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Ergonomics of household appliance assembly.

Estill CF; MacDonald LA
Proceedings of the 2001 Appliance Manufacturer Conference 2001, October 15-16, 2001, Cincinnati, Ohio, 2001 Oct; :317-330
The household appliance industry is listed by the Bureau of Labor Statistics as the industry group with the 15th highest rate of illness cases for disorders associated with repeated trauma with 213 cases per 10,000 workers. To investigate physical job stressors within this industry and to identify and develop ergonomic solutions to reduce these stressors, NIOSH investigators conducted walk-through surveys at 12 household appliance manufacturing plants. A more detailed investigation of workplace stressors and musculoskeletal disorders was also performed at a single appliance facility, involving blue- and white- collar workers. Participants completed a detailed questionnaire concerning demographics, work history, leisure activities, musculoskeletal symptoms and exposure to physical and physchosocial job stressors. Physical job stressors were also evaluated using observation-based checklists. Using criteria from OSHA's draft 1995 Ergonomic Protection Standard, most blue-collar workers (75%) were found to exceed the proposed threshold for exposure to physical upper extremity stressors. Engineers can aid in the reduction of physical job demands within the appliance industry by implementing ergonomic improvements. Four areas are highlighted in this article that engineers can work on to reduce the physical risk factors present in appliance production jobs: short work cycles, forceful and repetitive pinch grips, working with hands over shoulder height, and manual handling of heavy parts. Additionally some fundamental engineering changes that should be implemented at all appliance facilities are listed.
Ergonomics; Musculoskeletal system disorders; Exposure levels; Physical stress; Surveillance programs; Job stress; Workers; Traumatic injuries; Household workers; Questionnaires; Demographic characteristics; Occupational exposure; Risk factors; Risk analysis
NIOSH, 4676 Columbia Parkway C-24, Cincinnati, OH 45226
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Proceedings of the 2001 Appliance Manufacturer Conference
Page last reviewed: July 9, 2021
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division