||Protecting Worker Health with Erogonomics Guidelines
Ergonomics promotes work environments that suit individual abilities
and limitations. Voluntary consensus guidelines on the scientific
discipline of ergonomics have been drafted by members of Subcommittee
E34.85 on Ergonomics, part of ASTM Committee E34 on Occupational Health and Safety. The proposal is being reviewed
by over 70 ergonomics professionals, including representatives
of industry, universities, consultants, and suppliers. Additional
participation is welcomed.
Dennis R. Ankrum, an ergonomist who chairs the subcommittee, said
typical users of the proposed guidelines will be engineers, industrial
designers, and other planners of occupational space. Designing
jobs that conform to the capabilities and limitations of workers
will result in increased productivity, said Ankrum, director
of Human Factors Research, Nova Solutions, Inc., Effingham, Ill.
Ergonomics was a buzzword in recent legislation before Congress.
The recently repealed OSHA standard was not an ergonomic standard,
Ankrum explained. It was a standard to reduce work-related musculoskeletal
injuries. Ergonomics is much broader than injuries. Good ergonomic
design means matching jobs to the capabilities and limitations
of the workers. While fewer injuries would be expected, the real
benefit to business is an increase in productivity.
Neglecting ergonomics can lead to physical deterioration of workers
bodies over time, although ergonomic solutions can be inexpensive.
The proposed ASTM guide states that it is intended to assist
those involved in the design, installation, operation, modification,
or maintenance of occupational systems, with integration of ergonomics
into those systems... Because jobs and tasks that exceed human
capabilities and limitations can not be performed correctly, efficiently,
properly, or consistently, the application of ergonomics to outcome
and process development will help avoid system inefficiencies,
wastes, and the costs created by these.
The comprehensive draft guide covers benefits, application and
use methodology, process evaluation, analysis, and more.
To participate in this activity, or obtain further technical information,
contact Dennis R. Ankrum, Human Factors Research, Nova Solutions, Inc., Effingham, Ill.
(phone: 512/263-5575). Committee E34 meets Nov. 4-5 in Dallas.
For meeting or membership details, contact Maxine Topping, manager, ASTM Technical Committee Operations (phone: 610/ 832-9737).
Copyright 2001, ASTM