2019-07-01 12:00 - Messages

Value Stream Maps - Improving Procurement of Ergonomic Office Equipment

This article presents research that shows how value stream maps (VSMs) were used to document the procurement process for office equipment to establish better methods of helping users obtain equipment to reduce the risk of overuse injuries in their office jobs.
• The research consisted of two parts: 1) a survey to employees regarding office equipment; and 2) three focus groups with employees who were active in the procurement process. VSMs of the current process were created from the survey data and improved with focus group input.
• The benefits of using a VSM include obtaining user input, creating better documentation and offering recommendations to streamline the process.
• VSMs are recommended as a structured way for OSH professionals to obtain information about user needs and ways to improve processes to reduce workplace injuries.

Source: Hayden, M. A. et Schwerha, D. J. (2019). Professional Safety, 64(5), 53-58.

Sex Differences in Glenohumeral Muscle Activation and Coactivation During a Box Lifting Task

Manual material handling is associated with shoulder musculoskeletal disorders, especially for women. Sex differences in glenohumeral muscle activity may contribute to women's higher injury risk by affecting shoulder load and stability. We assessed the effects of sex (25 women vs 26 men) and lifting load (6 kg vs 12 kg) on muscle activation during box lifting from hip to eye level. Surface and intramuscular electromyography were recorded from 10 glenohumeral muscles. Most muscles were more activated for the heavier box and for women. These effects were larger for “prime movers” than for stabilisers and antagonists. Despite their apparently heterogeneous effects on muscle activity, sex and mass did not affect Muscle Focus, a metric of coactivation. This may be partly related to the limited sensitivity of the Muscle Focus. Nevertheless, sex differences in strength, more than in coactivation patterns, may contribute to the sex imbalance in the prevalence of musculoskeletal disorders.

Source: Bouffard, J., Martinez, R., Plamondon, A., Côté, J. N. et Begon, M. (2019). Ergonomics.

Comparative analysis of manual handling practices in kerbside collection of recyclable waste

Government targets for reducing waste going to landfill h ave led to an increase in the processing of domestic waste to reclaim recyclable materials. Manual sorting tasks can occur at the kerbside during waste collection and, if poorly designed, can introduce manual handling risks.
This report describes research to better understand the kerbside collection and sorting methods currently employed by the waste industry and to determine how manual handling risks can best be reduced or controlled. Six detailed case studies are presented showing a range of vehicles and processes in operation.
Manual handling risks were influenced by both vehicle and waste collection container design and some encouraged poor handling approaches. The Researchers make recommendations that the waste management industry capture the key features of best equipment design in a ‘design principles' document that would form an industry benchmark for designers and customers and that the industry continue to seek to design out manual handling risks before new waste collection vehicles enter widespread use.

Source: https://www.hse.gov.uk/research/rrhtm/rr1141.htm

Risk factors of hospitalization for carpal tunnel syndrome among the general working population

Objectives: Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) causes a considerable amount of sick leave and healthcare costs. The etiology of CTS is multifactorial, involving both personal and occupational risk factors. To date, few prospective cohort studies on occupational risk factors of CTS have examined the general working population.
Methods: The study population consisted of participants from the Northern Finland Birth Cohort of 1966 who attended the 31-year follow-up in 1997 and were working ≥3 days a week in a paid job (N=6326). Information
on socio-economic status, weight and height, smoking, exposure to occupational physical factors, and long-term illnesses was collected at baseline in 1997. Data on hospitalizations due to CTS came from the Care Register for Health Care, 1997–2016.
Results: Between 1997 and 2016, 3.4% of the participants had been hospitalized (attended secondary care) for CTS. After adjusting for confounders, women [hazard ratio (HR) 3.77, 95% confidence interval (CI) 2.70–5.25], overweight/obese participants (HR 1.69, 95% CI 1.29–2.22), smokers (HR 1.48, 95% CI 1.12–1.96), farmers and manual workers (HR 3.02, 95% CI 1.85–4.92 compared with upper clerical workers), lower clerical workers (HR 1.74, 95% CI=1.08–2.80), workers exposed to hand vibration (HR 2.29, 95% CI 1.48–3.54) and participants with physically demanding jobs (HR 1.71, CI 1.06–2.76) were at increased risk of hospitalization for CTS. Physically demanding work increased the risk of hospitalization for CTS for overweight/obese participants at baseline, but not for participants of normal weight.
Conclusions: Excess body mass and occupational physical factors increase the risk of hospitalization for CTS. Excess body mass potentiates the adverse effects of strenuous work on CTS.

Source: Hulkkonen, S., Shiri, R., Auvinen, J., Miettunen, J., Karppinen, J. et Ryhänen, J. (2019). Scandinavian journal of work, environment & health.

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