We are proud to acknowledge The Timken Company in Manchester, CT as the winner of the 2011 Find It – Fix It Challenge and John Deere Turf Care in Fuquay-Varina, NC and Ashland Water Technologies in Nantou, Taiwan as Honorable Mentions. We would also like to recognize all the participating companies that submitted entries to this year’s Challenge. Not only does it take time and effort to implement and roll out effective ergonomics processes, but it takes time to conduct proper ergonomic assessments to determine which tasks cause the most risk for injury.
Timken’s entry focused on improving the posture and comfort of the worker responsible for deburring a bull gear, weighing 856lbs., by improving its accessibility. Prior to the fix, the worker manually deburred the gear twice – deburring is the finishing method used to smooth roughedges on metal. The operation was performed with the gear placed on a cart and in a horizontal position. The worker had to stand and bend over the gear, in order to reach the gear teeth, for several hours. When the first side was complete, the gear was flipped 180-degrees to deburr the other side.
The company engineered a solution that raised the gear to eye level and positioned the gear to a vertical and upright position. Now the worker is able to perform the operation without bending. This reduces the injury risk of handling the gear, decreases the time spent deburring, improves accessibility and comfort of the worker, and reduces the stresses placed on the neck, back, shoulders and elbows.
Prior to John Deere Turf Care’s Mid-Z Eyebolt entry, the operator had to manually turn a nut on the eyebolt, three-quarters of the way down, 240 times a day. By mounting an air tool to a fixture with a foot control, the operator only has to start the nut; the tool turns the nut to its required location on the eyebolt within seconds.
Lastly, Ashland Water Technologies’ Raw Material Transfer fix eliminated all hand, leg and back issues. Prior to the improvement, the operator had to break apart frozen material by striking it with a stick. By providing equipment to compress the pail hard enough to break the frozen material, the operator is no longer required to manually strike the container.
All 200 entries submitted were proven to be successful and contribute towards maintaining and sustaining effective ergonomics processes. Congratulations and thank you for sharing your ergonomics tips with us. View the recorded webinar announcing the winners and highlighting the 15 finalists or read the press release. The 2012 Find It – Fix It Challenge is scheduled to kick off in early summer.