From The Ergoweb® Learning Center

Ergonomics- Transmission Assembly Operation


CTD News, January 1996, vol. 5, No. 1, Ford Best Practices, CTD News.

Task Prior to Abatement (Description)

Workers had to carry a 35-pound clutch about 10 steps to the assembly line and insert it into transmission housing.

Task Prior to Abatement (Method Which Identified Hazard)

Medical cases of workplace CTDs in Ford Transmission Assembly plants.

Ergonomic Risk Factor (Force)

Lifting and carrying 35-pound clutch was required to perform the task.

Ergonomic Risk Factor (Posture)

Excessive reaching, bending and turning were needed to perform the task.

Ergonomic Solution (Administrative Controls)

Providing training for ergonomics committee.

Ergonomic Solution (Engineering Controls)

A portable workstation on wheels was developed to carry all the transmission parts.

Machine tools were designed to allow easy access to metal cutting blades.

Articulating arms were added to eliminate exposure to extended reaches and back and shoulder stress.

A roller conveyor system was installed to bring the parts closer to the operators.

Plastic part kits were used to reduce excessive reaching, bending and turning in the assembly process.

The assembly line was raised about nine inches to make the assembly process more comfortable.

A composite floor of recycled tires was installed to provide cushion and relieve strain and stress on the back.

Ergonomic Solution (Benefits)

The cost for ergonomics intervention has been reduced.

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

Ergonomic Solution (Cost)

Information about this specific case is not available. However, Ford has spent about $35 million in ergonomics interventions in 60 manufacturing and assembly plants since 1990.

Ergonomic Solution (Method Which Verified Effectiveness)

To date, there have been no ergonomics-related injuries.


Ford’s accomplishments are attributed to the partnership between management, labor, and a local ergonomics committee.