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Ergonomic solutions for the appliance industry.

Estill CF; McGlothlin JD
Proceedings of the 1997 Appliance Manufacturer Conference and Expo Conference, September 15-17 1997, Nashville, Tennessee. 1997 Sep; :211-221
Site visits at 11 appliance manufacturing facilities in order to observe job related ergonomic risk factors for musculoskeletal disorders and engineering controls in use that effectively reduce worker exposure. The 11 facilities averaged about 45% female employees. However, the maintenance, fabrication, welding and paint departments were staffed predominantly by men while assembly operations had a greater proportion of women. Packaging, wiring, and use of hand tools in assembly were operations in which engineering controls existed to reduce or eliminate risk factors for cumulative trauma disorders. There were effective engineering controls for easier packaging, wiring, and assembly tasks. These controls were not cost prohibitive, particularly when factoring in the cost of cumulative trauma disorders. Solutions in the packaging department included eliminating the carrying of empty boxes and placing them instead in a stack next to the conveyor line. Work height was adjusted so that a worker no longer had to lift the empty box above his head prior to placing it over a large appliance. The use of a lift table and preformed cardboard corner protectors were also helpful. In wiring operations the use of low insertion force terminals, pneumatic hand tools, ergonomically designed manual terminal insertion tools, properly designed pliers, and correct working heights helped ease the ergonomic difficulties. In the use of hand tools emphasis was placed on using air on top tools, fastener head design, pneumatic tool for hose clamps, proper handle selection, push force triggers, and tool balancers.
Assembly-line-workers; Musculoskeletal-system-disorders; Posture; Hand-tools; Power-tools; Ergonomics; Risk-factors; Control-technology; Cumulative-trauma-disorders
Publication Date
Document Type
Conference/Symposia Proceedings
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NIOSH Division
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Proceedings of the 1997 Appliance Manufacturer Conference and Expo Conference, September 15-17 1997, Nashville, Tennessee
Page last reviewed: March 4, 2022
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division