NIOSH Health Hazard Evaluation Reports

Question

Describe the issues of the case, and state the purpose for the paper.Methods – State the evaluation criteria used in the NIOSH HHE Report. Results – Present the findings from the Health hazard evaluation.Recommendations – Describe the recommendations for improvements. Discussion – Review relevant literature on the subject. Does research support the recommendations of the case? In addition, are there any other issues of concern?. Conclusion – Present your comments on the case. What did you learn in this review? What more would you like to have seen discussed in the report? In general, your own opinions should only be included in this section

Sample paper

NIOSH Health Hazard Evaluation Reports

Introduction

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) conducted a case analysis to examine workplace safety and health issues. The case analysis specifically focuses on health hazards confronting workers in three eyeglass-manufacturing firms in Minnesota region. The evaluation focused on facility workers completing surfacing and finishing tasks. These workers are exposed to a number of health hazards during their work. The health hazards may trigger life-threatening conditions such as musculoskeletal disorders and other form of injuries. The issues raised in the case relate to awkward postures that workers have to endure while performing various tasks at the facility. The analysis finds that employees are at increased risk of limb and back work-related musculoskeletal disorders (WMSDs). This paper examines the NIOSH Health Hazard Evaluation Report in an eyeglass manufacturing facility located in Minnesota, and provides recommendations for eliminating the health risks associated with poor posture.

Methods

The NIOSH Health Hazard Evaluation (NIOSH HHE) report uses formative evaluation criteria. In formative evaluations, the program is assessed during the entire development stages. In other times, the project can be assessed right from implementation stages and continue to the end. The aim of formative evaluation is to provide crucial details to the project managers concerning how the program can be modified or revised for improvement purposes. Although formative evaluation is often conducted during in pilot and new projects, the evaluation criteria can also be used in assessing the progress of ongoing programs. Formative evaluation enables the project managers to obtain valuable feedback that they can use to make improvements. In order to obtain information, NIOSH observed employees while they engaged in their routine procedures. The NIOSH also conducted measures to establish whether there were appropriate heights and distances for employees doing various tasks.

Results

The findings indicate that workers at the facility use poor postures and engage in monotonous routines during work. This results to high risk of developing musculoskeletal disorders of the shoulder, forearm, elbow, wrist, finger and hand. The employees also face increased risk of developing lower back musculoskeletal issues due to poor posture and monotonous tasks. Employees are exposed to back problems due to tasks involving bending and twisting. The findings indicate that employees involved in finishing and surfacing experienced musculoskeletal disorders of the wrist, shoulder, hand and lower back. The evaluation found a significantly higher level of musculoskeletal disorders and illnesses at the facility compared to other eyeglass manufacturing facilities in the United States.

A number of tasks that employees conduct on frequent basis were identified as the major reason contributing to musculoskeletal disorders. During taping, the team observed that the trays lacked handles, which caused stress during lifting. In blocking, poor posture also contributed to musculoskeletal problems. Employees were seated using the wrong posture since they did not use the backrest of their chairs. In addition, they did not have enough leg clearance. The study also finds that employees working with blocking machines did not rotate, increase the risk of developing musculoskeletal disorders. The workstation tables were fixed, meaning that employees could not be able to adjust their height. Other areas of work such as grinding, tool/pad, finishing, and others had similar challenges.

Recommendations

The report recommends two broad strategies for improvement: engineering controls and administrative controls. Engineering controls work by eliminating exposure of the employee to the hazard. One way of achieving this is by putting a barrier such that the impacts of the hazard on the employee are minimized. This report recommends a number of engineering controls that may improve the situation as follows. First, the report recommends that work surfaces must be of appropriate height rage (27” – 62”). The blocking and assembly areas should have adjustable tables. The visual display monitors should also be placed within appropriate height range with regard to whether the workstation is designed for seating or standing employees. The report also recommends that appropriate height and weight of the trays should apply. For instance, a stack of trays should not extend beyond a worker’s shoulder.

The administrative controls are those initiated by the management with an aim of improving work practices. One of these controls is ensuring employee rotation to avoid repetition of tasks. In order to enhance employee rotation, there is also need to cross-train employees on different tasks. Another important factor is checking the weight of loads that a worker can carry, and the manner of lifting any loads. The report recommends the use of carts for moving loads. A worker should hold a load close to the body to avoid any form of strain. The report also recommends short breaks of about 3-5 minutes for every hour of work. Another key issue is for the company to train employees on the proper use of machines and work posture. For instance, there is need to train employees on how to adjust equipment. It is also important for employees to report any feelings of discomfort to managers for interventional measures to be taken early.

Discussion

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) explore the risks associated with manual handling in working environments. The report indicates that manual handling of weights in the workplace can lead to musculoskeletal disorders in the long term. The report singles out low back pain as the most common musculoskeletal disorder in the workplace today. This report supports the NIOSH HHE report, which finds low back pain as a significant problem in the workplace. Spector, Lieblich, Bao, McQuade, and Hughes (2014) examine the possible ways that managers may employ to eliminate the issues of musculoskeletal disorders. The authors examine the efficacy of various scientific methods such as machine learning (ML) in correcting musculoskeletal disorders. The authors also examine the use of computer vision as key to eliminating work-related musculoskeletal disorders. Computer vision deals with the application of 3D image data. Alvarez-Casado, Zhang, Sandoval and Pedro analyze various ways in which fishermen may reduce musculoskeletal disorders. The study supports the recommendations of the case in that it identifies the risk factors as posture, handling, activity and tools. These are the same risk factors identified in the case. There are no other issues of concern raised.

Conclusion

The case evaluates ergonomic hazards in workplace environments. The report notes that employees are exposed to a number of risk factors that contribute to development of work-related musculoskeletal disorders. Common risk factors include poor posture, repetitive tasks, and forceful exertions. The case is important since it provides one with important information about the risk factors and the measures that one can take to reduce the risk of developing musculoskeletal disorder. For instance, there is need to design the workplace in a way that ensures employees experience comfort while conducting their duties. The report, however, does not give clear details about the musculoskeletal disorders that employees face. The report should provide details about the severity of the various work-related musculoskeletal disorders.

References

Álvarez‐Casado, E., Zhang, B., Sandoval, S. T., & Pedro, M. (2016). Using ergonomic digital      human modeling in evaluation of workplace design and prevention of work‐related           musculoskeletal disorders aboard small fishing vessels. Human Factors and Ergonomics         in Manufacturing & Service Industries, 26(4), 463-472. doi:10.1002/hfm.20321

Spector, J. T., Lieblich, M., Bao, S., McQuade, K., & Hughes, M. (2014). Automation of workplace lifting hazard assessment for musculoskeletal injury prevention. Annals of            Occupational and Environmental Medicine, 26(1), 15. doi:10.1186/2052-4374-26-15

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Hazards and risks associated with manual handling in the workplace. Retrieved from https://osha.europa.eu/en/tools-and-      publications/publications/e-facts/efact14

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