Human factors related to the operation of punch presses were investigated at 32 pressworking places for presses less than 630 kilonewton press capacity. Investigations indicated that mechanical presses were not designed using ergonomic principles, and prevented proper posture by not allowing for adequate leg room beneath the press. As a consequence of this design flaw, punch press operators had to sit away from the machine and lean forward to reach the tool, resulting in improper back bending with straight arms. Proper vision of the tool was often hampered by safety guards, tool parts, poor lighting and reflective surfaces. Ergonomic principles suggest that punch press work should not be performed above elbow height. In the performance of their work, punch press operators preferred a correct seeing distance and working height over good posture. Hand tools designed to increase reach into the operation area were poorly designed and simply transferred punch press operation problems from shoulder muscles to muscles of the lower arms and fingers. The author concludes that the application of ergonomic principles should be required for the design of punch presses to allow for greater worker comfort during press operation.
Symposium on Occupational Safety Research and Education, Division of Safety Research and Division of Training and Manpower Development, NIOSH, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, DHHS (NIOSH) Publication No. 82-103
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