Laboratory investigation af a simulated industrial task pre- and post-ergonomics intervention

by Renz, Miriam Christina

Abstract (Summary)
The focus of the present study was on the investigation of the effects of an intervention strategy on an industrial task in situ and a simulation of the same task within a laboratory setting.

The task of offloading crates from a truck at a local business was simulated in a laboratory setting for rigorous analysis. The effect of an ergonomically sound intervention on selected physical, physiological and perceptual variables was evaluated in a test - retest experimental set-up using 28 young, healthy male students. Each of the two experimental conditions lasted for 16 minutes. In the pre-intervention task subjects were required to transfer the crates from one point to another by sliding them along the floor. During the execution of the post-intervention task responses to reductions in the stacking height and modifications of the working method were evaluated.

Results obtained for spinal kinematics during the simulated industrial task indicated a high biomechanical risk, due to large ranges of motion, high velocities and accelerations in the sagittal and transverse planes. The heavy workload of the task was also evident in elevated physiological responses (HR, R_F_, V_T_, VE, VO_2_, RQ, EE) and perceptual ratings (RPE, Body Discomfort). Assessment of the intervention strategy revealed that the 'high risk' industrial task was reduced to 'moderate acceptable', with measurements of spinal kinematics, physiological and perceptual variables being significantly reduced. An in situ re-assessment of the workers' responses to the intervention also elicited reductions in heart rates and perceptual ratings compared to the original task.

Bibliographical Information:


School:Rhodes University

School Location:South Africa

Source Type:Master's Thesis

Keywords:human kinetics ergonomics


Date of Publication:01/01/2004

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