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    Preparing an ergonomic report

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    One of the most common tasks performed by Safety Professionals or the Industrial Hygienist is observation. We will begin to use what we have learned in this course as well as in other safety courses and apply it to an everyday work assignment--not your own-- but another of your choosing. I suggest the following: Supermarket stocker, traffic policeman, classroom school teacher, sacker at a supermarket, office assistant, etc.

    This is what you will do:

    1. Pick an activity to observe.
    2. Pick out one of the checklists from the text which you believe would be appropriate for the activity you will observe. You may use a portion of a checklist or portions of several checklists--whatever will work for your situation. I expect you will find many ergonomic problems in every workplace, and your work on this project should reflect this.
    3. Visit with management of the establishment. Explain that you have a course assignment and ask for permission to observe an employee. Explain additionally that you will be writing a report to your instructor about what you observe. Your report will identify ergonomic adequacies and inadequacies as revealed by the checklist you have chosen. Take a copy of the report to management so they can see what you will be looking for. Explain that no other use of the report will be made--this is only a class assignment.

    After receiving approval from management, observe the activities you have picked to view and make your notes for your report. Prepare the report (remember the checklists are all available for your use as part of this program). Your final report should contain the checklist(s) you used as well as an opening paragraph describing what you are observing and a closing paragraph which will summarize your report. As was stated in the Management Report instructions, your use of the English language counts. If you have any doubt about your writing skill, you may have another instructor, a friend, your significant other look over your paper and make suggestions.

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    Solution Preview

    The requested assistance is attached.

    The job I will be observing is that of a sacker at Kroger's, which is a major supermarket chain across America. After conferring with management to illustrate my intentions for this assignment, the manager allowed me to come and observe the sackers as they conducted their jobs during the morning and night shifts. Typically workers rotated working from 7-3 and 3-11. These 8 hour shifts entailed sacking, taking groceries to customers' cars, and other duties such as cleaning up spills on the aisles and occasionally "facing" the product, which is a technique wherein sackers go up and down the aisles to ensure that merchandise is facing customers and not out of place. The sackers did not have any work braces or other items that could mitigate the constant standing and lifting associated with their jobs.

    The checklist used for this assignment because I feel it is most appropriate is Checklist #1. Much of the work involved with sacking is focused on physical labor such as lifting, standing, walking, and other menial tasks that are repetitively done throughout the day by sackers. This is what I deduced through my observations and why I chose to use Checklist #1 that deals with the physical nature of work tasks.

    Are the joints in a neutral position? No, there is constant movement on behalf of the sackers, but during times of limited customers joints can remain in neutral positions for extended minutes. 10 minute integrals of inactivity were not uncommon.
    Is the work held close to the body? Yes.
    Are forward-bending postures avoided? No, the workers bent forward regularly to pick up items and lift them into the bags.
    Are twisted trunk postures avoided? No, sometimes the sackers bodies would become dis-contorted as a result of awkward attempts to bag the groceries for customers.
    Are sudden movements and forces ...

    Solution Summary

    The expert prepares an ergonomic report. An activity to observe is chosen.