Research Papers

Ergonomics Research Paper

Executive Summary
This report provides the results and analysis of ergonomics of a children care center which seen an increased number of complaints from employees reporting to suffer from back pains. The employees at the child care center are tasked with carrying and lifting of children of different ages ranging from 6 months old to 36 months old. From the tasks performed by a sample worker at the health care, Revised Utah Compressive Force and Shoulder model analysis was used to arrive at the ergonomic risk the employee is exposed to while performing various activities.

An employee at a child center is exposed to the risk of ergonomics due to the difficult job performed physically. Among the various activities involved in the line of duty of the worker are bending and lifting the weight which is done repeatedly. High-risk factors that may fuel the worker from suffering from ergonomics are high forces of the weight being lifted, duration of the task, awkward posture that include rotation of the torso and prolonged standing. The direction of movement of the load and its magnitude is also associated with back and shoulder pains. Biomechanical stress exerted at the back is due to the magnitude of the load being too. Very high compressive forces lead to harming of the back muscles.

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Different tools were used to analyze the risk of ergonomics exposed on an employee performing tasks that need repeated lifting of weights from the ground. For instance, to perform lifting tasks, shoulder moment worksheet and compressive force worksheet were used to achieve the quantification of ergonomics. To determine the appropriate percentage of carrying the weight of women, Snook /Liberty tables came into use. Calculations on shoulder moment were carried out by considering the object from its initial position to the final destination. It uses the posture of the worker and the weight of the object that is being lifted to arrive at the moment being exerted on the shoulders.

Back Compressive Force is estimated by use of the weight of the object, angle of the torso and distance of the object from the body. To quantify this ergonomic Revised Utah Model was used in this practice. The analysis was then compared with accepted limits set by NIOSH (National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health) that points that compressive force exceeding 770 lbs will put into risk a section of the workforce while compressive forces exceeding 1430 lbs possess a greater threat to most workforce exposed to it.

When determining the percentage of the female population with the capability of lifting children of different ages and weight over a specified distance, Snook/Liberty Mutual tables were used. The table analyzes the distances; frequency and the heights are put into an account to compare them with a maximum weight for a provided female population percentage.

Results and Discussion
The values for Shoulder Moment Calculation and Back Compressive Force were recorded in the spreadsheet which was used for performing actual calculations required. From the results, it is clear that lifting a child from a prone position more compressive force was recorded. The results obtained did not exceed the limit 770 lbs although it can be considered that the frequency of the task performed by the employee possess a risk of ergonomics since it’s a daily activity.

In conclusion, it can be observed that from the analysis of ergonomics that factors that are highly associated with musculoskeletal injury mainly are the duration which an individual performs an activity, the posture assumed is also a factor considered during object handling. Other posture causes biochemical stress raising the risk. The magnitude of the load and its direction on the hands as well is very crucial when analyzing ergonomics during lifting of weights from a lower position. The frequency of the compressive force and torso angle rotation is among the physiological stress and was relevant in the practice carried out for evaluation of the risk trauma. For a given object keeping the weight closer to one’s body is important as it helps to reduce musculoskeletal stress (Robertson, 2008). The compressive force can be minimized during lifting by decreasing the distance between the body and the object. Minimizing the distance between the torso and the arm as well as keeping it upright as possible.

After completion of the ergonomics, change in facility design might be put into consideration but it being an average institution there is a possibility that the resources available might not be enough for the redesigning of the facility (Roelofsen, P. 2002). Therefore the proposed abatement are administrative controls. This implies that proper training is offered to the workers of the facility in techniques that involve working in positions that offer minimum strain to their bodies as well as methods that entail lifting. Rotation of the employees in different job areas is also essential. Providing the workers with mandatory breaks in between their shifts helps reduce long standing hours and the frequency of rotation of their torso. It is essential to make follow-ups to ensure that the program has been implemented to latter.

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