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Success with Ergonomics
American Forest & Paper Association (AF&PA) and
Pulp and Paper Safety Association (PPSA)

 
Company: AF&PA member company; PPSA member site
   
Industry: Containerboard Packaging NAICS Code 32221
   
Task: Operation for Cap Sheets and Corner Posts
   
Employees: 150 (number at the site)


Success Brief:

Strapper operators developed a bending rail to bend cap sheets and corner posts prior to strapping a load for shipment. This reduced force to the wrist and hands by giving the operator something solid to push against instead of breaking the sheet against itself using a wrist twisting motion.
 

The Problem

Based on a detailed job analysis at the bander workstation, it was determined that the bander operators were exerting significant and repeated finger force with bent wrists to manually bend between 200 and 400 cap sheets and corner posts per shift. The frequency and force varied depending on production schedules and sheet thickness.

The Solution

A bending rail was designed and installed by in-house maintenance crews. One-inch square tube steel was welded and attached to existing equipment on the work platform. It was designed to accommodate bending of sheets for the widest and tallest units shipped. As can be seen in the photos, the sheets easily bend around the posts with a minimum of hand and finger force and with the wrists in a relatively straight, neutral posture. The cost was approximately $50 for materials, plus labor time. The biggest challenge was placing the bending post close to the strapper without hindering normal traffic flow. Employees were trained to bend the sheets parallel to the corrugated flute rather than across it, to reduce the amount of force needed when bending.
 
Figure 1: Employee using bending rail
Figure 1: Employee using bending rail
Figure 2: Employee bending the sheet
Figure 2: Employee bending the sheet

The Impact

Employees are now able to bend sheets without flexing their wrists. One hand can be used to hold the sheet steady while the other hand is used to push, creating the fold line (See Figure 1 and 2). This has significantly reduced the potential for hand and wrist injuries.

Source: AF&PA; PPSA (May 2008)