A research study published in the journal Applied Ergonomics reveals that rationalisation measures often have a major negative impact on both the physical and psychosocial work environment. “However, the review also presents scientific evidence on how to reduce this problem,” says one of the researchers, at the University of Gothenburg.
“Considerable resources all over the world have been invested in dealing with work-related disorders. But research from the past twenty years has been unable to prove that these investments have led to any general long-term improvement of the physical and psychosocial work environment” says Jørgen Winkel, at the Department of Work Science at the Univesity of Gothenburg, who together with Professor Rolf Westgaard at the University of Trondheim has scrutinized about 10,000 scientific papers. The analyses and results are published in the recent issue of the scientific journal Applied Ergonomics.No long-term effect
* Physical exercise, stress management, ergonomic improvements in chairs, desks, keyboards, tools and other efforts for the individual have not had any demonstrable long-term effect on employee health despite several decades of extensive research within the field.
* Rationalisation measures that lack any preventive focus on work environment most often lead to negative effects for the employees in the form of widespread stress, increased time pressure and unreasonable demands. This may cause poor mental and physical health, for example in the form of anxiety, fatigue and depression and musculo-skeletal disorders.
* It is possible to reduce or even avoid the negative effects of rationalisation measures. This requires a management that prioritises the following issues as an integrated part of the rationalisation processes:
Active employee involvement in the rationalisation and production processes.
• A dialogue-based leadership including all employees.
• Sufficient information for the employees about the rationalisation processes and anticipated results.
• Organisational and social support at the workplace and fair treatment of employees throughout the process.
“Proper consideration of these issues allow a development towards sustainable production systems” says Jørgen Winkel. A ‘Sustainable production system’ is here defined as the joint consideration of competitive performance and working conditions in a long term perspective.
In the study, rationalisation measures are described as being positive and absolutely essential in order to maintain competitive edge on the global market, and thus resources for good working conditions. At the same time, the results do not suggest that we should stop implementing traditional ergonomic measures aimed at individual employees.
Read the article in Applied Ergonomics (2011). Westgaard RH., Winkel J. “Occupational musculoskeletal and mental health: Significance of rationalization and opportunities to create sustainable production systems – A systematic review.”For further information, please contact: Jørgen Winkel
Helena Aaberg | idw
'Living bandages': NUST MISIS scientists develop biocompatible anti-burn nanofibers
16.02.2018 | National University of Science and Technology MISIS
New process allows tailor-made malaria research
16.02.2018 | Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen
For the first time, a team of researchers at the Max-Planck Institute (MPI) for Polymer Research in Mainz, Germany, has succeeded in making an integrated circuit (IC) from just a monolayer of a semiconducting polymer via a bottom-up, self-assembly approach.
In the self-assembly process, the semiconducting polymer arranges itself into an ordered monolayer in a transistor. The transistors are binary switches used...
Breakthrough provides a new concept of the design of molecular motors, sensors and electricity generators at nanoscale
Researchers from the Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry of the CAS (IOCB Prague), Institute of Physics of the CAS (IP CAS) and Palacký University...
For photographers and scientists, lenses are lifesavers. They reflect and refract light, making possible the imaging systems that drive discovery through the microscope and preserve history through cameras.
But today's glass-based lenses are bulky and resist miniaturization. Next-generation technologies, such as ultrathin cameras or tiny microscopes, require...
Scientists from the University of Zurich have succeeded for the first time in tracking individual stem cells and their neuronal progeny over months within the intact adult brain. This study sheds light on how new neurons are produced throughout life.
The generation of new nerve cells was once thought to taper off at the end of embryonic development. However, recent research has shown that the adult brain...
Theoretical physicists propose to use negative interference to control heat flow in quantum devices. Study published in Physical Review Letters
Quantum computer parts are sensitive and need to be cooled to very low temperatures. Their tiny size makes them particularly susceptible to a temperature...
15.02.2018 | Event News
13.02.2018 | Event News
12.02.2018 | Event News
19.02.2018 | Information Technology
19.02.2018 | Ecology, The Environment and Conservation
19.02.2018 | Life Sciences