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York University
Human Resources Management
HRM 3400

Occupational Health & Safety Management HRM 3400 – Winter 2012 – Anna Blake Lecture 4 – Ergonomics – Jan 30 What is Ergonomics? - Derived from Greek word ergos meaning ‘work’ and nomos meaning ‘natural laws of’ or ‘study of’. - The science of work. - The study of the mental and physical capabilities of persons in relation to the demands make upon them by various kinds of work. - The study of how individuals interact with their work. - The practice of ergonomics removes the barriers to quality, productivity and safe performance by fitting products, tasks, and environment to people. Purpose and Goals of Ergonomics - Occupational injury and illness reduction. - Workers’ compensation costs containment. - Productivity improvements. - Work quality improvements. - Absenteeism reduction. - Government regulation compliance. Methods by Which These Goals Are Accomplished - Evaluate and control of work site risk factors. - Identification and quantification of existing work site risk conditions. - Recommendation of controls to reduce identified risk conditions. - Education of management and workers to risk conditions. The Musculoskeletal System - Refers to the bones, joints, muscles and connective a tissue that provides the ‘body framework’ that allows the human body to move. Musculoskeletal Injuries - Are referred to by various names o Wear and tear injuries. o Occupational overuse injuries. o Repetitive strain injuries (RSI) o Cumulative trauma disorders (CTS) - Terms used for injuries that occur over a period because of repeated trauma or exposure to a specific body part, such as back, hand, wrist, forearm. - Muscles and joints are stressed, tendons are inflamed, nerves pinched or the flow of blood restricted. Types of Musculoskeletal Injuries - Carpal tunnel syndrome. - Tenosynovitis - Epicondylitis (tennis elbow) - Low back pain – herniated disc - Bursitis - Tendonitis - DeQuervian’s syndrome Primary Risk Factors - Those factors that have the potential to cause repetitive strain injuries due to physical stresses. - Amount of physical stressors is determined by three factors: o Posture  Refers to the position a worker assumes to do a task.  Ideal position is a neutral posture. • Straight spine and arms hanging loosely at sides. • Relaxed shoulders. • Elbows close to body. • Straight wrist.  Two types of postures are used to do work • Static • Dynamic  Awkward postures • Those that deviate from the neutral position and can lead to injury. • The more a joint deviates from the natural position the greater the risk of injury. • Work methods o Bending and twisting to pick up a box. o Bending the wrist to assemble a part. • Workplace dimensions o Extended reach to obtain a part from a bin at a high position. o Kneeling in the storage bay of an airplane (confined space)  Specific postures associated with injury • Wrist o Flexion/extension (bending up and down) o Ulnar/radial deviation • Shoulder o Abduction/flexion (upper arm positioned out to side or above shoulder level) o Hands at or above shoulder height. • Neck (cervical spine) o Flexion/extension o Side bending (telephone to receiver) • Low back o Bending at the wrist o twisting o Muscular force  Refers to the amount of muscular effort that is required to perform a task.  Modified by other work risks: • The type of posture • Type of work (dynamic or static) • Acceleration/velocity • Repetition/duration of work  Contributing workplace conditions • Weight of hand tools • Type of grip that must be used and relationship to worker’s hand size. • Contact trauma • Wearing of PPE (e.g. gloves) o Repetitive movements  Work that is performed over and over again without providing an opportunity for the muscles to rest.  The greater the number of repetitions the greater the risk.  The time quantification of a similar exertion performed during a task. • E.g. assembly worker may produce 20 unites/hour. Warehouse worker may lift 3 boxes/min.  The degree of injury risk is modified by other risk factors such as force, posture, duration and recovery time.  Duration • The time quantification of exposure to a risk factor. • Minutes or hours per day the employee is exposed to a risk.  Recovery time • Time quantification of rest between repetitions. Workplace Components (Secondary Risk Factors) - Work organization o Lack of work variation where workers are performing limited number of tasks which are repetitive. - Work environment o Vibration and cold temperatures can reduce blood flow to muscles causing them to tire more easily. o Poor lighting and glare can force workers to adopt awkward positions. - Tools and equipment o Causes soft tissue pressure reducing blood flow to muscles.  E.g. finger regularly presses trigger. o PPE e.g. gloves require excessive muscular force to grasp i
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