Ergonomics Example

Consider this ergonomic problem and its very simple solution:

Person feeding copper sheets into pressConsider a person feeding copper sheets into a press. The problem is the sheets are stuck together and, being flat, they are hard to separate and pick up.  Workers must slap the surface hard to jar the sheets loose, so they can be separated and picked up. Hand injuries are likely from the repetitive slapping, and this process slows down the work by 30% to 40%.

The solution to this problem is simple: An old piece of 4" x 4" is placed under the stack and the steel spring-like behavior of the sheets causes them to self-separate. This fix eliminates the hand injuries caused by repetitive slapping, and it also increases the production rate.

Ergonomic solutions are often simple and cost effective. They require listening to the people doing the work, understanding their constraints, and applying lateral thinking.