Manufacturing Success Stories
SUCCESS STORY #1 - INJURY REDUCTION IN AUTOMOBILE MANUFACTURING
Efforts by ergonomists working at SRI-Ergonomics have resulted in a significant reduction in injuries and their costs within the automotive manufacturing industry. Our close partnership with Honda, in particular, has allowed us to improve the lives of the employees who are doing this work while also increasing productivity and profitability for their employers.
Collaborative projects between SRI-Ergonomics and the automotive industry have ranged from addressing the risk of a single job to fully integrating our macroergonomics architecture across all facilities. A few specific projects are highlighted below.
Door Line Assembly
SRI-Ergonomics partnered with Honda to address the high rates of musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) that were occurring on one of their door assembly lines. The outcome of the project was a reduction of 2.45 work-related MSDs every year on this line, as well as a significant increase in productivity. The $89,000 investment made by Honda, which was divided between workstation modifications and consulting fees, was returned in three months.
Over a five-year period, the increased work efficiency and reduced injury costs that resulted from this project returned $1.8M ($360,000 per year) to Honda's bottom line, creating a 2023% return-on-investment!
In an effort to continue to improve the safety of their workers, Honda asked the SRI-Ergonomics experits to identify and address several ergo-related risks across their North American assembly plants. Just one year after the implementation of our macroergonomics framework in all facilities, injuries fell by 92.9%. This drastic reduction in work-related injuries is estimated to have saved Honda $1.7M in direct medical costs for every 100 strains/sprains eliminated.
In addition to the frequency of injuries, Honda was also comitted to reducing the severity of strain and sprain injuries in their North American assembly plants.
Six years after the continued integration of our marcroergonomics processes, injury severity (defined as days lost due to injury) had dropped by nearly 88%!
SUCCESS STORY #2 - PLUMBING FIXTURES: QUANTIFYING THE IMPACT OF A LIFT ASSIST
Manufacturing plumbing fixtures is very labor-intensive, as it requires multiple lifts throughout the casting, coating, and finishing processes. In addition, the particular toilet fixture being evaluated weighed 57 lbs. Manual handling of these fixtures produced several complaints of back pain, and there was a concern that more serious injuries would develop.
A prototype hoist was devised to support the weight of the fixture as it was moved through the work process. A team from SRI-Ergonomics asked experienced employees to wear a Lumbar Motion Monitor (LMM) as they performed job tasks, both as the job was originally designed and using the hoist.
The results found that this job, at baseline, presented a moderate level of low-back injury risk. The fixture weight imposed the most exposure, and the LMM measured modest amounts of trunk twisting and side-bending (lateral) velocities.
When the hoist was used, the modified job reduced injury risk to a low level. The impact of fixture weight was essentially eliminated, and the impact on trunk motions was negligible.
This evaluation, and these results, confirmed that the proposed solution would indeed create a low injury risk job, and the facility mandated use of the hoist to handle these plumbing fixtures.