ViveLab Ergo entered the market in 2017 since that our company is giving consultancy services parallel to software sales. In the past five years, we had the opportunity to consult more than sixty firms varying in size and profile. As time passed our company could proceed with 364 screening projects, 165 sensory measurements, and 10 conceptive assessments, though the pandemic situation meant a severe drawback in the number of orders. Based on our experience from these projects, we have some advice for 2022 in ergonomics.
The screening technique provides an overview of the workstations providing a ranking, based on ergonomic aspects and worker interviews. It is an assessment of workstation risk levels to categorize them into "appropriate" or "should be changed" or "must be changed" groups. In our practice, only 16% of workstations were appropriate, while 69% fall into should be changed category, and 18% were to be changed anyway. In 69% of the cases with some modifications better conditions are available, so take the chances for improvement! In 18% we met serious problems seeing an opportunity to think about it deeply and start from scratch.
Sensory measurements provided detailed and punctual data for resumption. We could use results from RULA, ISO 11226, and EN 1005-4 to highlight hindering effects and define problems. But now, as we summarize all results of these analyses, the screening results are certified and specified by them. With RULA, we gain data on the ratio of harmful postures during a given motion sequence. As an overall result of all motions analyzed, only 2% of postures are "acceptable", 50% of them are in the category of "change may be needed", 32% "should be changed soon", and 16% "need immediate change". It is important to understand the relation of workers to workstations, resulting in a sequence of postures. Consider workstation-worker coupling for the best fit, and keep in mind that there are always adjustability options!
The standards gave us a deeper understanding of the relationship between work processes and problems occurring. Static postures mainly appear in the asymmetric trunk and neck postures, the abduction and elevation of the arms, the raising of shoulders, the extension of elbows, and the abduction of wrists. Repetition mainly happens in the case of trunk and neck inclination and asymmetry, all the arm, elbow, wrist, and shoulder movements, and also in the case of the knees. So when designing try to avoid asymmetry and beware of the tasks of the arms and hands! And if you have to make corrections think about these areas first!
Keep in mind that there are plenty of opportunities for improvement! If you may survey workstations or want to solve intricate problems, you'll find a way to make working conditions better! May improvement be your New Year's resolution!