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Durham e-Theses
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Work-related upper limb disorder:- An investigative study

Jenkinson, Janice (2005) Work-related upper limb disorder:- An investigative study. Masters thesis, Durham University.



The primary aim of occupational health staff within a manufacturing company is to ensure the health and well being of the employees are safeguarded. The aim may be difficult to achieve as it goes directly against the ethos of business, i.e. making money. It is the researcher's experience that company owners, especially Far Eastern owners, are disinclined to introduce health and safety measures that cost money. The study is conducted in an electronic company (Company X) in the northeast of England, owned by foreign nationals. Retrospective examination of accident, sickness and absenteeism records reveal that work-related upper limb disorder (WRULD) is apparent and upper limb discomfort is a significant problem in Соmpany X. Research shows that the principle of job rotation tends to reduce fatigue and the incidence of WRULD, consequently sickness and absenteeism and labour turnover will also be reduced. In Company X physiological stress to the limb is highly relevant to the production line workers, based on case studies of employees with work-related upper limb disorder. This led to conducting a study of two sites building different electrical equipment. 80 employees participated in the study which involved monitoring the employees on six paced production lines in the Personal Computer Monitor factory PCM which included seven teams and employees in five teams on four production lines in the Microwave Oven Factory. A semi paced line, the Bent Tool Machine BTM in MWO were also involved in the job rotation experiment. Discomfort scale measurements were administered to all that took part and an extra objective measurement of grip strength was provided by the employees in the BTM to provide information on fatigue. A comparison between grip strength and discomfort was analysed for any con-elation. The main data collection took place between September and December 2000.There is some evidence that the differences in discomfort is caused by job rotation as where job rotation was taking place the employees in the study had lower levels of discomfort than those on non- rotational duties. In the CDT prep job PCM where job rotation was taking place a comparison between job rotation and the non-rotation group with regard to discomfort in body parts differed (Fisher's exact test, p=0.05).The job action analysis that was designed specifically for the production line environment allowed comparisons of upper limb score for different jobs. It would appear that regular job analysis should be introduced as a matter of practice in Company X in the future. The study demonstrated the importance of prevention and innovation ergonomics and there was evidence to suggest that the occupational health department should adopt an active role in the future for the benefit of the employees and the financial survival of the Company.

Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Award:Master of Philosophy
Thesis Date:2005
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:09 Sep 2011 09:56

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