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Success with Ergonomics
American Forest & Paper Association (AF&PA) and
Pulp and Paper Safety Association (PPSA)
Success Brief: A box plant company modified a hand truck to facilitate transport of cutting dies from storage to the equipment and reduce employee complaints of discomfort.
The box plant company’s employees had to transport cutting dies about 50 yards from the die storage area to the equipment on which the dies are to be used. The dies weigh 40 to 50 lbs (with a few weighing up to 100 lbs) and are 5 to 6 feet long. Although there had been no injuries associated with this task, employees complained of discomfort because they had to use awkward postures and high force to manually move the dies. Most employees would drag the dies from the storage area to the production equipment.
A hand truck was modified in-house to carry the dies by adding an extension to the frame for the wheels to keep the cart from tipping over (see arrow in photo 1, below left), and installing bars on the bottom plate and cart body (see arrows in photo 2, below right). A strap was attached at the top of the cart to keep the die from falling off.
The company modified one cart first, to see if the changes addressed the problem and to get employee feedback on the new design. It was so well received that the company modified additional carts using the same design so there was a sufficient number of carts to accommodate the employees’ needs.
Hand truck details: Westco four-wheeler warehouse truck, 186-ZC, (approx. $200). Modification cost approximately $150 (parts and labor).
The number of employee complaints of discomfort related to transporting cutting dies from storage has been significantly reduced since introducing the carts because employees no longer have to carry or drag the cutting dies using an awkward posture. Employee interviews indicate that employees view the task as being significantly improved. There has been no significant change in the length of time it takes to do this task since the modified carts were introduced.
Source: AF&PA; PPSA (October 2006)