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Ergonomic interventions in the furniture manufacturing industry.
American Industrial Hygiene Conference and Exposition, May 9-15, 1998, Atlanta, Georgia. Fairfax, VA: American Industrial Hygiene Association, 1998 May; :13
Researchers from the University of Cincinnati and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) recently conducted ergonomic evaluation at four upholstery furniture manufacturing plants. The goal of the evaluations was to devise engineering and administrative control strategies to reduce and prevent musculoskeletal disorders associated with furniture manufacturing. While conducting the evaluations it was determined that there were work-related risk factors associated with musculoskeletal disorders of the upper limbs while manually pulling, "shaping," and stapling fabric over padding to the furniture frames. Also, it was determined that there was excess risk for back disorders during manual handling of finished furniture. Manual handling of finished furniture routinely exceeded the 1991 NIOSH recommended weight limit when ergonomic controls were not used. However, it was determined that there were several low-cost ergonomic interventions at the different furniture plants, such as manual jack stands with "quick" clamps to adjust and secure the part at the operator's working height for easy two-hand assembly; pivot tables on conveyor lines to rotate the furniture to the worker to avoid excessive reaches; ergonomically designed paint spray guns to reduce awkward postures during furniture painting; lightweight staple guns to ease shoulder loading while stapling fabric to wood frames; and gravity feed ramps to reduce manual handling of finished furniture. While there were several examples of ergonomic controls at each of the furniture manufacturing plants, many of the controls and applications at each of the plants were different. Sharing of ergonomic controls among plants throughout the furniture industry will help reduce and prevent musculoskeletal injuries and illnesses.
Ergonomics; Injury-prevention; Back-injuries; Musculoskeletal-system-disorders; Manual-lifting; Furniture-manufacture
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, Cincinnati, OH
American Industrial Hygiene Conference and Exposition, May 9-15, 1998, Atlanta, Georgia
Page last reviewed: September 2, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division