Ergonomics- Moving Storage Drums

Task Prior to Abatement (Description)

Ergonomic case study for workers moving storage drums. Workers manually unload newly arrived drums which weigh 50 to 75 pounds a piece.

Task Prior to Abatement (Method Which Identified Hazard)

Increasing medical cases of back, hand, shoulder and other injuries in Dow Corning’s Midland, Michigan plant.

Ergonomic Risk Factor (Force)

Lifting, lowering, and carrying of drums which weigh 50 to 75 pounds is required.

Ergonomic Risk Factor (Posture)

Worker manually unloads newly arrived drums. Information about bending, twisting, etc. is not available.

Ergonomic Solution (Engineering Controls)

Palletized drums are purchased so as to be mechanically movable.

Forklifts and conveyors are used to move the drums.

Large plastic totes that hold as much material as four drums are used to reduce the weight.

Ergonomic Solution (Benefits)

All workers that perform this task now are not exposed to Manual Material handling injuries (back, hand, shoulder, etc.).

Since workers were involved from the beginning and encouraged to offer suggestions, the morale has been improved.

Ergonomic Solution (Method Which Verified Effectiveness)

In 1994 after two years, the plant had no drum handling related sprains or strains.


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