From The Ergoweb® Learning Center

Ergonomics- Motor and Equipment Assembly

Task Prior to Abatement (Description)

Ergonomic case study for motor and equipment assembly worker. Worker had to fix cars and assemble engines in the shop by working underneath vehicles either on a creeper or, when cars were raised on the lift. Although the employer created a bench job for the worker in their motor and equipment assembly division. Later, the worker was fearful of re-injury and persuaded his doctor that he could not do the job.

Task Prior to Abatement (Method Which Identified Hazard)

Medical case of cervical strain that prevented the worker from extending his neck and working with his arms above shoulder height.

Ergonomic Risk Factor (Force)

Physical force required to do wrenching and screwing.

Ergonomic Risk Factor (Posture)

Neck extention and working with arms above shoulder height were required to perform the tasks.

Ergonomic Risk Factor (Repetition)

Repetitive wrenching and screwing were required to perform the tasks.

Ergonomic Solution (Administrative Controls)

  1. An Ergonomic assessment of the task was performed.

Ergonomic Solution (Engineering Controls)

  1. Providing a lift table in order to position small engines and equipment at the optimum point of operation for required services.
  2. Providing cordless electric tools instead of hand tools to reduce the amount of physical force required to do repetitive wrenching and screwing.
  3. Pistol grip and straight handled tools were provided to facilitate use of a power grip and avoidance of raising the shoulders while performing the tasks.
  4. Providing handled pliers and ‘T’ grip allen wrenches to keep the employee’s shoulders relaxed and avoid working in non-neutral postures.

Ergonomic Solution (Benefits)

  • All workers that perform the tasks now have reduced exposure to cervical strain and other types of CTD risk factors.
  • Worker could be released for the job, avoiding additional costs for hiring and training new employees.

Ergonomic Solution (Cost)

Approximate cost of ergonomics solution was about $2,700.

Ergonomic Solution (Method Which Verified Effectiveness)

Worker and Worker’s doctor agreed that the worker could be released for the job.


This case study is an example of how an ergonomics assessment and recommendations can uncover correctable barriers to obtaining a work release.


Caine, P., and Caine, H., 1995, Ergonomics as a Workers’ Compensation Claims Management Tool, Advances in Industrial Ergonomics and Safety VII.