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Preliminary Analysis for Developing a Simulation of the Man-Machine System Associated with Foot-Controlled Machines in Highly Repetitive Tasks.

Trump-TR; Etherton-JR
Proceedings of the Human Factors Society, 27th Annual Meeting, 1983 1983:710-713
Foot controls and their role in industrial accidents were discussed. The types of foot controls used on industrial machinery were reviewed. The three most widely used types of foot controls are foot switches, foot pedals, and treadles. These are used on mechanical power presses, resistance welders, press brakes, sheet metal shears, and riveting machines. Studies on the contribution of foot controls to industrial accidents were reviewed. These have shown that 48.5 to 97 percent of the injuries caused by metal working machines or power presses involved foot control mechanisms. The major cause of these accidents was inadvertent activation of the controls. Factors leading to inadvertent activation of foot controls were discussed. The most important factors are unmediated hand movements and out of sequence foot control movements. The psychological aspects of repetitive work and their relation to industrial accidents were considered. Highly repetitive or monotonous work can result in the worker shifting his attention away from the task. This can result in performance decrements occurring 20 minutes to 1.5 hours after beginning the task. This lack of attention could explain why machinery operators sometimes step on the foot control out of sequence with unmediated hand movements. The authors conclude that the high incidence of industrial accidents is due to inadvertently activating the foot controls of industrial machines. Inadvertent activation results primarily from out of sequence foot control movements and unmediated hand movements. The authors note that further research is being conducting in order to determine more specifically the underlying causes of these accidents.
Ergonomics; Occupational-accidents; Industrial-safety; Accident-analysis; Repetitive-work; Psychological-factors; Accident-statistics;
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Proceedings of the Human Factors Society, 27th Annual Meeting, 1983