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Can producers of packaging contribute to improving the handling of packages for women working in the food industry?
Innventia AB.
Innventia AB.
University of Gävle, Faculty of Health and Occupational Studies, Department of Occupational and Public Health Sciences. University of Gävle, Centre for Musculoskeletal Research.
Department of Public Health Sciences, Karolinska Institutet.
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2011 (English)In: 25th IAPRI Symposium, 2011Conference paper, Published paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Extensive manual handling is a risk factor for work-related musculoskeletal disorders in the lower back and neck-shoulder regions (World Health Organization 2003). In the Swedish food industry, manual handling occurs mainly in production and in packing. The type and structure of packages is a probable determinant of the working conditions. In this research and development project, we investigated whether packages can be redesigned so that workloads during manual handling are reduced.

The project included the following steps, implemented at three selected production lines different food industry companies:

- Collection of production data and a description of all manual activities devoted to the handling of packages.

- Direct measurements of working postures and muscle activity of the upper body, together with ratings of physical load using questionnaires.

- Collection of general productivity data.

- Group discussions with workers concerning the packaging characteristics supporting or obstructing easy handling; followed by suggestions for improvements.

- Interviewing the next step in the value chain, e.g. bakers and shop replenishers, regarding suggestions for improvements to the selected packages.

- Discussions with packaging producers regarding improvements to the selected packages.

- Feed-back of results to the participating companies.

The existing production systems and the manual handling activities observed there were compared to simulated production using prototypes of new packages. Measured and rated ergonomic exposures showed that workload was lower for the prototypes. In one company (N=9), muscular activity decreased by 10.1%  (p<0.05). In the second company (N=4) postures were less inclined during work, and  muscular activity declined by 43.6% . In the third company (N=8), wrist velocity decreased by 7% (p<0.05). In the two latter companies, the number of handling operations included in the packaging operations was greatly reduced with the prototype package. None of the new prototype solutions had negative effects on productivity.

From these cases, we conclude that workloads during manual handling of packages can be reduced by modifying packages per se. We believe that considerations to the ergonomics effects of a particular package should be included in the planning, design and specifications of that package throughout its value chain.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2011.
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:hig:diva-8662OAI: oai:DiVA.org:hig-8662DiVA: diva2:409155
Conference
25th IAPRI Symposium on Packaging, Berlin, May 16-18, 2011
Available from: 2011-04-07 Created: 2011-04-07 Last updated: 2017-04-11Bibliographically approved

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CiteExportLink to record
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Citation style
  • apa
  • harvard-cite-them-right
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
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  • Other style
More styles
Language
  • sv-SE
  • en-GB
  • en-US
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  • nn-NB
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Output format
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