Ergonomic intervention for reducing the exposure to musculoskeletal disorders risk factors in pharmaceutical production centre
The present study was conducted in a packing line at a pharmaceutical production centre, where improvement of existing working conditions was required through the redesign of workplaces. The three workplaces selected were: packing, stamping and baling. The RULA and Strain Index ergonomic tools were employed to evaluate the risks of developing MSDs. According to RULA the highest risk corresponds to right and left side of the baling operation (score of 7 and 6 respectively), while Strain Index classifies both sides of stamping as hazardous (strain index of 13.5 for both) as well as the left side of the baling operation (strain index of 12). The risk associated with these workplaces indicates the need for immediate ergonomics intervention. The main elements of redesign consisted of foot rests, tables with a box containing packing materials, belt conveyors, industrial chairs and the plant layout. Anthropometric data from the Cuban population were used to determine optimal workplace dimensions, while the limiting criterion was based on women. A digital manikin was used to combine all selected design values in order to ascertain if they were compatible. Furthermore, a 3D modeling technique was utilized and workers participated in brainstorming sessions. The intervention is an example of proactive approach to enhancing workers’ health.
Keywords: RULA, Strain Index, 3D modeling, Participatory process