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Ergonomics In Manufacturing: Cost As An Issue

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1997 Annual Conference


Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Publication Date

June 15, 1997

Start Date

June 15, 1997

End Date

June 18, 1997



Page Count


Page Numbers

2.180.1 - 2.180.6



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Edward Pines

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Session 3263

Ergonomics in Manufacturing: Cost as an Issue

Edward Pines New Mexico State University

Abstract Ergonomics for Manufacturing Systems is a course that was developed to address the needs of a joint engineering and business curriculum at New Mexico State University. Both manufacturing design and production are studied in light of human performance and human variability. This leads to a unique focus on productivity, quality, and cost issues when addressing fitting the task to the human.

Students are drawn from master’s level programs in engineering and business, providing a rich mixture of backgrounds for analysis and discussion. Problems studied include human- computer interfaces in planning, scheduling, and accounting systems, workplace designs for various types of teams, human error, and other ergonomics topics appropriate to the manufacturing environment. The legal and regulatory environment of the manufacturing workplace are introduced to the design process. A design project including workplace evaluation, analysis, and improvement proposals, is conducted with the assistance of NMSU’s Advanced Manufacturing Center.

The term “ergonomic design” is often abused in the marketing of manufacturing equipment and systems. In this course, future manufacturing decisionmakers gain insights and experience that will be used in industry. This paper discusses experience to date, lessons learned, and future plans.

I. Introduction

Do manufacturing business decision makers fully understand the financial and other effects resulting from workplace and job design? Another way to ask this question is: How does one assess the costs of ergonomic improvements against benefits to be derived from the improvements? It is easy to demonstrate improvements in safety that result from workplace redesign but can students demonstrate, to themselves and others, the financial role of such improvements in the manufacturing business? In a sense, risks of injuries, lost productivity, and business malfunctions can be balanced with costs of potential improvements. Considerations of benefits of ergonomic improvements are often lost in fears of potential costs under federal and state statutes.

New Mexico State University offers a joint minor in Manufacturing Engineering and Management to students in engineering and business administration programs. This program was designed to help develop the manufacturing business leaders of the future. As part of this program, a course entitled Ergonomics in Manufacturing Systems was developed by the

Pines, E. (1997, June), Ergonomics In Manufacturing: Cost As An Issue Paper presented at 1997 Annual Conference, Milwaukee, Wisconsin. 10.18260/1-2--6550

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