Ergonomics- Automotive Parts Manufacturing

Source

Bureau of Labor Statistics, 1988 (Bulletin No. 2308).

Task Prior to Abatement (Description)

Various manual material handling tasks performed by workers.

Task Prior to Abatement (Method Which Identified Hazard)

The company’s injury rate was more than four times greater than the 1985 industry average as reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), for companies manufacturing motor vehicle parts.

Examination of workers’ compensation records, OSHA records, medical reports, and insurance records showed high rates of musculoskeletal and dermatologic injuries.

Ergonomic Risk Factor (Force)

Excessive physical effort was associated with lifting, pushing, or pulling objects while performing the tasks.

Workers had been struck by heavy objects.

Lifting of objects up to 50 pounds was required to perform the tasks.

Ergonomic Risk Factor (Posture)

Overexertion was required to perform the tasks.

Ergonomic Solution (Administrative Controls)

Regular plant inspections were sponsored by the company.

Safety films, lectures, and various safety contests were conducted by the company.

Ergonomic Solution (Engineering Controls)

Size of the boxes used to transport automotive parts was decreased.

Average weight of the boxes was decreased from 50 to 25 pounds.

Manual conveyors and lift assists were installed to decrease manual lifting requirements.

Ergonomic Solution (Benefits)

All workers that perform the tasks now have reduced exposure to various forms of work-related injuries.

Company received a $100,000 rebate on its 1986 workers’ compensation insurance premium, as a result of an improvement in its safety records.

Ergonomic Solution (Cost)

Direct costs associated with the implementation of changes totaled $190,000.

Ergonomic Solution (Method Which Verified Effectiveness)

The injury rate for 1986 represented a statistically significant decrease of 67% from the company’s 1985 rate.

Comments

Substantial cost savings exist if effective injury control programs are implemented.


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