The Efficacy of Biomechanical Training in Decreasing WorkRelated Injuries in a Shipping/Receiving Company: A Comparison Study
Gayle R *, Curry A and Carley P
Journal Title:Ergonomics International Journal
Background of Study: The shipping industry has become progressively more mechanized in the form of conveyor belts, sorting machines, and scanning devices but not all jobs can be automated. It is common for shipping industry’s employees to work 8-12 hours shifts performing various lifting tasks, machine maintenance, and manipulating awkward equipment. Based on the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) reports, there are many shipping and receiving work-related injuries involving mainly the shoulder, back, neck, and feet areas. Many of work tasks involve repetitive actions that include lifting and equipment operation. Even though workers are trained in lifting techniques, there are still frequent injuries reported in this setting causing both employee safety and employer financial concerns. Objective of Study: The purpose of this comparison study is to reduce the prevalence of work related injuries in the shipping and receiving industry through educating employees in proper biomechanics to perform their daily job safely. Design of the Study: A pre-survey was initially administered. Then followed by a 30-minute presentation for education. A second post survey was then provided for comparison. OSHA injury reports were reviewed a year later following the educational sessions. Methods: Pre and post anonymous surveys were completed by94 employees in various positions within a shipping/receiving company. The survey consisted of both multiple choice and circle all that apply. The survey was designed to assess: knowledge, activity level, and interest regarding biomechanics. The training provided by the investigators consisted of visual, verbal, and demonstrative techniques for proper biomechanical posturing. This included lifting, pushing, pulling, standing, twisting, and sitting, as well as basic stretching techniques to be included in daily routines going forward. Results: The results of the comparison between pre-education and post-educational sessions show an approximate 25% increase in employee appreciation and an understanding of posture, stretching, and regular exercise as is relates to daily life and their work place. Following the educational sessions in the reported fiscal year of 2016-2017 the OSHA reported injuries for lifting decreased by 66% and the injuries involving equipment handling decreased by 90%. Limitations: The limitations of this study include: small sample size, limited amount of time for educational sessions and time constraints of data collection due to shipping companies operational window, some employees had received some type of physical therapy in the past, and the OSHA data that has been collected regarding the injuries reported from the shipping company are not yet complete due to fiscal year ending in September 2018. Conclusion: Based on the subjective data collected via survey and the decrease in OSHA reported work-related injuries the authors conclude that with proper education and awareness regarding stretching, exercise, and proper biomechanics it is possible to decrease the number of work-related injuries within the shipping and receiving industry.