Assignment Instructions – Industrial Ergonomics Unit III
Amy, who works as a cashier in a big-box store, works 8-hour shifts but is often asked to work overtime for up to 4 hours. Amy is now experiencing knee, hip, and lower back pain after working. You have been asked to assemble a team to address the ergonomics issues Amy is facing and to explain a possible solution. Your assignment should meet the following criteria:
- Identify and explain the different roles within the team (you may use bullets for this section).
- Explain how the ergonomics team can work together to help Amy with her current workstation. Include a possible suggestion to improve Amy’s workstation as part of your discussion.
- Explain why it is important for the ergonomics team to implement a plan that considers potential discrimination or disability issues for other employees.
Sample Answer – Addressing Amy’s Ergonomics Issues – Knee, Hip, and Lower Back Pain After Working
To resolve ergonomic issues effectively organizations need to establish ergonomic team which is comprised of workers and personnel from the safety department. An effective ergonomic team should have a cross section of workers representative from different areas or department and levels of staff in the company. Workers are included in this team since they have direct contact with the work stations, and hence they can easily identify ergonomic issues they experience working in these stations. This paper focuses on defining an ergonomic team to assist in resolving Amy issue.
Role of the Team
The main purpose of developing the ergonomic team in this case will be to assess Amy situation. In this regard, the ergonomic team’s role will include;
- Assessing Amy work station to identify structural or design aspects that would cause ergonomic issues
- Assessing how Amy works in terms of time taken to work, to rest, change of position and how this may contribute to ergonomic issues that Amy is experiencing
- Assessing the work policies and rules for the cashiers and how they contribute to ergonomic issues
- Evaluating chances for changes which can be imposed in this work position to eliminate the development of ergonomic issues
- Defining the best design, working mode, and policy changes to enhance ergonomic work environment
- Implement the proposed design changes to create an ergonomic work environment for Amy or any other employee who will work in that position.
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Working to Improve Amy Current Work Station
Ergonomic team will work with Amy to determine the main ergonomic issues Amy experience in the area. It will also use its expertise to identify the main design aspects that could have resulted to the current health issues that Amy is experiencing. The team should assess the standing ground, the working plane, the weight of lifted items and the regularities of breaks and rest time. The teamwill also assess the viability of a person working for 8-12 hours without any significant break in the area. With this information, the team will define any possible measures that should be employed. The measures should be individual based such that Amy physical appearance should be considered while making the workstation design change.
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Measurements on Amy’s height, sitting height, hip breadth, lower leg length, seat depth, and shoulder breadth among other measures and match then with her sitting and standing work station to ensure that she is comfortable. Some of the changes include raising the standing surface based on her height, provision of foot rest, provision of ergonomic sitting position that matches her body and request for short sitting breaks. Other measure would include provision of portable bar code reader to scan heavy objects rather than lifting them to a fixed bar code. The team should also advocate for change of shift. Standing for 8 hours could be very demanding. To ease this, the department should define a shift schedule where Amy can change position and another person with a different exercise; sitting task takes over (International Labor Organization, n.d.).
Importance of Implementing a Plan that Consider Potential Discrimination or Disability issues of Other Workers
Ergonomic design should be done based on the specific physical appearance of the person working in that particular station. The physical requirement of a workstation for a short person will not fit for a tall person and similarly, a person who is huge may find it hard to fit in a work station designed for a slim person. In this regard, a workstation should be designed with the user in mind. However, to make the plan useful to all in instances of change of the user, the designer should consider the fact that people are not the same physically and hence, enhance adjustment measures (Khan& Pope-Ford, 2015). An ergonomic workstation should thus be an all fit in that, every user can adjust it to meet his or her physical requirements. This will assist in reducing the design cost and enhance efficiency in the workstation despite of who the user is.
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