From The Ergoweb® Learning Center

Ergonomics- Loading and Installing Aircraft Galley Cart Lifts

Task Prior to Abatement (Description)

An ergonomic case study for workers loading and installing aircraft galley cart lifts.  Galleys installed in passenger compartments of large commercial aircrafts are heavy and bulky. Workers had to physically carry and position the galleys on the aircraft. Galleys were loaded onto the aircraft after the body was joined together. The only access for carrying the galleys into the aircraft was the passenger doors. After introducing wide body aircrafts galleys became bigger and manufactured as one piece units in order to look better and require less maintenance. Galley cart lifts are elevator-like devices. They are used to lift galley carts from the main deck where they are loaded to the upper deck of the aircraft. The lift weighs about 800 pounds and it is about 14 feet long. The bottom end of the lift where the elevator portion of the lift is attached is about three times as heavy as the top end. In order to load and install the lift, workers had to put the lift on a cart and roll it up to the forward passenger door of the aircraft.

Task Prior to Abatement (Method Which Verified Hazard)

Examination of the OSHA injury data, discussions with supervisors and mechanics, and observation of the tasks by a safety team, verified the existence of ergonomics risk factors in performing the task.

Task Prior to Abatement (Method Which Identified Hazard)

Due to the width of the lift there is not enough room for a worker carrying it from the side to fit through with it. The workers who carry the lift from the side had to run up to another passenger door, enter the aircraft and return to help carry it. There were complaints of back injury among workers who perform this task. Moreover, there were damages to aircraft because of loading procedures.

Reported back injuries and other CTD related injuries by the workers.

Unreported strains associated with performing the tasks.
Complaint of one worker of being too sore to work in his yard after installing a cart lift.

Ergonomic Risk Factor (Force)

The lift weighed about 800 pounds.

Ergonomic Risk Factor (Posture)

Workers had awkward postures while performing the task.

Ergonomic Solution (Administrative Controls)

  1. Participation of mechanics in the analysis, prioritization, and process examination. They were involved in the use and critique of a prototype aid before final production release of the design.
  2. Organizing a cross-functional team consisting of three ergonomists, the safety ergonomics focal, a shop supervisor, two mechanics from the shop, An Industrial
  3. Engineer responsible for the interiors installation shop, a representative from the tooling organization assigned to the shop, and a return – to – work representative.

Ergonomic Solution (Engineering Controls)

  1. A process change, include loading the lift, before placing any of the galleys or partitions.
  2. Developing a winch device to help lift the cart lift into place and support it while it was pinned into place.
  3. Providing a flat-bed cart with large soft wheels to bring the cart lift into the aircraft.

Ergonomic Solution (Benefits)

  • Increased Productivity
  • Increased work quality
  • Decrease of work-related injury and discomfort among workers.


It is essential that a prototype be developed. There should be open communication between workers and the designer for developing a successful tool.