Posts from Tom Albin

New Methods for Assessing Risks Needed in Industrial Ergonomics

New Methods for Assessing Risks Needed in Industrial Ergonomics

Identifying musculoskeletal injury risk factors associated with MMH is an important component of any industrial ergonomics program that targets the reduction of workplace injuries. MMH tasks are often compound tasks or aggregates of several different tasks. For example, an MMH task might consist of loading boxes onto a cart, pushing the cart to a first location, maneuvering the cart around corners, unloading a few boxes, pushing the cart to a second location, and unloading or loading boxes there. Compound MMH patterns of this type are routinely seen in industrial workplaces. Currently, separate tools are used to individually evaluate each simple component of MMH tasks, such as each instance of lifting, carrying, pushing, and pulling. Applying the tools to a compound task yields several separate risk assessments, e.g. one for the lifting component and another for the pushing component. How should the combination of these individual analyses be evaluated to estimate the risk of injury for the compound task which includes multiple tasks, e.g. both lifting and pushing?
Industrial Ergonomics: Best Practices for Cart Management

Industrial Ergonomics: Best Practices for Cart Management

Manual material handling using carts is a prime example of an occupational push and pull task. Managing the risk associated with pushing, pulling and maneuvering carts in the workplace is a critical component of an industrial ergonomics program. As most facilities or organizations have fleets of carts, a systematic approach is useful in managing and reducing the risks associated with cart handling. While such a system will vary to suit the idiosyncrasies of different operations, there are some common components to these ergonomics cart management programs. So, what are some best practices for cart ergonomics?
Industrial Ergonomics Regulations around the World

Industrial Ergonomics Regulations around the World

By Tom Albin | Workplace Ergonomics | December 12th, 2017 | Comments (0)
Understanding manual material handling and cart ergonomics standards everywhere is the key to minimizing risk of injury. Injuries related to manual materials handling (MMH) tasks are a major concern in industrial ergonomics. 3 out of every 4 individuals whose jobs include MMH tasks suffer pain due to back injury at some time, accounting for about 1/3 of all lost work and more than 1/3 of all compensation costs. In addition, there are major productivity losses associated with back injuries. Pushing and pulling tasks can be a major contributor to back injury in MMH tasks. So, what is a safe level of push/pull force?
How Reliable is Your Measurement of Forces to Maneuver Carts?

How Reliable is Your Measurement of Forces to Maneuver Carts?

By Tom Albin | Workplace Ergonomics | November 21st, 2017 | Comments (0)
Effective management of manual cart handling ergonomic programs relies on measuring the forces required to move carts manually. Forces that exceed acceptable levels are more likely to result in injury and may also adversely affect productivity. An accurate, reliable measurement of the force required to manually move carts is essential for the effective use of the Liberty Mutual Tables or any other tools that evaluate the acceptable level of the forces required to move carts. But, how reliable is your measurement of the forces exerted to maneuver carts in your facilities?
Aviation Ergonomics: The Ups and Downs of Manual Cart Handling in the Airline Industry

Aviation Ergonomics: The Ups and Downs of Manual Cart Handling in the Airline Industry

By Tom Albin | Workplace Ergonomics | October 17th, 2017 | Comments (0)
Aircraft manufacturers need to consider the risk of injury in manual material handling tasks. Wheels move all types of things in all types of places. There are some unique situations involving manually handling wheeled objects in aviation, both in manufacturing and in the operation of commercial aircraft. There are risks of overexertion injuries resulting from pushing and pulling when the tasks are not well designed, controlled and managed.
Proactive Ergonomics and Cart Handling in the Automotive Industry

Proactive Ergonomics and Cart Handling in the Automotive Industry

The automotive industry has a long and successful history of employing manual material handling ergonomics programs to reduce the likelihood of musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) and utilizing proactive ergonomics as a tool for improving both operational efficiencies and product quality. Find out more about proactive ergonomic best practices in implementing new or retrofit industrial ergonomics programs in the automotive industry.
Safe Operating Envelope

Safe Operating Envelope

Just as there are safe operating envelopes for aircraft, there are safe operating envelopes for pushing and pulling carts. Just as for aircraft, the strength and endurance capabilities of the human operator play an important role in determining the safe operating envelopes for carts. Operating forces that stress the operator beyond their limits are outside the safe operating envelope. Consequently, measuring the forces exerted by the cart operator and comparing those forces to known operator limits is the basis for determining a safe operating envelope.
Maintaining Carts for Optimal Push/Pull Forces

Maintaining Carts for Optimal Push/Pull Forces

In North America, limiting the risk of injury while handling carts is commonly done by keeping the operating forces at or below a reference force limit. For example, starting a cart moving shouldn’t require a force more than about 220 newtons (or 50 pounds of force). A good, systematic approach to managing the safety of pushing and pulling carts must ensure that the operating force is within the recommended limits to begin with and then remains there throughout the cart’s working life. Consequently, a manual cart safety program must do more than an initial test of cart operating forces or documenting a purchasing specification for cart push pull forces. Routinely testing carts to ensure that the operating forces are maintained within safe limits is an essential part of managing cart safety. Not to do so means that an operators’ risk exposure is unknown and uncontrolled.

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