Original Date: 03/01/1993
Revision Date: 01/18/2007
Information : Battery Shop Ergonomic Improvements
Improvements made in the Naval Aviation Depot (NADEP), Jacksonville battery shop to eliminate back injuries to shop personnel provide examples of low tech, low cost ideas that work. Until a few years ago, the battery shop experienced a 100% injury rate for shop workers who had worked in the shop for periods of less than one year. The cost for such injuries averaged $8,000 per injury. The Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) office initiated a review of the material handling and work flow processes used by the shop, significantly relying on input from shop personnel. A number of problem areas were identified as significant contributors to the back injury problem.
To address this problem, a battery repair worker designed wheeled roller tables that facilitated convenient same-level movement of batteries from repair area to charge area without lifting. These tables, manufactured in house from scrap materials, proved to be economical and effective. Other roller tables were manufactured at specific heights to facilitate movement of the batteries to multi-height charging stations. A commercially available, pneumatically powered mechanical arm was acquired and adapted to assist in movement of batteries from one work process to another with no physical lifting effort by the worker. A large walk-in refrigerator (reefer) was procured and modified with rollers for moving batteries into and out of the reefer without lifting directly to and from the wheeled roller carts.
These modifications have eliminated the lifting of batteries by battery shop personnel. Since incorporating these changes, no additional back injury has occurred and worker attitude and safety consciousness remains excellent. The number of personnel required to man the battery shop has been reduced to one.
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