Friday, November 27, 2009

Five ways ergonomics has shaped your life

Article from the BBC Website by Megan Lane on 18 November 2009

They are

1. Behind the wheel - making sure people of all shapes and sizes can get into a car's driving seat
2. Nuclear power stations - design of control rooms
3. Pretty objects - things that are simple and intuitive to use are usually fun to use
4. Under wraps - making packaging that does its job whilst being easy to open
5. In the office - ergonomic keyboards, mice etc.

Not quite sure how these came out as the top five, but a useful illustration.

Andy Brazier

BBC Shipping forecast error

Article in The Register by Lewis Page on 25 November 2009

Parts of the first shipping forecast transmitted on Sunday November 15 - specifically the storm force winds - were actually the same ones sent out early on the previous day. This led to confusion for ships and boats in UK and adjacent waters, as the Force 11 winds predicted off the West Country had actually passed, while other regions were being hard hit.

According to the BBC "The late night announcer at the end of the shift pulled out an email of what she thought was the right shipping forecast and read it out completely unaware it was the wrong forecast. “All I can say is that I am most terribly sorry we got that wrong this was a big error on our part"

Apparently professional seafarers receive the shipping forecast by other, automated means (e.g. NAVTEX text receivers)and yachtsmen and small craft mostly tend to use the inshore-waters Marine VHF broadcasts made by coastguard stations.

The article makes the point that this "does reinforce the lesson that one does well to rely on the professionals - Met office, Coastguard etc, not the BBC or any other media/entertainment organisation - when lives are at stake." Fair enough, but those organisations can also make mistakes.

Andy Brazier

1989 changes to Tyson plant still benefit workers today

On Siouxland's News website 24 November 2009

Changes to ergonomics made at the Tyson Fresh Meats plant, in Dakota City, Nebraska, nearly two decades ago to resolve a labour dispute are still reaping benefits, are now the standard for plants across the company.

The tangible benefits have been "a decrease in the injury and illness rate by 67%." Also, it decreased the amount of worker turnover, which was typically high in the meat packing industry in the 70s

Tyson Foods COO Jim Lochner says, "workplace safety and health did not have the attention and focus. It was more of a productivity game without consideration for the health and well-being of the line worker. And what we had to do was really change that whole philosophy."

The Sioux City Journal also covered this story on 24 November 2009.

It adds to the story by saying "Since 1991, OSHA-recorded injuries and illnesses at the Dakota City plant has dropped 67 percent. The rate of instances requiring the care of a physican are 73 percent below 1991 levels." The company and unions agree the changes created a much safer workplace with key program's success bing the workers themselves who serve as safety and ergonomics monitors and suggest changes to improve worker safety.

Andy Brazier