ATLANTA, Ga. – Jan. 30, 2020 – “Ergonomics is an important topic for the poultry industry, which has also been a great influence on ergonomics,” stated Brad Hammock, shareholder for Littler, during the Ergonomic Improvements in the Poultry Industry program held at the 2020 International Production & Processing Expo (IPPE).
Hammock provided a 35-year overview of ergonomic progress in the poultry industry, highlighting the Medical Ergonomics Training (MET) Program; Joint Poultry Industry and Health Committee; Georgia Tech Research Institute collaboration; with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) assistance, development of guidelines for poultry processing for the prevention of musculoskeletal disorders; and the recent OSHA alliance. Hammock also elaborated on key ergonomic technological advancements, including adjustable workstations, powered knives and scissors, ergonomically designed knives, auto-deboning machines and wearable devices.
Brock Anderson, CEO and principal consultant for Ergo-ology, discussed how to build an ergonomics program. He stated that a holistic ergonomics program has several components, including recognizing existing and potential problems; doing an assessment of ergonomic jobs with potential problems; correcting and preventing ergonomic problems; medical management; ergonomic training and skill development, organization and management of the program; and ergonomics results.
Anderson also reviewed four phases for improvement, comprised of discover, construct, integrate and adjust. In his presentation on “Smart Wearables and Big Data to Prevent Injuries in Food Processing,” Dr. Jason Guss, CEO of Iterate Labs, stated that work-related, musculoskeletal injuries to the upper extremities cost U.S. industrial companies $15 billion every year. He noted that the future of ergonomics is to have continuous monitoring to predict injuries before they occur. Guss mentioned that with current safety methods, musculoskeletal injuries have decreased, especially in the upper extremities and the backs of workers. This reduction in injuries is a result of sensors that monitor the external and internal environment, continually collecting data.