Warehouse Ergonomics

Before I started my Human Factors degree, I wanted to spend my pre-grad school summer getting some related work experience. I acquired an ergonomics internship position with Siemens in India, wherein I was tasked with the ergonomics evaluation of a warehouse. I presented my results and recommendations to the warehouse manager who implemented the necessary changes and promoted awareness among the workers.

NOTE: The final presentation and analyses can be accessed at the bottom of this page

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cut side of box
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pushing effort on strapping machine
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Trolley railing to be cut
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strapping bending
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Suggested Dispatch Layout

Project Plan

1) Acquire knowledge of warehouse processes

2) Conduct unstructured interviews with workers and assistant managers

3) Identify issues related to repetitive motions, excessive weights, and poor postures

4) Use ergonomics assessment tools such as MOST, RULA, REBA, and the NIOSH lifting guide to calculate risk scores

5) Design and present engineering and administrative solutions

Problems Found

1) Poor knowledge of correct weight and posture guidelines

2) Makeshift equipment requiring excessive physical effort to operate

3) High-heat working conditions

4) Overemphasis on a 'get it done' mindset

5) Workplace retaliation

General Recommended Solutions

1) Height adjustments of box-packing workstations based on anthropometric guidelines

2) Installation of new automated equipment, especially for stapling and transporting heavy items

3) Action-based training on posture management and lifting techniques

4) Better air-flow management in the different sections of the warehouse, with more fans installed in areas of high physical activity

 

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unpacking on ground