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
Tracking movement of immune cells identifies key first steps in inflammatory arthritis
23.01.2017 | Massachusetts General Hospital
Team discovers how bacteria exploit a chink in the body's armor
20.01.2017 | University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
For the first time ever, a cloud of ultra-cold atoms has been successfully created in space on board of a sounding rocket. The MAIUS mission demonstrates that quantum optical sensors can be operated even in harsh environments like space – a prerequi-site for finding answers to the most challenging questions of fundamental physics and an important innovation driver for everyday applications.
According to Albert Einstein's Equivalence Principle, all bodies are accelerated at the same rate by the Earth's gravity, regardless of their properties. This...
An important step towards a completely new experimental access to quantum physics has been made at University of Konstanz. The team of scientists headed by...
Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...
Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.
While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...
Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales
Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...
19.01.2017 | Event News
10.01.2017 | Event News
09.01.2017 | Event News
23.01.2017 | Health and Medicine
23.01.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
23.01.2017 | Process Engineering