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Ergonomics in Welding

Ergonomics in Welding

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Ergonomics in Welding

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  1. Ergonomics in Welding

  2. What You Will Learn: • How to identify Work-Related Musculoskeletal Disorders (WMSD’s) in welding jobs • Propose solutions for hazardous exposures • Find further information about ergonomics in welding operations

  3. Common hazards found in welding are: Inhaling metals fumes Eye exposure to welding arc light Foreign objects in eyes Burns Noise Common Hazards

  4. Welding also includes musculoskeletal disorder (WMSD) hazards such as: Awkward body postures Lifting heavy equipment or materials Static postures for prolonged periods Awkward postures of the wrist WMSD Hazards

  5. WA State-funded compensable claims 1994-2004Welders, Cutters, Solderers By Nature of Injury Sprains account for more than 1/3 of the compensable claims among welders in the State of Washington. Some of those could be caused by hazardous WMSD exposures.

  6. WA State-funded compensable claims 1994-2004Welders, Cutters, Solderers By Body Part The back, neck and shoulder together with the arm and hand regions make up more than one half of the injuries among welders in Washington State. Preventive efforts should therefore focus on those body parts among welders at your workplace. Welding is a strenuous occupation involving work in awkward postures and handling heavy equipment, usually with a high degree of sustained stress to arm and shoulders.

  7. Consequences of a poor working environment • Absences due to injury or illness and the transfer of welders to other tasks • Overtime for replacement workers. Welders are skilled employees • High employee turnover • Increased training and supervisory time • Reduced productivity and quality

  8. OFTEN, MORE THAN 1 RISK FACTOR IS PRESENT WMDS hazards most common in welding • Rigorous manual precision requirements • High degree of uniformity • Awkward and static postures • Difficult work position • Heavy lifting, difficult material handling • Heavy objects, heavy welding equipment • Repetition • High work intensity

  9. Hazard Elements Duration (how long?) Frequency (how often?) Intensity (how hard?)

  10. Common postures adopted in welding Working in front Working at ground level Working above the shoulders Working at ground level, precision work Working at ground level, confined space Working above shoulders, confined space

  11. Awkward Postures Severe torso flexion Awkward postures in welding Torso twisting Kneeling, squatting Bent wrists Neck flexion/extension Shoulder flexion/abduction (separation)

  12. The goal of a healthy work environment To simplify the welding tasks for the welder and reduce the physical load during the work • Automate physically demanding or repetitive jobs • Expand the work content of welders (provide flexibility between jobs) • (Multi-skilled workers who are able to perform different tasks within a group)

  13. The Real World • Often cost, ease of maintenance, space considerations drive the design of the workplace • When hazards can’t be engineered out, using best practices is a good alternative • Examples of good design: providing opportunities for work station adjustments, providing different types of tools, using good planning to eliminate unnecessary work

  14. Ergonomic Solutions for Welding

  15. Use: • Manipulators • Lighter weight welding equipment • Lighter weight cables with low stiffness • Cable supporting balancers • Overhead hoists • Lifting and turning tables Heavy Lifting

  16. Awkward Postures • Position work between waist and shoulder when possible • Provide lifting tables • Use motorized positioning devices • Use welding guns with swivels and designed for use in both hands • Try work stools

  17. BEFORE AFTER Team Lifting Team lifting helps reduce heavy, awkward lifting of equipment and materials. From: SIMA San Diego Ergonomics Program

  18. BEFORE AFTER Tables This picture shows the worker with considerable bending over at the waist Because the work is on a table, the worker doesn’t have to bend over as far From: Shipyard Ergonomics, 2003

  19. Pre-Assembly Pre-assembly and material handling equipment helps reduce unnecessary lifting or any other kind of manual material handling

  20. Ergonomic improvements This rotational clamp for pipe helps reduce awkward postures for the neck, shoulders and arms.

  21. Ergonomic improvements Use wheeled tables for welding work and to transport stock and jobs. This reduces lifting and carrying of heavy materials.

  22. Ergonomic improvements Welding leads on pulleys help reduce heavy and awkward lifting, and minimize static postures.

  23. Ergonomic improvements Robotic automation is a feasible solution to highly repetitive motion with the arms and hands. May also reduce the exposure to fumes.

  24. Possible Consequences Not implementing some or all these ergonomics guidelines may result in the following…

  25. They are cumulative (occur over time and not a result of a single incident): Work-related musculoskeletal disorders • Occur when the physical demands of work cause wear and tear on the body. • Involve soft tissues such as muscles, tendons, ligaments, joints, nerves, blood vessels.

  26. They are not acute injuries such as: Work-related musculoskeletal disorders • Broken bones • Cuts • Slips • Falls • Trips • Motor vehicle accidents • Being struck by or caught with objects

  27. Common disorders among welders • Back injuries • Shoulder pain/loss of range of motion • Tendinitis/Bursitis • Reduced muscle strength • Carpal tunnel syndrome • White finger • Knee joint diseases

  28. The ergonomics cycle shows an organized way to start your ergonomics effort. The Ergonomics Cycle

  29. Credits The technical contents of this slideshow are based upon the presentation developed by Ninica Howard, MS, CPE, research ergonomist with the SHARP program at the Washington state Dept. of Labor and Industries.

  30. More resources • NIOSH’s Ergonomic Interventions in the Building, Repair, and Dismantling of Ships • SHARP Program • Easy Ergonomics. A practical approach for improving the workplace OR OSHA & CAL OSHA Services. • On WMSD hazardous exposures visit the DOSH webpage • Example Template of an accident prevention program : • • Ideas to reduce hazardous exposures can be found at the Ergonomics Ideas Bank • You may also write us at: • ergonomics@LNI.WA.GOV

  31. Thank you

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