Does reducing postural variability lead to an increase in the prevalence of work-related injuries in lean automotive assembly?

Many companies believe that the more efficient way of thinking “lean” will improve quality by eliminating waste, reducing lead time and reducing their overall costs. However, the benefits and downfalls of a lean process of manufacturing have been debated extensively. Many researchers have noted a positive improvement in productivity, quality, and efficiency which contribute positively to managers, supervisors and other white collared workers. However, some other researchers have noted negative impacts on the health of blue collared assembly workers. These negative consequences may be due to the lack of dynamic postures in lean manufacturing as lean attempts to limit excessive movements of workers and equipment. Although remaining in a neutral posture throughout the shift is thought to be advantageous for workers from a postural perspective, many still suffer discomfort and fatigue from musculoskeletal injuries from work. This study will hopefully find if the prolonged static postures observed in lean manufacturing are contributing to the increase in work related musculoskeletal injuries. This will benefit Pinnacle Rehabilitation by allowing the ergonomists to have valuable information which promotes either dynamic postures or sustained neutral postures throughout the day.

Intern: 
Tennille Harrison
Faculty Supervisor: 
Dr. David Andrews
Province: 
Ontario
Discipline: 
Program: