The purpose of this project is to develop a website knowledgebase of ergonomics solutions to help reduce the risk factors for workplace Musculoskeletal Disorders (MSDs)* in general industry. Two ergonomics consulting businesses are involved: 1. Dan MacLeod LLC is a firm that specializes in working with employers in general industry to identify practical solutions that reduce the risk of workplace MSDs. The company maintains a large library of reports, photographs, video clips, and related information on feasible methods to reduce MSD risk factors compiled from ergonomics evaluations over a 30-year period in more than 1500 individual workplaces. The president is the Principle Investigator (PI). 2. ErgoWeb, Inc., maintains an existing commercial website, where the solutions knowledgebase will be housed. The website contains a variety of evaluation tools, educational materials, and news that can be accessed by payment of an annual subscription fee. The site also accepts advertising as a source of additional review, plus the company provides consulting services to general industry. Customers of the website are generally large corporations. The president is Peter Budnick, Ph.D., who serves as the primary Key Person and consultant in this application. The goal of Phase I of the project was to develop a prototype website, applying techniques of usability research with focus groups of potential users in an on-going iterative fashion to structure the information to be easy to access and understand. The prototype now contains over 1000 practical solutions centered on Material Handling and Workstation Design and is in use. Phase II of the project will be to add 4000 more solutions and to continue to research how to make the site as user-friendly and effective as possible. Phase II will expand the topics to include Hand Tools, Maintenance, Machine Operation, and Warehousing, along with other similar tasks. Considerable emphasis is being placed on providing low-cost, low-tech solutions, including items that can be fabricated in-house. Links to commercial vendors of products are also provided in the site. The solutions apply to multiple sectors of the economy, i.e., both manufacturing and service. Furthermore, the site is usable by both private and government employers as well as by small and large operations. Multiple portals are being created to facilitate ease of use by persons of different backgrounds. Additionally, tutorials and step-by-step guidelines are provided. * A general class of conditions that involve the nerves, tendons, muscles, and supporting structures of the body. Risk factors include awkward postures, excessive force, repetitive motions, static load, and vibration.
Work-related Musculoskeletal Disorders (MSDs) are the most prevalent, most expensive, and most preventable workplace injuries in the U.S. A major barrier to prevention efforts is for personnel in general industry to find practical information on feasible engineering controls for their specific and often unique operations. This project seeks to help prevent these injuries by converting a large library of known ergonomics solutions for general industry into a commercial website knowledgebase.