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.. | Volume 10 Number 1, 2004 (free)

Volume 10 Number 1, 2004

Fall Protection Incentives in the Construction Industry: Literature Review and Field Study
Gary L. Winn, Brian Seaman, & John C. Baldwin

Safety literature confirms that incentives such as money or sunglasses seem to improve safety conditions over the short run. However, no studies could be found which tested the effect of incentives on fall protection for a period longer than a few days.
In our research we found that after 6 months, the use of non-material incentives significantly improved on-time delivery and completion rates of a special inspection form (both p < .005). In addition, a questionnaire with embedded critical questions showed that even though workers said that they preferred material incentives, we conclude that their behavior was changed by the treatment (incentives). We further conclude that the use of natural reinforcers seems to influence worker behaviors and perception of management’s commitment to safety over the long run, even though workers still say that they prefer tangible rewards. Future work should replicate these findings and explore why workers respond to natural incentives but express a preference for material incentives

Design and Ergonomics. Methods for Integrating Ergonomics at Hand Tool Design Stage
Jacques Marsot & Laurent Claudon

As a marked increase in the number of musculoskeletal disorders was noted in many industrialized countries and more specifically in companies that require the use of hand tools, the French National Research and Safety Institute (INRS) launched in 1999 a research project on the topic of integrating ergonomics into hand tool design, and more particularly to a design of a boning knife.
After a brief recall of the difficulties of integrating ergonomics at the design stage, the present paper shows how 3 design methodological tools—Functional Analysis, Quality Function Deployment and TRIZ—have been applied to the design of a boning knife. Implementation of these tools enabled us to demonstrate the extent to which they are capable of responding to the difficulties of integrating ergonomics into product design.

The Relationship Between Workers' Safety Culture and Accidents,Near Accidents and Health Problems
Małgorzata Milczarek & Andrzej Najmiec

One of the dimensions treated as part of a company's safety culture or climate is workers' attitudes towards risk and safety. In the present study these personal aspects are defined as workers' safety culture, which is understood as a way of acting focused on life and taking care of one's health. A questionnaire on safety culture was filled out by 200 employees of a metallurgical enterprise. Factor analysis was used to determine empirical scales of the questionnaire, whereas variance analysis was used to test hypotheses. The results confirmed the hypotheses that people who experienced accidents, dangerous situations, and—to a lesser extent—health problems had a lower level of safety culture. Nevertheless not all of the scales determined during factor analysis turned out to be significant as far as all kinds of those undesirable situations are oncerned. Proposals for future studies are formulated in the conclusion.

Is Fixed-Term Employment a New Risk for Adverse Physical Working Conditions?
Antti Saloniemi, Pekka Virtanen, & Anna-Maija Koivisto

Relationships between employment type and the physical work environment were studied among blue-collar workers (n = 1,127). Based on survey data, we set out to compare the evaluations of environmental load and physical strain at work given by fixed-term (17% of all) and permanent workers.
The type of employment was not related to environmental load. However, working on a fixed-term basis increased the risk of physical strain at work. Analyses revealed that this connection was evident only among fixed-term construction workers.
The results did not support the much-cited view that the disintegration of standard employment has given rise to a new series of work environment problems. Such problems are concentrated in an area with a long tradition of work environment problems, that is, in the construction industry.

Isometric Pull-Push Strengths in Workspace: 1. Strength Profiles
Biman Das & Yanqing Wang

The isometric pull and push strength profiles of males and females were determined in seated and standing positions in the workspace. The strongest pull strength location was at extreme reach vertically above the shoulder for both males and females. The greatest pull strength of 400 Newtons (N) for males was recorded in the seated and standing positions. Females? pull strengths in the seated and standing positions were 222 and 244 N, respectively. The strongest push strength was always at the maximum reach at the overhead location. Males' maximum push strength was 227 N in the seated position and 251 N in the standing position. Females' maximum push strength was 96 N in the seated position and 140 N in the standing position. On the average the strength in the standing position was 79% of the seated position. The push strength was 71% of the pull strength and females were 56% as strong as males.

Isometric Pull-Push Strengths in Workspace: 2. Analysis of Spatial Factors
Biman Das & Yanqing Wang

The effect of reach levels, horizontal angles and vertical angles on isometric pull and push strengths of males and females in standing and seated positions was determined. The effect of reach levels on strength varied as a consequence of force direction, working position and gender. Reach level has a significant effect on women's pull strength in the seated position and on push strength in the standing position. The strength value was significantly greater in the extreme reach than in maximum or normal reach. Vertical angle φ had a significant effect on strength consistently in all cases. Strength values increased significantly with the increase of φ angles from 0° to 45° to 90°. The horizontal angle θ had a significant influence only on the pull strength of standing and seated men and standing women (not seated woman). The maximum strength was significantly greater at θ = 90°.

Major Health Risk Factors in Iranian Hand-Woven Carpet Industry
Alireza Choobineh, Houshang Shahnavaz, & Mohammadali Lahmi

This paper reviews the role and importance of small-scale industries together with the issue of occupational health problems and their causes in Iranian hand-woven carpet industry as a typical informal small-scale industry in an industrially developing country. The objective of this paper is to review health risk factors and related occupational health and ergonomic problems in the carpet industry. Since the overwhelming majority of weavers' health problems originate from ergonomic risk factors, it is concluded that any improvement program in this industry should focus on ergonomic aspects. To assess ergonomic conditions in weaving workshops, a checklist has been developed and an ergonomics index indicating the ergonomic conditions of the workshop has been proposed. To test and verify the checklist, 50 weaving workshops were visited and their ergonomic conditions were assessed. Based on the results some modifications were made and the checklist was shown to be an effective tool.

The Use of Footwear Insulation Values Measured on a Thermal Foot Model
Kalev Kuklane

The use of physiological data from human tests in modelling should consider background data, such as activity, environmental factors and clothing insulation on the whole body. The present paper focuses on local thermal comfort of feet with special attention on the effects of physical changes of footwear thermal properties. An alternative test method is available for footwear thermal testing besides the standard method. The possibility to use insulation values acquired on a thermal foot model in practice is shown here. The paper describes the correlation between cold and pain sensations, and foot skin temperatures of the subjects and relates these to insulation measured on a thermal foot model. Recommendations are made for footwear choice according to environmental temperature.

Electric Field Prediction for a Human Body-Electric Machine System
Maria G. Ioannides, Peter J. Papadopoulos, & Eugenia Dimitropoulou

A system consisting of an electric machine and a human body is studied and the resulting electric field is predicted. A 3-phase induction machine operating at full load is modeled considering its geometry, windings, and materials. A human model is also constructed approximating its geometry and the electric properties of tissues. Using the finite element technique the electric field distribution in the human body is determined for a distance of 1 and 5 m from the machine and its effects are studied. Particularly, electric field potential variations are determined at specific points inside the human body and for these points the electric field intensity is computed and compared to the limit values for exposure according to international standards.

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