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Estimating the effectiveness of ergonomics interventions through case studies: Implications for predictive cost-benefit analysis

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Cost-benefit analysis (CBA) can help to justify an investment in ergonomics interventions. A predictive CBA model would allow practitioners to present a cost justification to management during the planning stages, but such a model requires reliable estimates of the benefits of ergonomics interventions. Through literature reviews and Internet searches, 250 case studies that reported the benefits of ergonomics programs and control measures were collected and summarized. Commonly reported benefits included reductions in the number of work-related musculoskeletal disorders (WMSDs) or their incidence rate, as well as related lost workdays, restricted workdays, and workers' compensation costs. Additional benefits reported were related to productivity, quality, turnover and absenteeism. Benefits reported were largely positive, and payback periods for ergonomics interventions were typically less than one year. The results of this review could be used to develop predictive CBA models for ergonomics programs and individual control measures. Cost-justifying ergonomics interventions prior to implementation may help to secure management support for proposed changes. Numbers used for the benefits side of a cost-benefit analysis (CBA) need to be based on "real world" data in order to be credible. The data presented in this paper may help in the development of simple cost-benefit models for ergonomics programs and control measures.
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Estimating the effectiveness of ergonomics interventions through case
studies: Implications for predictive cost-benefit analysis
Richard W. Goggins
a,
, Peregrin Spielholz
b
, Greg L. Nothstein
c
a
Consultation Services, Washington State Department of Labor and Industries, Olympia, WA 98504-4640, USA
b
SHARP Program, Washington State Department of Labor and Industries, Olympia, WA 98504-4330, USA
c
Energy Policy Division, Washington State Department of Community, Trade and Economic Development, 906 Columbia St. SW, Olympia, WA 98504, USA
Received 13 December 2006; received in revised form 3 October 2007; accepted 12 December 2007
Available online 28 April 2008
Abstract
Problem: Cost-benefit analysis (CBA) can help to justify an investment in ergonomics interventions. A predictive CBA model would allow
practitioners to present a cost justification to management during the planning stages, but such a model requires reliable estimates of the benefits of
ergonomics interventions. Method: Through literature reviews and Internet searches, 250 case studies that reported the benefits of ergonomics
programs and control measures were collected and summarized. Results: Commonly reported benefits included reductions in the number of work-
related musculoskeletal disorders (WMSDs) or their incidence rate, as well as related lost workdays, restricted workdays, and workers'
compensation costs. Additional benefits reported were related to productivity, quality, turnover and absenteeism. Discussion: Benefits reported
were largely positive, and payback periods for ergonomics interventions were typically less than one year. Summary: The results of this review
could be used to develop predictive CBA models for ergonomics programs and individual control measures. Impact on Industry: Cost-justifying
ergonomics interventions prior to implementation may help to secure management support for proposed changes. Numbers used for the benefits
side of a cost-benefit analysis (CBA) need to be based on real worlddata in order to be credible. The data presented in this paper may help in the
development of simple cost-benefit models for ergonomics programs and control measures.
Published by Elsevier Ltd.
Keywords: Ergonomics; Musculoskeletal disorders; Cost benefit analysis; Interventions; Effectiveness
Contents
1. Introduction .............................................................. 339
2. Methods ............................................................... 340
3. Results ................................................................ 341
4. Discussion .............................................................. 343
5. Conclusions.............................................................. 343
References ................................................................. 344
1. Introduction
Proponents of ergonomics often speak of the benefits that
organizations reap when implementing both comprehensive
ergonomics programs and individual control measures to reduce
work-related musculoskeletal disorders (WMSDs). These
benefits include not only reduced number of injuries and injury
costs, but also reduced turnover and absenteeism, improved
Journal of Safety Research 39 (2008) 339 344
www.nsc.org
Note: More details on the case studies discussed in this paper, along with a
more complete reference list, can be found at the Puget Sound Human Factors
and Ergonomics Society web site: www.pshfes.org.
Corresponding author. Tel.: +1 360 902 5450.
E-mail address: gogr235@LNI.wa.gov (R.W. Goggins).
www.elsevier.com/locate/jsr
0022-4375/$ - see front matter. Published by Elsevier Ltd.
doi:10.1016/j.jsr.2007.12.006
Author's personal copy
product quality, and increased productivity. However, reporting
of these benefits in peer-reviewed journals remains limited, and
there may be a bias toward reporting only positive outcomes
(Silverstein & Clark, 2004; Volinn, 1999). Fortunately, there is
an increasing trend toward performing cost benefit analyses
(CBA) related to safety and health interventions, and many
CBA models have been developed that can be used for
ergonomics interventions (Oxenburgh, Marlow, & Oxenburgh,
2004; International Labour Organization [ILO], 2002; Mossink,
2002). A significant downside to some of these models is their
relative complexity and the need to develop a set of inputs for
each individual organization. While cost data are readily
available in most organizations, the potential benefits are
often not known. These models may be better suited for post-
intervention analysis, when these data are more readily
available. However, there is a need for a model that predicts
the benefits of an intervention, or the comparative benefits of a
range of intervention options. Such a model would assist
practitioners in cost justifying an investment in ergonomics
interventions to management during the planning stage. In order
to create such a model, one would first need to determine the
likely effectiveness of different types of ergonomics interven-
tions in reducing injuries and generating other benefits.
2. Methods
Existing CBA models were evaluated for common elements
and to see if any contained predictive elements. Oxenburgh's
Productivity Model (1991) does offer a rough guidefor the
effectiveness of controls, shown graphically in Fig. 1. These
estimates are for safety measures in general, and controls such
as barriers and light curtains are not truly relevant to
ergonomics. However, Oxenburgh's model provides a good
starting point for developing ergonomics-specific estimates.
Several reviews of the effectiveness of ergonomics inter-
ventions have provided useful estimates (Department of Labor
and Industries [DLI], 2000; Grant & Habes, 1995; Guastello,
1993). Guastello (1993), as part of a review of the effectiveness
of various accident prevention programs, evaluated two
comprehensive ergonomics programs and found an average
49.5% reduction in accidents. As part of a regulatory Cost-
Benefit Analysis a team of economists and ergonomists from
the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries (DLI,
2000) estimated the benefits of ergonomic interventions by
evaluating the literature on actual ergonomic programs in the
workplace.
The DLI team carried out a literature search focusing on
reports and publications evaluating the effectiveness of
ergonomic interventions at the workplace. A total of 63 reports
and publications on the success of ergonomic programs were
evaluated and determined to be of sufficient quality for
determining rule effectiveness. These case studies, many of
which were from peer-reviewed sources, covered a wide range
of work environments. Several of the published sources were,
themselves, reviews of a number of case studies. The DLI
review focused mainly on the reduction of WMSDs and related
costs, although some information on productivity and other
benefits were also recorded. Publications and reports that were
anecdotal in nature, or lacked detailed information, were not
included in this evaluation (DLI, 2000). Table 1 summarizes the
average and median effectiveness of the workplace ergonomic
interventions, as well as the confidence intervals around the
averages.
The observed average reduction in number of WMSD
injuries was 50%, while the average reduction in WMSD costs
was 64%. The literature search also revealed a decrease in the
severity of WMSD injuries that were reported after implemen-
tation of ergonomic programs, as seen in the reduction in days
per injury and cost per claim. Confidence intervals for mean
effectiveness rate (central estimate) of 50% were established
based on the variance of the effectiveness parameter reported in
the intervention studies evaluated.
Along with other evidence, the DLI economists used the
results of this review to develop conservative estimates of a
40% reduction of WMSDs and a 50% reduction of WMSD
costs for ergonomics interventions in compliance with the
proposed rule. While the review provided adequate evidence for
this conclusion, insufficient information was available to make
assumptions regarding other benefits, or to estimate the
effectiveness of different types of individual control measures.
This raised the question: What results would one find if one
cast a wider net,searching not just textbooks and peer
reviewed journals, but also the rapidly growing set of case
studies, many of them anecdotal, that are published on the
Internet?
In order to answer this question, a search of the World Wide
Web was performed on popular search engines using several
Table 1
Washington State ergonomics rule CBA effectiveness measures
Effectiveness
Measure
Number of
Studies
Average
Reduction
Median Confidence
Interval
a
Number of
WMSDs
37 49.5% 50% 42.2%56.8%
Lost work days 24 65.0% 65% 54.6%75.4%
Days per injury 3 56.6% 65% 36.6%76.6%
WMSD costs 22 64.8% 64% 55%74.6%
Cost per claim 5 43.6% 56% 8.4%78.6%
a
Computed 95% confidence interval.
Fig. 1. Oxenburgh's (1991) estimates of the effectiveness of safety interventions.
340 R.W. Goggins et al. / Journal of Safety Research 39 (2008) 339344
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different combinations of the terms ergonomics,”“solutions,
interventions,”“cost,”“benefit,”“analysis,and effective-
ness.The search revealed numerous case studies on the
benefits of both ergonomics programs and individual control
measures, including several collections of success storiesthat
were judged to be from reliable sources (Hendrick, 1996;
OSHA, 1999; U.S. Department of Defense, 2004; Ohio Bureau
of Workers' Compensation [BWC], 2002). Case studies were
included only if there was enough detail on the intervention to
determine that it was likely to have resulted in the benefits that
were attributed to it. Case studies were excluded from the
analysis if they were related more to human factors design than
ergonomics. Also, case studies that reported other safety and
health interventions in addition to ergonomics were excluded if
they did not estimate the effect of the ergonomics interventions
alone. Effectiveness measures were included in the analysis
only if they were reported either as a percentage change, as pre/
post data from which a percentage change could be calculated,
or as a standard financial outcome (e.g., benefit:cost ratio or
return on investment). Finally, effectiveness measures that were
obvious outliers (e.g., a reported productivity increase of 400%)
were excluded.
The remaining case studies were combined with the 63
published studies from the DLI regulatory CBA, along with
additional, more recently published articles. The industry, type of
intervention, analysis period, costs, benefits, and resulting
savings for each of the case studies were entered into a database.
Duplicates were screened out by searching the database by
industry type for identical numerical values among the
effectiveness measures. Descriptive statistics and confidence
intervals were calculated using Microsoft Excel 2003. The 95%
CI was simply computed as +/1.96 standard deviations from
the mean of the observed values, even when only two values
were observed. In order to assess for publication bias, a funnel
plot of sample size versus percentage injury reduction was
created using a subset of 30 case studies that reported these data.
3. Results
The search resulted in a collection of 250 case studies,
including the 63 studies from the DLI review, representing a
variety of industries and types of intervention. Eighty-seven of the
case studies described interventions in manufacturing industries,
40 were in an office environment, and 36 were in a healthcare
Table 3
Effectiveness measures from 114 ergonomics program case studies (excluding office)
Effectiveness Measure Number of Studies Average Median 95% CI Range
Number of WMSDs 66 57% 55% 51%63% 8%100%
Incidence rate24 57% 50% 45%69% 9%100%
Lost workdays44 72% 79% 65%79% 15%100%
Restricted days9 46% 37% 31%61% 16%77%
Workers' comp costs42 67% 68% 60%74% 15%100%
Cost per claim6 32% 32% 3%61% 20%76%
Productivity 6 46% 40% 22%70% 10%80%
Labor costs 2 28% 28% 12%44% 20%36%
Turnover 9 36% 40% 23%49% 3%68%
Absenteeism 2 79% 79% 42%116% 60%98%
Payback period 1 0.19 years 0.19 years - -
Cost:Benefit ratio 2 1:2.8 1:2.8 1:2.71:3.2 1:2.51:3
Due to WMSDs.
Table 2
Effectiveness measures from all 250 case studies
Effectiveness Measure Number of Studies Average Median 95% CI Range
Number of WMSDs 90 59% 56% 54%64% 8%100%
Incidence rate53 65% 67% 57%73% 9%100%
Lost workdays78 75% 80% 70%80% 3%100%
Restricted days30 53% 58% 42%64% 5%100%
Workers' comp costs52 68% 70% 62%74% 15%100%
Cost per claim7 39% 50% 11%67% 20%81%
Productivity 61 25% 20% 20%30% 0.2%80%
Labor costs 6 43% 32% 17%69% 10%85%
Scrap/errors 8 67% 75% 59%85% 8%100%
Turnover 34 48% 48% 40%56% 3%100%
Absenteeism 11 58% 60% 43%63% 14%98%
Payback period 36 0.7 years 0.4 years 0.41 year 0.034.4 years
Cost:Benefit ratio 5 1:18.7 1:6 1:7.61:45 1:2.51:72
Due to WMSDs.
Down arrows represent a reduction in the effectiveness measure.
Up arrows represent an increase in the effectiveness measure.
341R.W. Goggins et al. / Journal of Safety Research 39 (2008) 339344
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setting, with the remainder in a variety of other industries. Just
over 150 of the case studies reported the results of ergonomics
programs, with the remainder being cost-benefit analyses of
individual control measures. Individual control measures were
further broken out by the type of risk factor they addressed (e.g.,
lifting, awkward postures) and the way in which they eliminated
or reduced exposure to risk factors (e.g., substituted mechanical
equipment for manual lifting, reduced level of exposure by
improving location of the lift or reducing weight of the object).
Table 2 shows the benefits reported for all 250 case studies.
Tables 35show reported benefits from case studies in non-
office environments, office environments, and healthcare,
respectively. Table 6 shows the reported effectiveness measures
for case studies on individual control measures such as lift assist
devices, workstation redesign, and tool redesign.
The individual control measure case studies were further
reviewed in order to break them out into four categories of
effectiveness:
1. Controls that, as described, were likely to eliminate the
hazardous exposure (e.g., substituting a mechanical lift
device for a manual lift; semi-automation of a process);
Table 4
Effectiveness measures from 40 office ergonomics intervention case studies
Effectiveness Measure Number of Studies Average Median 95% CI Range
Number of WMSDs 5 61% 50% 41%81% 43%100%
Incidence rate1 64% 64% --
Lost workdays4 88% 91% 74%102% 70%100%
Restricted days1 100% 100% --
Workers' comp costs3 81% 80% 72%90% 74%89%
Cost per claim1 81% 81% --
Productivity 25 17% 12% 11%23% 0.2%64%
Errors 2 32% 32% 15%79% 8%56%
Turnover 2 87% 87% 85%89% 86%88%
Absenteeism 3 46% 50% 11%81% 14%75%
Cost:Benefit Ratio 3 1:1.78 1:1.5 1:11:2.6 1:1.31:2.6
Payback period 9 0.4 years 0.4 years 0.180.62 yrs. 0.061 year
Due to WMSDs.
Table 5
Effectiveness measures from 36 healthcare program case studies
Effectiveness Measure Number of Studies Average Median 95% CI Range
Number of WMSDs 21 61% 60% 51%71% 18%100%
Incidence rate10 56% 46% 37%75% 16%100%
Lost workdays15 74% 80% 64%84% 38%100%
Restricted days8 49% 43% 23%75% 5%100%
Workers' comp costs13 70% 73% 58%82% 35%99%
Cost per claim1 20% 20% --
Turnover 8 37% 33% 15%59% 3%100%
Absenteeism 1 98% 98% --
Payback period 4 0.28 years 0.17 years 0.180.74 yrs. 0.060.71 years
Due to WMSDs.
Table 6
Effectiveness measures from 96 individual control measure case studies
Effectiveness Measure Number of Studies Average Median 95% CI Range
Number of WMSDs 18 64% 62% 51%77% 25%100%
Incidence rate28 71% 73% 61%81% 14%100%
Lost workdays30 77% 84% 67%87% 3%100%
Restricted days20 54% 61% 39%69% 5%100%
Workers' comp costs6 69% 79% 49%89% 33%91%
Productivity 30 28% 25% 21%35% 7%67%
Labor costs 4 51% 54% 14%88% 10%85%
Scrap/errors 6 79% 90% 58%100% 35%100%
Turnover 23 50% 58% 40%60% 3%100%
Absenteeism 6 57% 64% 40%74% 23%75%
Payback period 25 0.82 years 0.40 years 0.411.23 yrs. 0.034.40 years
Cost:Benefit ratio 3 1:29.3 1:10 1:12.61:71.2 1:61:72
Due to WMSDs.
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2. Controls that would reduce the level of exposure (e.g.,
improving the location or reducing the weight of the lift;
modifications to workstations or tools)
3. Controls that would reduce the time of exposure (e.g.,
rotating to tasks with different or no risk factor exposure); and
4. Controls that primarily relied on employee behavior (e.g.,
training only or team lifting).
Fig. 2 shows the results of this effectiveness categorization.
The effectiveness estimates are based on the range of reductions
in WMSD numbers and incidence rates, as well as lost
workdays and workers' compensation costs, both of which
are indicators of injury severity. Effectiveness estimates are
presented as a range rather than as an average due to the
variability of the measures and the relatively small number of
studies in each category. While the estimates of the effective-
ness of controls that eliminate or reduce the level of exposure
are based on a reasonable number of case studies (37 and 57
studies, respectively), the estimates for reducing time of
exposure and controls that rely on behavior are based on only
one case study each, and therefore should be considered more
professional opinion than evidence-based estimates.
4. Discussion
The theory that reporting of results is biased toward positive
outcomes would appear to be borne out by the fact that, out of
525 individual effectiveness measures reported, only two were
negative, a 0.2% reduction in productivity in an office setting
(offset by a 7.75% reduction in errors) and a 20% increase in
costs per claim for a healthcare employer (although overall
workers' compensation costs for this employer were reduced by
35% for the same period). The scatter plot of sample size versus
injury reduction did show a funnel shape, with more variability
in effect size among the studies with smaller sample sizes. There
did not appear to be any asymmetry in the shape of the plot,
such as would be expected if there were a lack of reporting of
studies with no or negative effects (Peters, Sutton, Jones,
Abrams, & Rushton, 2006). Comparing Tables 1 and 2, the
results with the Internet case studies added in were, in general,
more positive than those from the DLI review alone, although
the case study numbers are mostly within the 95% confidence
interval used by DLI. Comparing Figs. 1 and 2, it appears that
the effectiveness estimates from the case studies compare fairly
well with those proposed by Oxenburgh (1991).
In addition to the injury-related effectiveness measures,
productivity, turnover, absenteeism, and payback period were
some of the more commonly reported metrics. The types of
effectiveness measures reported seem somewhat dependent on
their importance to the industry in which the intervention took
place. For example, productivity was reported in most of the
office ergonomics case studies; however, it was not reported at
all in the healthcare sector, which instead chose lost workdays,
restricted days, and turnover as the next most important metrics
to consider after injuries and costs. This seems logical, since
productivity is less important in patient care than is quality,
which can be negatively affected by staffing shortages. The
non-injury-related effectiveness measures also proved quite
positive; for example, 28 out of the 36 reported payback periods
were less than one year.
5. Conclusions
These results can have implications for the design of CBA
models. For example, the fact that most interventions have
payback periods of less than one year would allow for simpler
models that do not have to account for depreciation or
discounted cash flow. Since productivity was a commonly
reported benefit, it can be argued that it should be included in
even a basic model, while the effects on absenteeism, turnover,
and error rates might be reserved for more complex models.
Finally, these results provide an opportunity to develop CBA
models for different work settings, such as healthcare, office, or
industrial, as well as different situations, such as implementing a
comprehensive program versus an individual control measure.
There are numerous limitations to the use of these data,
however. The aforementioned bias toward reporting successful
interventions would suggest that more conservative numbers
might be appropriate in a predictive model, although one could
argue that the goal of implementing an ergonomics intervention
is to be successful, and therefore the more optimistic numbers
are appropriate. This large a number of positive case studies
would tend to reinforce the assertion that, when implemented
correctly, ergonomics interventions can provide considerable
benefits to organizations. Despite the large overall number of
examples, some of the categorized results such as the benefits
from individual control measures have relatively few examples
and quite a bit of variability, and so these numbers should be
used cautiously. Additionally, a relatively small proportion of
the case studies came from peer reviewed sources, and even
fewer are from randomized and controlled studies. Therefore, it
is possible that some of the benefits seen were not solely due to
the ergonomics interventions. In fact, the wide range of reported
effectiveness for essentially similar control measures may be
due to factors such as variations in the quality of each
organization's overall safety and health program, and the
level to which they have addressed other potential contributors
to injury rates, such as psychosocial risk factors.
Some questions also remain about the way in which the case
studies report productivity increases, and how this would
Fig. 2. A proposed relationship between level of control and estimates of
effectiveness based on results from case studies.
343R.W. Goggins et al. / Journal of Safety Research 39 (2008) 339344
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translate into a benefit to the organization's bottom line. For
example, an intervention may increase productivity for a single
process by 25%, but does this translate to measurable savings in
reduced overtime costs or increased sales for the organization?
The wide range of productivity numbers that were reported does
seem to indicate that organizations use different definitions
when reporting productivity. There were also considerable
differences in time periods over which the benefits were
reported. While some organizations may have reduced WMSD
costs by 80% over a one-year period, others may have reported
the same benefit but over a three- or five-year period, or not
reported a time period at all. This makes estimating a typical
annual benefit for an intervention difficult. Issues such as these
must be resolved before these results can be put to practical use
in a predictive model. Certainly once a predictive model is
developed, it will need to be validated through more
intervention case studies similar to those upon which it is based.
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Rick Goggins, M.S., CPE is a senior-level ergonomist with the Washington
State Department of Labor and Industries' Consultation Services group. He has
a B.A. in Biology from Columbia University and an M.S. in Human Factors/
Ergonomics from the University of Southern California. The primary focus of
his work is helping employers in all industry sectors to identify risk factors for
injury, and implement and evaluate solutions. He is a frequent presenter at local
and national conferences. He is also a Past President of the Puget Sound Human
Factors and Ergonomics Society.
Peregrin Spielholz, Ph.D., CPE, CSP, is a principal investigator with the
Washington State Department of Labor and Industries' SHARP safety and
health research program. He completed his BSE and MSE degrees at the
University of Michigan and his PhD at the University of Washington. His areas
of focus are accident investigation, safety engineering, human-centered design,
and the assessment of workplace risk factors and interventions. Spielholz has
worked with companies and organizations across the country in most industry
sectors. He has published extensively in ergonomics and occupational safety
and health. Spielholz is the Principal Investigator for the NIOSH-funded
Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation (FACE) and Trucking Injury
Reduction (TIRES) Programs in Washington State and is an Affiliate Assistant
Professor in the University of Washington Department of Environmental and
Occupational Health Sciences.
Greg Nothstein, MS, MA, is now an energy policy analyst for the State of
Washington Energy Policy Office. Prior to this he was the Legislative
Economist at Washington State Department of Labor and Industries. He has a
BS in Chemistry from Pacific Lutheran University, a MS in Environmental
Engineer and a MA in Economics from the University of Washington. He was
part of the team that developed the Washington State Ergonomics rule in 2000.
344 R.W. Goggins et al. / Journal of Safety Research 39 (2008) 339344
... For CBA methodology, Soderqvist, Brinkhoff, Norberg, Rosen, Back & Norrman (2015) made a CBA as a part of sustainability assessment and guided decision makers on investment decisions of contaminated areas. Goggins, Spielholz & Nothstein (2008) made a case study on estimating the effectiveness of ergonomics programs with CBA. The results showed that the main benefits of ergonomic programs were positive, and the payback period was less than one year. ...
... This study proposed a model that AHP and CBA will be used together to overcome this illusion. It is concluded that CBA gives a very well-structured framework for complex projects in business, including tangible and intangible costs and benefits in the project evaluation process (Goggins et al., 2008). On the other hand, AHP contributes to forming a hierarchal model from the designing phase of the project evaluation procedure through the end of giving the final decision. ...
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Today, sustainability gets a top priority on the agenda of the shortage of natural resources and regulations. Managers seek how to give minimum damage to the environment while keeping productivity. Ergonomics has an answer to trying to smooth the relationships between man and the elements of a system to optimize the whole system's performance and human satisfaction. Ergonomics and sustainability have common areas of interest in putting a man into the centre. Managers always seek ways to improve productivity but investing in employee wellness is often ignored. They are hesitant to fund projects like ergonomics and environmental until savings are proven. The proposed model in this study using Cost-Benefit Analysis (CBA) and Analytic Hierarchy Process (AHP) together may convince the decision makers to approve the ergonomics or environmental projects easily, which are seen as a pure expense at first.
... Los maestros/as informaron poco sobre la evaluación preventiva de riesgos y realizaron una evaluación solo si se identificó un riesgo durante la supervisión. Las estrategias utilizadas para reducir los riesgos consistieron sobre todo en solicitar un cambio en el comportamiento de los estudiantes, que se sabe que es ineficaz para reducir el riesgo de lesiones laborales (Goggins et al., 2008). ...
... Les enseignants rapportaient peu l'évaluation préventive des risques et réalisaient une évaluation seulement si un risque était identifié lors de la supervision. Les stratégies utilisées pour diminuer les risques consistait surtout à solliciter un changement de comportement de l'élève, ce qui est connu comme peu efficace pour réduire le risque de lésion professionnelle (Goggins et al., 2008). ...
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Palabras claves: Trabajadores jóvenes, supervisión, formación profesional, prevención de accidentes, lesiones laborales. INTRODUCCION El Camino de Aprendizaje Orientado al Trabajo (PFAE) es un programa que se ofrece en las escuelas secundarias de Quebec, Canadá. Está destinado a los adolescentes de 15 años o más que tienen dificultades académicas y corren el riesgo de dejar la escuela sin un diploma. Su objetivo es alternar entre cursos y prácticas para desarrollar su empleabilidad. Estos jóvenes también presentan varios factores de vulnerabilidad que generan riesgos de lesiones laborales: suelen estar empleados en oficios manuales, tienen poca experiencia laboral y muchos tienen dificultades de comprensión. Todos estos factores se asocian a un aumento significativo del riesgo de lesiones laborales (Breslin et al., 2017). Por lo tanto, es más probable que consigan un trabajo con limitaciones físicas y organizativas, lo que les pone en riesgo de sufrir lesiones, incluso después de sus estudios. En Quebec, en lo que respecta a la legislación sobre salud y seguridad en el trabajo (SST), cuando un estudiante realiza prácticas no remuneradas, como en el PFAE, la escuela se considera el empleador. Las escuelas tienen entonces la obligación de prevenir las lesiones laborales. Sin embargo, esta responsabilidad recae principalmente en los supervisores de las prácticas, ya que suelen ser el único contacto con las empresas además del estudiante (Laberge et al., 2017). Estos últimos deben asegurarse que los estudiantes se encuentren en entornos de prácticas seguros y que adquieran competencias en SST para su vida futura. Sin embargo, estudios previos han demostrado que se sienten mal equipados para asumir esta responsabilidad de prevención (Laberge et al., 2017). Esta comunicación forma parte de un proyecto de ergonomía para desarrollar herramientas tecnológicas que permitan a los profesores prevenir las lesiones relacionadas con el trabajo y facilitar la supervisión en la práctica. Por lo tanto, hay que conocer y comprender bien su actividad de trabajo, para determinar cómo los recursos tecnológicos pueden satisfacer sus necesidades. OBJETIVOS El objetivo de esta presentación es analizar la actividad laboral de los profesores del PFAE, en particular la planificación de las visitas a las empresas, con el fin de determinar las oportunidades de desarrollo de las prácticas de prevención de daños laborales con el apoyo de las tecnologías digitales.
... Ergonomic interventions have reduced work-related musculoskeletal disorder prevalence [7][8][9] by reducing physical strain on workers [10,11]. The hierarchy of controls is a useful framework for implementing interventions after risks are identified [9]. ...
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Low back disorders (LBDs) are a leading occupational health issue. Wearable sensors, such as inertial measurement units (IMUs) and/or pressure insoles, could automate and enhance the ergonomic assessment of LBD risks during material handling. However, much remains unknown about which sensor signals to use and how accurately sensors can estimate injury risk. The objective of this study was to address two open questions: (1) How accurately can we estimate LBD risk when combining trunk motion and under-the-foot force data (simulating a trunk IMU and pressure insoles used together)? (2) How much greater is this risk assessment accuracy than using only trunk motion (simulating a trunk IMU alone)? We developed a data-driven simulation using randomized lifting tasks, machine learning algorithms, and a validated ergonomic assessment tool. We found that trunk motion-based estimates of LBD risk were not strongly correlated (r range: 0.20–0.56) with ground truth LBD risk, but adding under-the-foot force data yielded strongly correlated LBD risk estimates (r range: 0.93–0.98). These results raise questions about the adequacy of a single IMU for LBD risk assessment during material handling but suggest that combining an IMU on the trunk and pressure insoles with trained algorithms may be able to accurately assess risks.
... Other forms of automation are beneficial in eliminating high force/high repetition elements from work or reducing force/repetition characteristics of jobs. Ergonomic interventions that eliminate exposures have been shown to be more effective, in terms of reducing associated workers' compensation costs, than those that reduce the level of exposure or reduce exposure time [262]. ...
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Occupational disease is an important public health problem of the 21st century. Occupational disease still accounts for many preventable illnesses and injuries in the workplace. It is important to incorporate modern knowledge of disease epidemiology and cutting-edge diagnostic methods and treatment with the most recent developments in the management and prevention methods to better control work-related diseases and injuries. This book covers a selection of the common occupational diseases and injuries. It offers accurate, current information on the history, causes, diagnosis, management and prevention of several occupational diseases. Key features: - 14 chapters contributed by more than 30 experts in occupational and preventive medicine - Comprehensive treatment of the history, causes, diagnosis, management and prevention of many important occupational diseases (including asbestosis, silicosis, work-related asthma, occupational cancer, mesothelioma, arsenic, and other diseases.). - Each chapter highlights the latest research findings and cutting-edge technologies - References for further reading Modern Occupational Diseases: Diagnosis, Epidemiology, Management and Prevention serves as a useful guide for all readers interested in occupational diseases. The suggested readership includes trainees in occupational medicine, general practitioners, medical students, graduate students in public health programs, occupational health nurses, and professionals involved in occupational health and safety roles at public and private levels.
... Accordingly, in particular the joint objective of performance and well-being are often seen as being in conflict, even though empirical research demonstrates the convergence of well-being and work system performance (Goggins et al., 2008). Besides performance and well-being, there is empirical evidence that considering HF in the design of operations systems also improves quality and reduces errors (Zare et al., 2016;Kolus et al., 2018). ...
... consideration referenced relevant consensus standards for risk assessment for the integration of an industrial robot(ANSI, 2012).While the present study does not allow conclusions to be drawn about injury outcomes (WC claims), a reduction in risk factors for MSD was shown consistently across all the forms of equipment interventions where manual aspects of tasks were allocated to the automation machinery. This is consistent with a review of case studies byGoggins et al. (2008) showing that individual control measures with semiautomation of processes to eliminate key exposures were greater in effectiveness, as established by reduction in WMSD incidence rates, lost work time, and claim costs, than forms of controls that reduced level or duration of exposure or that relied on worker behavior.Manufacturing automation interventions included in the present review, by definition, eliminated certain task exposures and risk factors by the allocation of function to a machine. Similarly, a National ...
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This article reviews the experiences of 63 case studies of small businesses (<250 employees) with manufacturing automation equipment acquired through a health/safety intervention grant program. The review scope included equipment technologies classified as industrial robots (n = 17), computer numerical control (CNC) machining (n = 29), or other programmable automation systems (n = 17). Descriptions of workers' compensation (WC) claim injuries and identified risk factors that motivated the acquisition of the equipment were extracted from grant applications. Other aspects of the employer experiences, including qualitative and quantitative assessment of effects on risk factors for musculoskeletal disorders (MSD), effects on productivity, and employee acceptance of the intervention were summarized from the case study reports. Case studies associated with a combination of large reduction in risk factors, lower cost per affected employee, and reported increases in productivity were CNC stone cutting system, CNC/vertical machining system, automated system for bottling, CNC/routing system for plastics products manufacturing, and a CNC/Cutting system for vinyl/carpet. Six case studies of industrial robots reported quantitative reductions in MSD risk factors in these diverse manufacturing industries: snack foods; photographic film, paper, plate, and chemical; machine shops; leather goods and allied products; plastic products; and iron and steel forging. This review of health/safety intervention case studies indicates that advanced (programmable) manufacturing automation, including industrial robots, reduced workplace musculoskeletal risk factors, and improved process productivity in most cases.
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Introduction and Aim: Stress is a reaction of the body to substantial or unusual demands. It, a complex reaction of the neurologic and endocrinologic system which can initiate the ‘Fight or Flight’ response. This may lead to headache, tense muscles, insomnia. Stress can alter the memory function, immune function, metabolism, and susceptibility to the disease. The effect of stress and relationship in making teachers quite inefficient in their profession is a growing concern. The present study objective is to investigate the effective significance of exercise, relaxation, and ergonomics on physiological stress in teachers. Materials and Methods: A total of 30 teachers, both male and female were randomly selected. They supported the inclusion and exclusion criteria and were between 30 to 60 years, separated into 2 groups. They were asked to fill necessary information in the stress profile for teachers. The subjects with moderate to high stress were taken for the study and were divided into two groups. Group ‘A’ were given aerobic stepper exercise and relaxation techniques. Group ‘B’ were given aerobic stepper exercise and suggestions given on ergonomic correction for an intervention period of about 8 weeks, 5 days per week 45 minutes per session. Pre- and post-test values were taken on blood pressure and blood glucose level using sphygmomanometer and glucometer. Results: The pre- and post-test between group A and group B show a highly significant difference. However, group A showed higher significance than group B. Conclusion: According to the findings, aerobic stepper exercise with relaxation techniques shows highly significant difference and aerobic stepper exercise with ergonomic correction shows significance but aerobic exercise with relaxation technique is highly effective in reducing stress and maintaining blood pressure and glucose level in teachers.
Article
While employer expenditures on occupational health and safety (OHS) in high income countries can be substantial, the financial benefits of these expenditures are not well described. The objective of this study is to apply a transparent methodology to estimate the financial return to employers from OHS expenditures in the Canadian province of Ontario. There were three phases in the study workplan: establishing an accurate estimate of the average direct cost of disabling work injury or illness; identifying employers in the construction, transportation and manufacturing sectors with a low incidence of work-related injury and illness; and the application of a set of plausible assumptions to estimate the financial benefits of OHS expenditures in this sample of employers with strong OHS performance. Financial benefits combined estimates of the tangible financial benefits arising from averted disabling work-related injury and illness and intangible financial benefits associated with improved employee retention and morale, improved production quality and strengthened corporate reputation. Applying these plausible assumptions, the average return on OHS expenditures was 1.24 for 289 manufacturing employers, 2.14 for 56 transportation employers and 1.34 for 88 construction employers. There was variation around these average return on investment values; 138 employers (32% of the sample) had an estimated return on investment less than 1.0, and 295 employers (68% of the sample) had a return on investment estimate greater than 1.0. The estimates of average financial return among large Ontario employers in three important economic sectors, while moderate, are positive, in the range of 1.24 to 2.14. These estimates are consistent with the range of estimates available from research in this field over the past decade.
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Conference proceedings from the 51st NES Conference Work Well - Ergonomics in an unpredictable world, 23-25 October 2022 in Uppsala, Sweden. Editors Jessica Lindblom and Cecilia Österman.
Article
This study addresses the relationship between human factors (HF) related quality deficits in manufacturing and work-related musculoskeletal disorder (WMSD) risk factors in production staff. A recent systematic review identified 60 HF-related quality risk factors (QRFs) in manufacturing related to product, process and workstation design stages. We investigate the extent to which these identified QRFs are also WMSD risk factors. Each QRF was examined for its relationship with WMSD using a 0 (no relationship) to 10 (strong relationship) scale rubric. The authors rated each QRF separately and then discussed and adjusted their ratings in a review session. Results showed that average median ratings were the highest for QRFs related to product design (8/10), intermediate for QRFs related to workstation design (7/10) and the lowest for QRFs related to process design (5/10). This emphasises the significant role of HF in system design in reducing both quality deficits and risk of developing WMSDs for manufacturing personnel. Practitioner summary: This study investigates whether human-related risk factors for product quality are also risk factors for work-related musculoskeletal disorders in manufacturing. Results showed a substantial relationship between quality risk factors and WMSD risk factors. This indicates the significant role of human factors in operations design in improving both system performance and human wellbeing.
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Egger's regression test is often used to help detect publication bias in meta-analyses. However, the performance of this test and the usual funnel plot have been challenged particularly when the summary estimate is the natural log of the odds ratio (lnOR). To compare the performance of Egger's regression test with a regression test based on sample size (a modification of Macaskill's test) with lnOR as the summary estimate. Simulation of meta-analyses under a number of scenarios in the presence and absence of publication bias and between-study heterogeneity. Type I error rates (the proportion of false-positive results) for each regression test and their power to detect publication bias when it is present (the proportion of true-positive results). Type I error rates for Egger's regression test are higher than those for the alternative regression test. The alternative regression test has the appropriate type I error rates regardless of the size of the underlying OR, the number of primary studies in the meta-analysis, and the level of between-study heterogeneity. The alternative regression test has comparable power to Egger's regression test to detect publication bias under conditions of low between-study heterogeneity. Because of appropriate type I error rates and reduction in the correlation between the lnOR and its variance, the alternative regression test can be used in place of Egger's regression test when the summary estimates are lnORs.
Several reasons for the failure of business and government decison-makers to more adequately recognize the benefits of human factors/ergonomics and strongly support and endorse its application are reviewed. In particular, the failure of members of our profession to more consisistently and adequately document and publicize the cost-benefits of their ernonomic applications is noted. To support the notion that good ergonomics is good economics, a variety of actual ergonomic applications, and the documented cost-benefits of each, are described.
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This article summarizes evaluation data for ten types of accident prevention program drawn from 53 program evaluations: personnel selection variables, technological interventions, behavior modification programs, poster campaigns, quality circles, exercise and stress management, near-miss accident reporting, comprehensive ergonomics, the International Safety Rating System (ISRS), and the Finnish national control program. Standard measures of effect size were computed for source studies which described the effectiveness of programs in terms of the percentage reduction in accidents attributable to the program. By this standard, personnel selection techniques were the least effective (3.8%), and comprehensive ergonomics programs (49.5%) were the most effective. Some methodological issues in safety program evaluation are discussed in conjunction with some further thoughts on a previously published review of ISRS evaluation results (in 1991).
Article
The demand for workplace interventions to prevent low-back disorders has increased in recent years. At the same time, a crisis in the literature has become apparent: there are conflicting reports on whether or not these interventions work. With the aim of understanding the reason for the dissension in the literature, six studies were selected for close examination. These were studies of interventions based on differing principles, i.e. a change in organizational ethos to promote back safety, back belt use, the introduction of ergonomic devices, and back-strengthening exercises. If the studies are taken at face value, any of the interventions, regardless of type, has a tremendous effect. Methodological problems inherent in these studies may provide a clue to why essentially different interventions were found to be consistently successful. Study design quality has long been noted to exert a particular influence on the evaluation of outcomes: the quality of the study design is often inversely related to reported outcomes. Of the six studies selected for examination, four did not include a contemporaneous control group, five did not randomly assign subjects to test and control groups, and none included a placebo group. Given these research designs, variables other than those tested by the studies may have produced the reported results. These variables include 'beliefs of the intervention providers' and 'coalescence of the work group', both of which are discussed. Two approaches, the pragmatic and the explanatory, may be used to study workplace interventions to prevent low-back disorders. Most of the examined studies are pragmatically oriented. Having dealt with study design problems expeditiously, these studies may be characterized as more immediately responsive to the demand to evaluate workplace interventions than explanatory studies. On the other hand, explanatory studies, most notably associated with randomized clinical trials in medicine, are more rigorous. Enough pragmatically oriented studies have been conducted to suggest that workplace interventions may have an effect on low-back disorders. More conclusive explanatory studies may now be conducted.
Article
Work-related Musculoskeletal Disorders (WMSDs) continue to present a major challenge to workers and their employers in virtually every industry sector. Many disciplines have been involved in providing advice and working on interventions to prevent WMSDs or reduce their consequences. Since the early 1990s, 15 systematic reviews (excluding specific treatment modalities) have appeared in the peer-reviewed literature addressing musculoskeletal disorder reduction. The National Research Council-Institute of Medicine summarized many of these efforts in 2001. Using a systematic literature search strategy, we identified 20 randomized controlled studies, 17 quasi-experimental studies with control groups, and 36 paper reporting case studies with in the peer-reviewed literature between 1999-2003. Evidence is continuing to build that demonstrates combinations of measures appear to have the greatest effect in reducing WMSDs, although individual engineering and administrative controls can also have positive effects.
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