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
Organ-on-a-chip mimics heart's biomechanical properties
23.02.2017 | Vanderbilt University
Researchers identify cause of hereditary skeletal muscle disorder
22.02.2017 | Klinikum der Universität München
In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport
Cells need to repair damaged DNA in our genes to prevent the development of cancer and other diseases. Our cells therefore activate and send “repair-proteins”...
The Fraunhofer IWS Dresden and Technische Universität Dresden inaugurated their jointly operated Center for Additive Manufacturing Dresden (AMCD) with a festive ceremony on February 7, 2017. Scientists from various disciplines perform research on materials, additive manufacturing processes and innovative technologies, which build up components in a layer by layer process. This technology opens up new horizons for component design and combinations of functions. For example during fabrication, electrical conductors and sensors are already able to be additively manufactured into components. They provide information about stress conditions of a product during operation.
The 3D-printing technology, or additive manufacturing as it is often called, has long made the step out of scientific research laboratories into industrial...
Nature does amazing things with limited design materials. Grass, for example, can support its own weight, resist strong wind loads, and recover after being...
Nanometer-scale magnetic perforated grids could create new possibilities for computing. Together with international colleagues, scientists from the Helmholtz Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) have shown how a cobalt grid can be reliably programmed at room temperature. In addition they discovered that for every hole ("antidot") three magnetic states can be configured. The results have been published in the journal "Scientific Reports".
Physicist Dr. Rantej Bali from the HZDR, together with scientists from Singapore and Australia, designed a special grid structure in a thin layer of cobalt in...
13.02.2017 | Event News
10.02.2017 | Event News
09.02.2017 | Event News
24.02.2017 | Life Sciences
24.02.2017 | Life Sciences
24.02.2017 | Trade Fair News