Multidisciplinary approaches in ergonomics

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Multidisciplinary approaches in Ergonomics

In the redesign of an assembly or packing line a multidisciplinary team of medical and technical representatives work collectively to identify, evaluate, and control risks to employees whilst maintaining productivity for the company concerned. Those who contribute to the redesigning of industrial equipment, such as assembly or packing lines, include professionals with a variety of expertise, including the occupational health nurse, occupational therapist, occupational hygienist, physiotherapist, ergonomist, human resource staff, and the design engineers. The role of each representative from the seven groups will often overlap, the objective for all however is to identify health hazards in the workplace and eliminate them, protecting workers from the primary sources of health risks whilst designing proficient equipment that makes the best of the workers potential without exceeding their physical and psychological capacity.

The role of the occupational health nurse is to provide nursing care in the work environment to employees and others with injury and illness. The nurse gives emergency care, prepares accident reports, and arranges further treatment or care if required. They also assess work environments for potential or actual health problems. Their contribution to redesigning an assembly or packing line would be in the form of supplying valuable data from incident and accident reports that identifies hazards relating to the existing equipment (Lloyd, 2002; Quinlan & Bohle, 1991; Sanders & McCormick, 1993).

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Responsible for preventative modification of the working environment has generally been assigned to occupational hygienists, engineers, and ergonomists. Occupational hygiene is an environmental science concerned with physical, chemical, and biologic hazards to the worker. The occupational hygienists recognize that safe and healthy working conditions enhance the quality of life for the people involved and contribute to productivity. Broken into three phases, identification, evaluation, and control, the occupational hygienist collects information from a variety of sources by breaking the overall work area into component processes, identifying hazards associated with each process. They will then evaluate each identified hazard by assessing ...

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