Cincinnati, OH: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, HETA 2012-0121-3225, 2014 Sep; :1-11
The Health Hazard Evaluation Program received a request from managers at a label manufacturing facility. The employer was concerned about the potential for musculoskeletal disorders among employees working in the film and paper finishing departments. These employees received large film and adhesive rolls, which they joined through a fully automated system, and then cut the resulting product to size as specified by the purchaser. Finished rolls were transferred from a horizontal conveyor onto a wooden pallet for shipping. In May 2012, we looked at job tasks to find risk factors for work-related musculoskeletal disorders, and spoke with a sample of employees about work, medical history, health symptoms, and health and safety concerns. Our observations indicate that workstations at this facility were not designed so that most people could safely perform job tasks. Employees were working in awkward postures that put them at risk for developing work-related musculoskeletal disorders. Specifically, hand working heights were too low or too high, reach distances were too long, and employees had to continually bend at the waist. Employee reports of back pain were consistent with the ergonomic findings. Lack of a formal training program on job tasks resulted in a workforce that had inconsistent knowledge of how to do its job safely. Some employees were required to work long hours, which put them at an increased risk of injury because of lack of adequate recovery time. To reduce the potential for musculoskeletal disorders, we recommended the employer (1) design work areas to have a working height of 27 to 62 inches, (2) provide adjustable height work tables, (3) educate employees about musculoskeletal disorders and ergonomic hazards, (4) reduce mandatory overtime hours, (5) implement a training program to show all new employees how to do their job tasks safely, and (6) cross-train employees for multiple job tasks to increase the number of employees who can cover additional shifts. We recommended employees use a pallet lift, two-person lifting, or sliding techniques when handling pallets, avoid working below the knees and above the shoulders or reaching across pallets or conveyor belts, take part in safety and ergonomic committees, and report symptoms and injuries to supervisors and medical staff as soon as they happen.
Region-3; Health-hazards; Musculoskeletal-system-disorders; Ergonomics; Industrial-processes; Industrial-factory-workers; Paper-manufacturing-industry; Management-personnel; Risk-analysis; Health-surveys; Task-performance; Work-analysis; Work-intervals; Equipment-design; Human-factors-engineering; Height-factors; Back-injuries; Posture; Manual-lifting; Manual-materials-handling; Training; Safety-education; Safety-monitoring; Injury-prevention;
Author Keywords: Paper Bag and Coated and Treated Paper Manufacturing; Pennsylvania; ergonomics; upender; label manufacturing; musculoskeletal disorders