Brandon, K., June 1992, Ergonomics at UAW-Ford, Occupational Health & Safety.
Task Prior to Abatement (Description)
One of the tasks in Ford Co.’s North Penn electronics facility in Landsdale, Pa was to attach a U-shaped hose to a mechanical speed-control unit named ” servo unit ” in the U – Hose assembly plant. The unit was a thick disk which weighed just a couple of pounds. Although it was not heavy, it required to use of high pressure in order to force the hose onto the device. Performing the task was beyound the capability of the female workforce, which represented about 60 percent of the plant’s employees. The male workforce also complained of injuries.
Task Prior to Abatement (Method Which Identified Hazard)
A dozen medical cases of cumulative trauma disorder arm and shoulder pain in one year in the U-hose assembly at the Ford Co.’s North Penn Electronics Facility in Landsdale, PA.
Closing the entire section of the assembly operation with 100 workers for two days because of the gob severity and injuries.
Ergonomic Risk Factor (Force)
High and constant pressure needed to force the hose onto the device.
Ergonomic Solution (Engineering Controls)
A pneumatic press was designed to hold the device and seat the hose.
Ergonomic Solution (Benefits)
All workers that perform this task now have reduced exposure to various forms of cumulative trauma disorders.
Employee response to the modification has been extremely positive and they can perform the task with less risk of injuries.
Ergonomic Solution (Method Which Verified Effectiveness)
No medical cases were reported.
The case is an indication of Ford’s attempts to make ergonomics an effort that not only could trickle down from top management to workers, but also percolates up from workers to management.