establishing better standards
Establishing Better Standards
  • Set up standards for staff to tie off bags at weight limits that felt comfortable for them but not to exceed 25 pounds (Snook Tables 1991)
  • Provided training for staff to practice new techniques and understand weight limit (handouts in 5 languages)
campus departments working together as a team
Campus Departments Working Together as a Team




Ergonomic Design For People; Eastman Kodak 1986

Snook Pull Table, 1991

design for the smallest population percentile15
Design for the Smallest Population Percentile
  • Access to the top of outside garbage can should not exceed 36 inches.
  • The previous design showed a 24 inch concrete ramp around the back of the garbage bins to raise the worker up higher.
physical plant
Physical Plant

Questions or comments regarding Case #1

case 2 reception counters at university health services
Case #2: Reception Counters at University Health Services
  • Reception counters built using architectural graphic standards.
  • Transaction counter (24 in. L x 12 in. D x 42 in. H)
  • Cookson fire doors close at night
  • ADA accessibility
reception counters
Reception Counters
  • Built in counters for staff (90 in. L x 24 in. D x 30 in. H)
  • Reaching up and forward to client
  • Numerous injuries to neck and shoulder
  • With a remodel:
    • what tools would you use to help understand the risk factors?
    • how would you decrease the reach and provide for more adjustability?
  • American with Disabilities Act
  • Anthropometric Data
  • Architectural Graphic Design Guide
  • Ergonomics Job Analysis
    • Washington State Checklist
  • Focus Groups
  • Mock ups
  • Personal Interviews
  • Working with table manufacturers
adjustable workstations
Adjustable workstations
  • Take out the built-in counter
  • Provide two height adjustable tables having a shallower depth
  • Place the computers in the corner area to provide more desk space around the employee.
modified the transaction counter
Modified the Transaction Counter
  • Change the transaction counter to position the client closer to the employee.
  • Relocate the ADA table and change the sign in practice to make it a universal design.
reduced the reach
Reduced the Reach
  • Change the transaction counter to position the client closer to the employee.
mock up to give visual representation
Mock Up To Give Visual Representation
  • Creates staff buy-in
  • Identifies potential improvements to proposed design
  • Finished product
reception counter
Reception Counter

Questions or comments regarding Case #2

case 3 campus dining
Case #3: Campus Dining
  • New dining facility opened in 1/2003
  • Serve between 900-1307 lunches and 1500-2500 dinners/day
  • 9 ergonomic injuries have occurred in the dish room since the opening
  • Met with managers, supervisors and staff to better understand the different tasks
dish room
Dish room
  • 5 tier tray conveyor
  • 3 stations to break down trays
    • Trough at station 1 is 12 inches wide
    • Trough at station 2 is 24 inches wide
    • Trough at station 3 is 24 inches wide
  • 2 trays can fit in each tiered compartment
  • Dish machine runs parallel to tray conveyor
tray conveyor
Tray Conveyor
  • Key issues identified in the area included:
    • Excessive reaching to grab trays and items on the trayveyor
    • Frequent lifting and carrying filled racks
    • Staff shortages
    • Limited area to stage the dirty dishes
quick fix recommendations
Quick Fix Recommendations
  • Unbolt the top tray on the conveyor to eliminate reaching above shoulder height
  • Block part of the next section so only one tray can fit in the area.
  • Consider going back to using larger trays so only one can fit on each level
  • Position shorter staff at stations with least amount of reach to conveyor
  • Provide more staff
  • 4 out of the 9 ergonomic injuries happened while lifting and carrying heavy racks of silverware and from repetitive handling of the silverware.
  • The silverware goes through the machine 3 times. Staff sort the clean silverware after the first time through and put like utensils in containers. These containers are placed in racks.
quick fix recommendations30
Quick Fix Recommendations
  • Staff should reduce the amount of dirty silverware they place in the full rack or
  • Provide half size silverware racks
  • Weight should not exceed 10 pounds to make it easier for the staff to transport
more quick fixes
More Quick Fixes
  • Reduce the weight by only placing eight filled utensil containers in the rack that has 16 slots.
  • Place several empty racks on the cart to raise the overall working height of sorting utensils.
  • Use a small cart to transport the racks to and from the dish machine.
long term recommendations
Long Term Recommendations
  • Design of dish room is too small for volume of meals
  • Dish room needs to be remodeled
    • Hire a dish room consultant
    • Get input from dish room staff
    • Provide ergonomic input throughout all phases of the remodel
    • Study University of Iowa design
      • 2 single level tray conveyors and six separate stations to break the trays down.
      • Ample storage and areas to stage dirty dishes
campus dining
Campus Dining

Questions or comments regarding Case #3

how do we make sure the design is functional for the application
How do we make sure the design is functional for the application?
  • Engineers, architects, designers, ergonomists, managers, supervisors and employees should be involved from the beginning.
  • Hold focus groups to best understand any issues the departments are having with their existing design.
  • Work simulation and workstation/equipment guidelines
  • Develop functional design guidelines that work for the different applications
  • Universal design
    • Equitable use
    • Flexibility in use
    • Simple and intuitive use
    • Low physical effort
    • Perceptible information
    • Tolerance for error