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Production Ergonomics: Identifying and managing risk in the design of high performance work systems

Neumann, Patrick LU (2004) 10.
Abstract (Swedish)
Popular Abstract in Swedish

Dålig ergonomi i produktionssystem kan äventyra prestationsförmågan och även orsaka muskuloskeletala besvär (eng. musculoskeletal disorders: MSD). Detta utgör en stor kostnad för samhälle, företag och drabbade individer. Denna avhandling presenterar en forskningsansats att 1) identifiera och kvantifiera arbetsplatsens riskfaktorer för MSDs, 2) identifiera hur dessa risker är relaterade till produktionsstrategier och 3) utveckla ett sätt att integrera ergonomi i ett företags vanliga utvecklingsarbete.



Ett instrument för videoanalys utvecklades för att kvantifiera arbetsställningar. Reliabilitet och indikatorers relation till risk för MSDs testades. Instrumentet hade generellt... (More)
Popular Abstract in Swedish

Dålig ergonomi i produktionssystem kan äventyra prestationsförmågan och även orsaka muskuloskeletala besvär (eng. musculoskeletal disorders: MSD). Detta utgör en stor kostnad för samhälle, företag och drabbade individer. Denna avhandling presenterar en forskningsansats att 1) identifiera och kvantifiera arbetsplatsens riskfaktorer för MSDs, 2) identifiera hur dessa risker är relaterade till produktionsstrategier och 3) utveckla ett sätt att integrera ergonomi i ett företags vanliga utvecklingsarbete.



Ett instrument för videoanalys utvecklades för att kvantifiera arbetsställningar. Reliabilitet och indikatorers relation till risk för MSDs testades. Instrumentet hade generellt sett god till måttlig reliabilitet. Besvär (MSDs) i ryggens nedre del var starkt knutna till bålens arbetsställningar. Risken för MSDs hos operatörer med extrem bålflexion var 4.2 gånger högre än för oexponerade operatörer. För operatörer med hög flexionshastighet var risken 2.5 gång högre. (Artikel 1)



Produktivitet och ergonomiskt utfall studerades inom två svenska monteringsindustrier för elektronik respektiv dieselmotorer. Kvantitativa och kvalitativa metoder användes före och efter förändringar av produktionssystemen. Första studien (elektronikmontering) visade hur automation kan öka produktionsvolymen samtidigt som repetitivt och monotont arbete elimineras. Automatisering av transportfunktionen till seriellt flöde resulterade emellertid i ökat repetitivt arbete vid resterande monteringsstationer. Trots försök till ergonomiskt utformade arbetsstationer i designprocessen ökade belastningen på skuldrorna med 14 %. (Artikel 2)



I andra studien (motormontering), jämfördes produktionsstrategierna dock- och linjemontering. Linjen visade på system-, balans- och störningsrelaterade förluster, resulterande i påtvingad väntan hos operatörerna. Emellertid klarade linjesystemet delvis av de produktionsbarriärer som fanns i docksystemet. Vidare linjesystemet visade ökad repetitivitet med cykeltider som bara var 6% av docksystemet. Dessutom varierade rent fysiska arbetsuppgifter på linjesystemet mycket, exempelvis mutterdragning. På psykosocial nivå upplevde operatörna en minskning av inflytande över arbetet. Sammantaget pekar dessa faktorer på ökad MSD-risk jämfort med docksystemet. Dock ökade arbetsgemenskapen i linjesystemet, som hade en team-baserad arbetsorganisation, vilket är en ergonomisk fördel. (Artikel 3)



I syfte att integrera ergonomi i det vardagliga utvecklingsarbetet initierades ett aktionsforskningsprojekt på fabriken för motormontering. Förändringsprocessen var i början långsam och kännetecknades av bakslag, orsakade både av individuella faktorer (ointresse, byte av arbete, sjukdomar, osv) och organisatoriska faktorer såsom kommunikationsbarriärer mellan grupper och korta tidsfrister i projektet. Detta begränsade införlivandet av nya arbetssätt. Trots dessa bakslag lyckades produktionsledaren, agerande som en “politiskt reflektiv navigatör”, etablera trovärdighet, övervinna motstånd och påbörja en integrering av ergonomi i vardagliga utvecklingsprocesser. Processen var långsam och känslig även då projektet avslutades, därför att ledaren fortfarande var ensam om att navigera. (Artikel 4)



Avhandlingen konkluderar att arbetsplatsrelaterade riskfaktorer kan kvantifieras precist och tillförlitligt. Dessa risker är inbyggda i de strategiska valen i designprocessen. Belastningens storlek påverkades av utformningen av arbetsstationen och materialförsörjningssystemet. Tidsaspekter av belastning påverkades av systemflödesstrategien och arbetsorganisationen. Psykosociala riskfaktorer visade sig vara kopplade till en kombination av ovan nämnda element i systemutformningen. För att förebygga MSD-risker måste man ta hänsyn till ergonomi i hela designprocessen – tidigast besluten är ofta de viktigast. Integrering av ergonomi i tidiga utvecklingsfaser innebär förändrade roller för grupper och individer i organisationen som normalt inte uppfattar sig som ”ergonomer”. Utveckling av dessa roller är viktig för skapandet av hållbara produktionssystem. (Less)
Abstract
Poor ergonomics in production systems can compromise performance and cause musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs), which pose a huge cost to society, companies, and afflicted individuals. This thesis presents a research trajectory through the problem space by: 1) Identifying and quantifying workplace risk factors for MSDs, 2) Identifying how these risks may relate to production strategies, and 3) Developing an approach to integrating ergonomics into a companies’ regular development work.



A video analysis tool for quantifying postures while working was developed. The tools’ reliability, accuracy, and ability to identify risks for MSD were evaluated. The tool had generally good accuracy and good to moderate reliability. Low back... (More)
Poor ergonomics in production systems can compromise performance and cause musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs), which pose a huge cost to society, companies, and afflicted individuals. This thesis presents a research trajectory through the problem space by: 1) Identifying and quantifying workplace risk factors for MSDs, 2) Identifying how these risks may relate to production strategies, and 3) Developing an approach to integrating ergonomics into a companies’ regular development work.



A video analysis tool for quantifying postures while working was developed. The tools’ reliability, accuracy, and ability to identify risks for MSD were evaluated. The tool had generally good accuracy and good to moderate reliability. Low back MSDs were strongly associated with working trunk postures. Operators with high exposure to peak flexion level had 4.2 times higher MSD risk than unexposed operators. Similarly high peak extension velocity increased risk by 2.9 times. (Paper 1)



Two pre-post case studies using multiple mixed methods were conducted to examine how production strategies can affect productivity and ergonomics outcomes. The case of electronics assembly, showed how automation can increase output while eliminating repetitive monotonous work. Automation to serial flow, however, resulted in increased repetitiveness at remaining assembly stations. Despite ergonomic workstation design efforts, shoulder loading increased 14%. (Paper 2)



The case of engine assembly compared cellular and line production strategies. The line demonstrated system, balance, and disturbance related losses resulting in forced operator waiting. Nevertheless, the line overcame productivity barriers in the operation of the cellular system. The line system showed increased repetitiveness with cycle times that were 6% of previous, uneven distributions of physical tasks such as nut running, and reductions in influence over work scales all implying increased risk. Teamwork in the line system contributed to significantly increased co-worker support – an ergonomic benefit. (Paper 3)



An action research project was initiated, with the same engine manufacturer, to integrate ergonomics into regular development work. The change process was slow and marked by setbacks, caused by both individual factors (e.g. disinterest, changing jobs, illness), and organisational factors such as inter-group communication barriers and short project timelines that limited uptake of new approaches. Despite these setbacks the resolute production manager, acting as a “political reflective navigator”, was able to establish credibility, overcome resistance, and begin to integrate ergonomics into regular developmental processes. The process remains slow and is vulnerable so long as the manager is navigating alone. (Paper 4)



Workplace risk factors could be precisely and accurately quantified. These risks are embedded in strategic choices in the design process. Load amplitudes were determined by workstation layout and the material supply sub-system. Risk related to the pattern and duration of loading were determined more by flow and work organisation elements. Psychosocial risk factors appear to be affected by a combination of system design elements. Managing the emergence of these risks proactively requires attention to ergonomics throughout the design process, especially in strategic choices. Integrating ergonomics into early development stages implies changing roles for groups and individuals in the organisation. This approach appears feasible but is difficult and remains an under-utilised strategy for sustainable competitive advantage. (Less)
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
opponent
  • Dr Dul, Jan, Professor Ergonomics Management, Erasmus University, the Netherlands.
organization
publishing date
type
Thesis
publication status
published
subject
keywords
reumatologi, Organizational science, Organisationsteori, Production technology, Produktionsteknik, muskelsystem, Skelett, rheumatology locomotion, muscle system, Skeleton, Risk Assessment, Manufacturing, Musculoskeletal disorders, Human Factors, Organisational Development, Production System Design, Strategy
volume
10
pages
159 pages
publisher
W.P. Neumann (Box 8850, SE-402 72 Göteborg, Sweden), OR www.lub.se , OR www.arbetslivsinstitutet.se/biblioteket,
defense location
Ingvar Kamprad Design Center (stora hörsalen), Lunds Tekniska Högskola
defense date
2002-11-22 10:15
ISSN
1650-9773
ISBN
91-628-6287-1
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
bd10d488-5643-4df7-922c-30c136df11a9 (old id 467518)
date added to LUP
2007-09-10 13:14:58
date last changed
2016-09-19 08:44:59
@phdthesis{bd10d488-5643-4df7-922c-30c136df11a9,
  abstract     = {Poor ergonomics in production systems can compromise performance and cause musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs), which pose a huge cost to society, companies, and afflicted individuals. This thesis presents a research trajectory through the problem space by: 1) Identifying and quantifying workplace risk factors for MSDs, 2) Identifying how these risks may relate to production strategies, and 3) Developing an approach to integrating ergonomics into a companies’ regular development work.<br/><br>
<br/><br>
A video analysis tool for quantifying postures while working was developed. The tools’ reliability, accuracy, and ability to identify risks for MSD were evaluated. The tool had generally good accuracy and good to moderate reliability. Low back MSDs were strongly associated with working trunk postures. Operators with high exposure to peak flexion level had 4.2 times higher MSD risk than unexposed operators. Similarly high peak extension velocity increased risk by 2.9 times. (Paper 1)<br/><br>
<br/><br>
Two pre-post case studies using multiple mixed methods were conducted to examine how production strategies can affect productivity and ergonomics outcomes. The case of electronics assembly, showed how automation can increase output while eliminating repetitive monotonous work. Automation to serial flow, however, resulted in increased repetitiveness at remaining assembly stations. Despite ergonomic workstation design efforts, shoulder loading increased 14%. (Paper 2)<br/><br>
<br/><br>
The case of engine assembly compared cellular and line production strategies. The line demonstrated system, balance, and disturbance related losses resulting in forced operator waiting. Nevertheless, the line overcame productivity barriers in the operation of the cellular system. The line system showed increased repetitiveness with cycle times that were 6% of previous, uneven distributions of physical tasks such as nut running, and reductions in influence over work scales all implying increased risk. Teamwork in the line system contributed to significantly increased co-worker support – an ergonomic benefit. (Paper 3)<br/><br>
<br/><br>
An action research project was initiated, with the same engine manufacturer, to integrate ergonomics into regular development work. The change process was slow and marked by setbacks, caused by both individual factors (e.g. disinterest, changing jobs, illness), and organisational factors such as inter-group communication barriers and short project timelines that limited uptake of new approaches. Despite these setbacks the resolute production manager, acting as a “political reflective navigator”, was able to establish credibility, overcome resistance, and begin to integrate ergonomics into regular developmental processes. The process remains slow and is vulnerable so long as the manager is navigating alone. (Paper 4)<br/><br>
<br/><br>
Workplace risk factors could be precisely and accurately quantified. These risks are embedded in strategic choices in the design process. Load amplitudes were determined by workstation layout and the material supply sub-system. Risk related to the pattern and duration of loading were determined more by flow and work organisation elements. Psychosocial risk factors appear to be affected by a combination of system design elements. Managing the emergence of these risks proactively requires attention to ergonomics throughout the design process, especially in strategic choices. Integrating ergonomics into early development stages implies changing roles for groups and individuals in the organisation. This approach appears feasible but is difficult and remains an under-utilised strategy for sustainable competitive advantage.},
  author       = {Neumann, Patrick},
  isbn         = {91-628-6287-1},
  issn         = {1650-9773},
  keyword      = {reumatologi,Organizational science,Organisationsteori,Production technology,Produktionsteknik,muskelsystem,Skelett,rheumatology locomotion,muscle system,Skeleton,Risk Assessment,Manufacturing,Musculoskeletal disorders,Human Factors,Organisational Development,Production System Design,Strategy},
  language     = {eng},
  pages        = {159},
  publisher    = {W.P. Neumann (Box 8850, SE-402 72 Göteborg, Sweden), OR www.lub.se , OR www.arbetslivsinstitutet.se/biblioteket,},
  school       = {Lund University},
  title        = {Production Ergonomics: Identifying and managing risk in the design of high performance work systems},
  volume       = {10},
  year         = {2004},
}