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Assessment strategies for ergonomic risk factors in automotive manufacturing.

Paquet-V; Prabhu-H
2003 State-of-the-Art Research (STAR) Symposium: Perspective on Musculoskeletal Disorder Causation and Control, Columbus, Ohio, May 21 -22, 2003. Columbus, OH: The Ohio State University, 2003 May; :1
Most methods for evaluating occupational risk factors for musculoskeletal disorders in practice and in research assume that the work is cyclical, having little variability over time, and therefore exposures over short periods are thought to be indicative of those over long periods. This is often not a valid assumption as the physical demands of even highly routine assembly jobs may change, for example, with delays in the industrial process and changes in individual, work methods. Poorly designed sampling strategies can lead to errors in the assessment of exposure required in ergonomics research and practice. The objective of this study was to evaluate the sources of ergonomic exposure variability and develop appropriate job assessment strategies for reduction and skilled trades work in automobile manufacturing. It was hypothesized that the within occupation sources of exposure variability would vary considerably across occupations and therefore different strategies would be needed to evaluate exposures reliably for each occupation. This research quantifies the sources of variance for ergonomic risk factors in typical automotive manufacturing jobs. Based on the findings, appears that even for some cyclic jobs, there may sometimes be significant exposure variability across workers. and over time. Additionally, the categories of exposure and types of exposure data recorded will affect the variability of exposure across workers and over time, ultimately affecting the required sampling strategy. Current strategies of exposure assessment based on a single observation period may not result in a judicious estimate of the exposures associated with a job. Repeated measurements of exposure over time and/or across workers may be needed to obtain a reliable estimate of exposure even for cyclic repetitive self paced jobs such as those studied here. Such measurement strategies are clearly needed to provide reliable estimates of many exposures in millwrights skilled trades work.
Statistical-analysis; Human-factors-engineering; Musculoskeletal-system; Musculoskeletal-system-disorders; Muscular-disorders; Ergonomics; Materials-handling; Work-operations; Work-practices; Injury-prevention; Injuries; Repetitive-work; Cumulative-trauma; Cumulative-trauma-disorders
Department of Industrial Engineering, Univeristy at Buffalo, State University of New York, Buffalo, New York 14260
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2003 State-of-the-Art Research (STAR) Symposium: Perspective on Musculoskeletal Disorder Causation and Control, Columbus, Ohio, May 21 -22, 2003
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State University of New York, Buffalo