Participatory ergonomics applied in installation work

Appl Ergon. 2002 Sep;33(5):439-48. doi: 10.1016/s0003-6870(02)00033-9.


This paper evaluates a step-by-step participatory approach to better work, applied in reducing the musculoskeletal workload in installation work. To arrive at a reduction in workload, a steering group led the project through the following steps: 1.

Introduction: defining the goal and informing all 7000 employees. 2.

Analysis: finding major loading tasks. 3. Solution phase: creating solutions in group sessions and prioritise. 4.

Testing: promising solutions were tested during real operations. 5. Implementing: spreading the knowledge through the whole company and asking for additional solutions. 6.

Evaluation: the effect and process were evaluated. The result was that 138 devices were bought. Seven out of nine devices were used daily. Users reported a good or very good reduction in musculoskeletal loading and were satisfied. The project was cost-effective within 1 year. Adding organizational measures or system solutions could have increased the effect, and more direct participation could have increased the impact. The first steps (introduction, analysis of work, solution generation and user tests) were well organized and contributed to the success. The processes in the last steps were unstructured and the evaluation was not representative. Sixty additional devices were suggested by employees of which 12 were selected. These devices seemed a success, but no data could be obtained on the use and experience with these solutions.

MeSH terms

  • Ergonomics*
  • Humans
  • Knee
  • Lifting*
  • Male
  • Musculoskeletal Diseases / prevention & control*
  • Netherlands
  • Occupational Diseases / prevention & control*
  • Occupational Health
  • Task Performance and Analysis
  • Workload