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Participatory ergonomics in a red meat packing plant. Part II: case studies.

Moore JS; Garg A
Am Ind Hyg Assoc J 1997 Jul; 58(7):498-508
The problem solving methods employed by two participatory ergonomics teams in the Kill and Cut Departments of a red meat packer were examined. The phases of the problem solving process included problem identification and evaluation and solution development, implementation, and evaluation. Based on videotape observations, the workers engaged in 18 hard exertions per minute during the pulling leaf lard task. The strain index (SI) score indicated that the workers were at risk of distal upper extremity disorders. Based on the team's recommendations, two leaf lard starters were installed. The leaf lard starters appeared to reduce the biomechanical stresses on the worker without complications. During the snatching guts job, the workers engaged in 4.5 exertions per minute. For the hand that held the knife, the exertions were constant and light, while for the hand that grabbed the guts, the exertions were brief and very hard. The SI scores indicated that both hands were at risk of distal upper extremity disorders. The team advised the division of the gut snatching job into three separate cutting tasks, which would allow the viscera to fall passively from the carcass onto a conveyer belt. During a simulation of the renovation, the biomechanical stresses on the workers were attenuated. The pulling ribs job was also assessed by the ergonomics teams. The workers engaged in 26 somewhat hard exertions per minute. Hand and wrist postures were rated as bad. The SI score revealed that the workers were at risk of distal upper extremity disorders. Based on the team's assessment, layout and work practice changes were planned. The knife handle was redesigned, tested, and found to need further modification. The authors conclude that participatory ergonomics teams that employ structured problem solving methods work effectively toward the improvement of musculoskeletal hazards in the workplace.
NIOSH-Publication; NIOSH-Cooperative-Agreement; Ergonomics; Meat-handlers; Task-performance; Meat-packing-industry; Equipment-design; Workplace-studies; Body-mechanics; Physical-stress; Work-practices
Publication Date
Document Type
Journal Article
Funding Type
Cooperative Agreement
Fiscal Year
Identifying No.
Issue of Publication
Source Name
American Industrial Hygiene Association Journal
Performing Organization
Medical College of Wisconsin
Page last reviewed: September 2, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division