Date of Award

January 2012

Degree Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Safety, Security, and Emergency Management

First Advisor

E. Scott Dunlap

Department Affiliation

Safety, Security, and Emergency Management

Abstract

Throughout the workday many of us feel uncomfortable whether our muscles hurt, or there is a chonric pain from our jobs, and at that point we can ask for ergonomic help. Are there companies in the workplace that do not have the aid of ergonomics? Within the study below, an attempt is made to answer the question, "Can ergonomics be utilized within the power sports repair profession at Rocky Mountain Motorsports?" As a whole, the mechanical repair industry appears to be lacking in ergonomic support. Many of the injuries to the employees could be prevented with the use or intervention of ergonomics.

This study is to evaluate the postures while employees of Rocky Mountain Motorsports perform their daily jobs. This evaluation will identify ergonomics in the areas of lifting, body mechanics, tool design, and the environmental conditions of the work being performed. The employees would also be asked to participate in answering some questions to further evaluate the use of ergonomics.

A couple of the classic methods of ergonomic evaluation will be utilized. These include the NIOSH lifting equation and the NIOSH guide to non-powered hand tools. Humantech® designed a methodology for ergonomic postures and scoring them. A risk associated with the job performed will be done using a Baseline Risk Identification of Ergonomic Factor (BRIEFTM), and then scored using the BRIEF Exposure Scoring Technique (BESTTM). A score of thirty or more on the BEST will determine that there is at least a high risk of ergonomic related injury, and there is room for ergonomic improvement within the job. Please note that the NIOSH evaluation tools work independently of the Humantech evaluation tools.

The cost of ergonomic related injuries is not just the injury itself, but the cost includes lost talent in which a company may have to obtain a new employee. The new employee cannot perform as proficiently as the injured employee therefore cycle time is increased and production yields diminish. The true cost is higher than originally estimated. However, with the use of ergonomics, these injuries can be avoided, and the cost will be eliminated. The general industry rule regarding ergonomics is that for every one dollar spent on ergonomic related repair, a five dollar return can be realized in the future. How can this rule be possibly? Ergonomics fits the work to the worker instead of making the worker fit to the work. This simple concept will reduce the likelihood of injury and improves cycle time, which means higher production.

Thus, is it possible for ergonomics to be utilized within the power sports repair profession and at Rocky Mountain Motorsports? Will the implementation of ergonomics within the power sports repair profession at Rocky Mountain Motorsports reduce the risk of injury, lower costs related to injury, and benefit this area of the workforce?

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