The present case focuses on evaluation of potential ergonomic hazards at 3 eyeglass manufacturing plants. Managers of the company addressed researchers and asked them to analyze potential hazards in surfacing and finishing departments of the three facilities. The researchers evaluated risk factors for developing Work-related Musculoskeletal Disorder (WMSD) in employees. Since the managers were interested in finishing and surfacing departments, the researchers paid special attention to surfacing and finishing tasks.
According to the report, there are a lot of risk factors and hazards which have to be addressed (Ramsey & Tapp, 2012). The researchers also stress that some employees have health problems including WMSDs. The researchers also compare the rate of injuries and illnesses in the three facilities and the rest of eyeglass manufacturing plants. Notably, the researchers provide specific recommendations which can help address the issue. The purpose of the present paper is to evaluate the report in question.
The researchers used a number of evaluation criteria to assess the hazards. First of all, the researchers focused on WMSDs symptoms. The researchers obtained the data through observations and videotaping. As has been mentioned above, the researchers concentrated on finishing and surfacing tasks.
Apart from this, the researchers interviewed employees personally. The researchers focused on employees’ knowledge of ergonomics and safety measures as well as employees’ physical states and health-related complaints. The researchers also analyzed medical records of employees. Finally, the researchers analyzed records concerning injuries and accidents at the three facilities.
The researchers report that employees are exposed to a number of hazards at the department in question. At this point, it is necessary to note that the researchers claim that the rate of illnesses at the facilities has decreased recently.
Nonetheless, the rate is very high. The most common hazards are associated with “awkward postures, forceful exertions, and repetitive motion tasks”, twisting and bending (Ramsey & Tapp, 2012, p. 9). The researchers stress that such conditions increased employees’ risk of developing “shoulder, arm, elbow, forearm, wrist, hand, and finger WMSDs” (Ramsey & Tapp, 2012, p. iii).
The researchers also note that employees often have lower back disorders. Noteworthy, the researchers state that the rate of injuries as well as illnesses at the three facilities in question is higher than rates at the majority of the US eyeglass manufacturing plants. Finally, the researchers note that employees do not have sufficient knowledge on ergonomics and safety measures at the three plants.
The researchers provide a set of recommendations for managers and employees. Thus, managers should have a working height changed to 27-62 inches. This will diminish risk factors of developing back and shoulder WMSDs (Ramsey & Tapp, 2012). According to researchers, it is also essential to provide employees with adjustable tables. This will make the working place appropriate for each employee.
The researchers emphasize that it is important to “rotate” employees to different tasks (Ramsey & Tapp, 2012, p. 22). This will diminish negative effects of doing repetitive tasks. Furthermore, the researchers note that managers should educate employees on WMSDs and major principles of ergonomics. Finally, the researchers stress that managers should encourage employees to report about WMSD symptoms or potential hazards.
As far as employees are concerned, the researchers state that they also can and should improve the situation. One of the most basic recommendations made is to follow easy rules while lifting heavy objects. Besides, employees should learn more about the use of adjustable equipment and participate in ergonomic committees. Finally, employees should report about injuries or potential hazards to managers.
It is necessary to note that recommendations made and points discuss are covered in other researches. For instance, the researchers in the NIOSH emphasize that educating employees on principles of ergonomics is crucial. Likewise, McCauley-Bush (2011) states that it is essential for managers as well as employees to learn more about ergonomics as this will potentially reduce risk factors at workplace.
Apart from education and training, there is another important concern in the field. Thus, diversity at workplace is one of the most burning issues in the contemporary business world. The researchers touched upon the issue in their report. Thus, they claim that adjustable equipment can significantly improve the situation.
Hussain et al. (2012) note that it is not enough to adjust equipment to fit employees’ different physical features. The researchers claim that it is crucial to take into account such aspects as age, culture, gender, skills, background, marital status, etc. The researchers state that all these aspects should be considered while developing ergonomic plans (Hussain et al., 2012). Admittedly, this can reduce risk factors at manufacturing facilities.
It is necessary to add that researchers of the NIOSH did not consider technologic advances in ergonomics. At present, researchers make use of certain software to develop effective ergonomic plans. For example, Qutubuddin, Hebbal and Kumar (2012) state that user-friendly applications can help managers develop efficient ergonomic plans for various settings. Admittedly, software can be used to analyze various hazards and develop effective strategies to minimalize potential risk factors.
On balance, it is possible to note that the report in question is effective. First of all, it is necessary to state that the report is based on comprehensive research. The researchers analyzed substantial amount of data. Remarkably, the researchers used different methods to obtain data.
This makes the research comprehensive and plausible. It identifies major hazards and risk factors. The report also contains a set of recommendations aimed at improving the situation. Notably, the report includes recommendations for both managers as well as employees. The recommendations provided are clear and concise. They are easy to implement.
It is also necessary to note that the report is clear and concise. The data obtained are presented in tables. This makes the report clear and detailed. The information is arranged in a logical way and the major points are highlighted separately. The report can have a wide audience. Top management, supervisors, employees, educators and students can benefit from the present report.
As far as I am concerned, the report is comprehensive and detailed. Though, I would add certain information on software which can be used to develop an ergonomic plan. I would also expand the section on training. People are still unaware of effective ergonomic training. Hence, managers may need assistance in developing efficient training.
It is also unclear what employees could discuss at ergonomic committees. Irrespective of the missing information, the report is still effective and can help the company improve the situation. I have learnt a lot about analyzing particular workplaces in terms of safety and ergonomics. I have also acknowledged that managers start paying the necessary attention to ergonomics and employees’ safety.
Hussain, A.H., Marshall, R., Summerskill, S., & Case, K. (2012). Workforce diversity and ergonomic challenges for sustainable manufacturing organizations. In S. Trzcielinski & W. Karwowski (Eds.), Advances in ergonomics in manufacturing (pp. 23-33). Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press.
McCauley-Bush, P. (2011). Ergonomics: Foundational principles, applications, and technologies. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press.
Ramsey, J.G., & Tapp, L. (2012). Ergonomic evaluation of surfacing and finishing tasks during eyeglass manufacturing – Minnesota. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/niosh/hhe/reports/pdfs/2010-0114-3168.pdf
Qutubuddin, S.M., Hebbal, S.S., & Kumar, A.C.S. (2011).Computer assisted system for enhancing the application of ergonomics in manufacturing systems. International Journal of Ergonomics, 2(1), 1-56.