Measuring and reducing risk of injuries caused by repetitive production work.

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Problem – Muskuloskeletal Disorders affecting Automotive Line Workers

We have experienced that in N.A Automotive Plants, there are many injuries due to poor ergonomics while moving in, out, and around the vehicle. Many issues that lead to poor Musculoskeletal health of team members are from tasks that require bending, reaching, twisting, and wrenching of the arms, torso, neck, wrists, and legs. These MSD’s can incur more costs on an OEM through Health and Safety Related Costs, Indirect Costs, and Quality Costs.

Objective – Measure and Reduce Risk with Ergonomic intervention

To measure the risk of MSDs in Assembly Tasks in order to identify tasks that have the highest risks of musculoskeletal injuries on workers in a Production Facility. After identifying risks, the objective is to design-build custom ergonomic and lifting equipment to reduce future injuries and incurred costs on an OEM without jeopardizing workload, tact time, or process.

Tool – Rapid Entire Body Assessment (REBA)

REBA is a quick, on the spot calculation that evaluates the risk of MSDs in an assembly task. This is related to the position of the neck, torso, legs, and wrists. The weight, frequency, and coupling are also factored in to make a score from 1-14. (1 being no risk, 14 being high risk). This Assessment Tool can be used on the line by OEMs or POW to look for processes that have the highest risk of MSDs (Hignett, S., & McAtamney, L. (2000)). This information is used to start eliminating the higher risk functions using POW Ergonomic equipment that reduce/remove possibilities of injury while performing work. REBA Analysis is used before, during, and after the design-build phase of the equipment to support that MSD Risk will be reduced with the implementation of the Intervention.

Tool – Niosh Lifting Index

Like REBA, the NIOSH Lifting Index is used to calculate the Recommended Weight Load (RWL) that a worker should be lifting. NIOSH measures lifting task variables to determine a Lifting Index. Exceeding the RWL has a chance of creating MSDs from constant lifting, moving, placing, and transferring of components in manufacturing. This is another easy tool used by POW to identify if workers will face future musculoskeletal issues from repetitive lifting/placing/installing tasks. The index is calculated by dividing the Object Weight by the RWL. Scoring higher than 1.0 recommends that consideration or changes should be implemented to reduce the risk of MSDs. This analysis can be used to determine whether a custom lifting device is an appropriate solution to ensure that line workers are not straining their body (Waters, T. R., Putz-Anderson, V., Garg, A., & Fine, L. J. (1993)).

Pow – Ergonomic Raku Seats

POW provides turnkey services for the majority of ergonomic equipment that you see in an OEM. A style of ergonomic assist that we truly excel at are “raku” or “happy” seats. There are many vehicle and conveyor configurations, therefore, almost just as many seat design solutions. The Pow Team has built over 80 styles of ergo chairs in the last 15 years, with the majority being custom-tailored to fit the specific application. Each installation may use the same parts but assembled and adjusted differently to suit the specific task to be performed. Our equipment has passed Purchase Validation for companies including Toyota, Volkswagen, and Tesla; who have installed multiple ergo chairs in their North American Plants.