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ERG

DES

GUI

FOR

ONOMIC IGN
ONOMIC
IGN
LIBRARIES
LIBRARIES

DELINES

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Acknowledgements

This booklet was prepared by Judy Village, Program Leader, Ergonomics, British Columbia Research Corporation, with the assistance of the staff at the Vancouver Public Library (VPL).

Preparation and distribution of the booklet was funded by Labour Canada, Technology Impact Program.

This project was an effort of a Joint Management–Union committee, composed of VPL Management and Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) Loc. 391 representatives. The project became a success due to many hours of hard work by staff members at the VPL and their vision of improved library design.

Special thanks go to Brian Campbell, Systems and Planning Director, John Cull, Head Librarian, Fine Arts & Music Division, and Heather Inglis, Representative of CUPE Loc.

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Ergonomic Design Guidelines for Libraries

Ergonomics is the application of knowl-edge about human capabilities and limitations to the design of workplaces, equipment methods and work organization, utilized to enhance the effectiveness of safety, health, comfort and efficiency.

Important ergonomic considerations in library design include:

choice of technology for library operations

physical design and layout of floor space and work stations

choice of furnishings and equipment

methods of handling books and materials

systems for coding information about books

devices for moving materials

organizational issues, such as the design of job tasks and scheduling

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Introduction

The Vancouver Public Library and CUPE, through Ergonomists at B.C. Research, had an opportunity to review the important ergonomic considerations in library design. The goal of these efforts was to make recommenddations to improve work conditions in the current libraries, and to contribute to the organization and design of the new Central Library. Thanks to funding from Labour Canada’s Technology Impact Program, the Vancouver Public Library (VPL) was used as a laboratory for the prototyping, evaluating and recommending of solutions to problems that are common to all libraries.

The purpose of this booklet is to share with other libraries the results of investigations carried out by the Vancouver Public Library and B.C. Research, in order to facilitate improvements in work design in other libraries across Canada.

It may be a surprise to all but library workers that many library tasks resemble those of industrial work. Library work features elements of heavy lifting, pushing and pulling, repetitive hand-arm and shoulder motions, skilled decision-making, concentrated interactions with technology, and requirements for communication with the p ublic. The weight and volume of materials that are manually handled can be likened to combined assembly and warehousing functions. A large central public library may handle 2.5 million loan model in transactions per year

In the past, libraries were designed more for their aesthetic and service functions, rather than with an “industrial process” mind. Given the increasing demand for information in today's world, library design is forced to embrace tile technologies and materials flow considerations long employed in

manufacturing. Libraries must seek to move materials as quickly and efficiently as possi-

b le

by

utilizing

new technologies and

p rocesses while helping reduce the physical stresses and strains experienced by

employees.

 

The public sector suffers from ongoing budget restraint and financial strain, sometimes making ideal ergonomic design difficult. However, simply by understanding the job stresses and seeking systematic methods for reducing them, many ergonomic improvements can be realized without major financial outlay. With the pace of today's work, we must apply ergonomics to our tasks. Poorly designed jobs result in employee stress, injuries, accidents, inefficiencies, productivity losses and errors – all of which cost the individual, the organization and the society.

If you happen to be in the fortunate position of b uilding or expanding your library, it is the ideal and most cost-effective time to consider ergonomic improvements early in the design stage. Even if this is not the case, however, there are many ways these guidelines can help you make improvements to equipment design, work methods and work organization within your library. We hope they will be useful to you.

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THE

APPLICATION

OF

ERGONOMICS

• • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

• •

THE RESEARCH PROCESS

It was important to first obtain information from staff, through questionnaire analysis, about pain, fatigue and injury in various tasks and jobs. This was useful for identifying the areas where job design improvements were most needed. Videotape analyses were conducted to better understand and document library tasks and individual steps taken in each task. A series of focus group sessions with staff from different areas of the library yielded further information about job stresses and started the seeking of solutions through a b rainstorming process. Staff became further involved in the study through the formation of four subcommittees that worked under the direction of a central research committee. Subcommittees were given the task of p rototyping and evaluating solutions and making recommendations to the central committee. The ergonomist worked with the various committees to help systematically study the problems and evaluate various solutions. In some cases, this involved sophisticated data collection to compare various methods or equipment types. Electromyography (EMG) of muscle activity and joint angle analysis was used to investigate the stresses involved when using different grip types, various bookends and alternative methods of straightening a row of b ooks. WATBAK software was used with the lifting guidelines produced by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) to analyze stresses to the back that individuals may experience when lifting loads of books in various postures. New equipment prototypes were compared using questionnaire evaluations completed by library staff. A major outcome of the work was a series of design specifications to be used by architects when planning new libraries.

This project illustrates the important components involved in achieving effective application of ergonomics:

Obtaining commitment from senior man- agement and employee representatives for the ergonomic improvements.

Increasing awareness of ergonomics among all staff.

Identifying areas where ergonomics will most effectively reduce employee stresses.

Communicating concerns about equipment, work methods and organizational design among employees.

Researching alternative equipment, methods and organization of tasks.

Testing and evaluating new ideas.

 

Implementing

short-term

solutions

in

the

current facilities.

Designing

long-term

solutions

for

incorporation into the future facilities.

The ergonomist facilitates this process, allowing participants to discover and take ownership of solutions.

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WHAT ARE

MATERIALS

HANDLING

INJURIES AND

WHY ARE

LIBRARY

WORKERS AT

RISK?

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• •

Workers performing tasks that have elements of high repetition, forceful motions, or awkward postures are prone to muscular injuries especially ones that affect to the back, hands, wrists and arms. In some organizations libraries included – there are ongoing lost-time injuries and medical aid reports for muscular injuries.

Library tasks and equipment found to contribute to injury include:

Repetitious handling of heavy books (this includes carrying, lifting and check-out of materials)

Extensive use of the computer and keyboard

Unnecessary handling of tasks (such as relocating books to different shelves when shelves are overfull)

Taking a heavier load than necessary when moving or recovering materials

Carrying a load of books in one hand and using the other hand to shelve

Using equipment that is difficult to operate (such as book trucks that are hard to push and bookends that do not slide easily)

A reduction in hand, arm and back injury risk could be achieved by:

Reducing task repetitions (by eliminating tasks such as the opening and closing of books, combining several tasks, mechanizing certain aspects, job rotation or job enrichment)

Decreasing demands of individual tasks

(for example, sliding books rather than having to lift them)

Improving work areas, allowing for better posture

Re-designing or purchasing equipment

that meets ergonomic criteria

Excessive reaches and awkward postures, due to poor equipment design and crowded work area

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Design Guidelines For Libraries

 

In many cases, the following design concepts can best be realized when designing a new library or making a facility upgrade. However, even in existing libraries, improvements can be made within each of these categories. The following table outlines the major design concerns that have caused or contributed to

problems in libraries, the design concepts that should be followed to minimize the problems, and specific examples of how to implement the design concepts. There will be many other ways to implement the design concepts within your own facility; the examples are meant to provide several ideas.

Major Design Concerns

Design Concept

 

Specific Examples

 

Inefficient flow of materials

Carefully

plan

the

layout

of

Materials

can

be

rough-sorted

 

equipment

and

sequences

of

immediately and automatically,

tasks.

using optical character

 

recognition, when they are

returned

to

the

library.

For

arrival

of

new

materials

and

movement of material between

 

branches, consider

mechanical

aides such as computerized tube

systems, electric track vehicles, vertical and horizontal

conveyors,

automated

guided

vehicle systems and rollers.

 
   

Combine bar-coding

and

Excessive handling of books and other materials by employees

Reduce the number of steps in a process.

sensitizing of materials into one step. Automated sorting of books upon their return should be linked to a mechanical materials moving system. Place barcodes on the outside of books and have patrons pick up due date information to eliminate the opening and closing of books. Consider the option of patron self-checkout.

 

Excessive manual movement of books and other materials

Use mechanical aides as much as possible.

Move large volumes of materials automatically with chutes, rollers, conveyors, etc. For short distances, design book trucks that are manoeuvrable and can be used in the aisles to shelve from. Design false-bottom bins to hold books and bring them to hip height.

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Major Design Concerns

Design Concept

Specific Examples

Lack of space for both storage and

Provide

adequate

space

and

Leave one waist-height shelf

movement of materials

flexibility for a variety of tasks

1/3 empty in each bay for

and for

the

growth

of

the

book returns throughout the

collection and number of users.

life of the building. Provide space at the ends of bays for trucks or bins.

Long periods of time being spent

Design

workstations to

Work

surfaces and

seating

in awkward static-work postures.

accommodate a range of adult

should

be

fully

adjustable.

Lack of opportunity to vary

males and females and allow for

Footrests

and

task

lamps

posture. Excessive reaching and bending.

the accommodation of various positions (sitting, standing and

should be provided. Equipment (such as keyboards

sit-stand) and flexibility in layout

and

monitors)

should

be

of equipment.

movable,

such

that

staff

 

members

can

adjust

their

Difficulties for staff and patrons to see and identify materials and library areas. It is inefficient for staff to be interrupted in order to help patrons.

Areas of the library and library materials should be easy to locate and identify for both patrons and staff.

positions to suit their needs. Minimize the number of books placed on very high and very low shelves, to reduce

reaching and bending.

A consistent system (such as colour coding) for organizing

the

library by subject areas

could be used for directional information, as well as sorting information on collection materials. Locations of signs and information displayed on signs should facilitate directions to areas and facilities.

Staff members experience stress

Careful consideration must be

Where

concentrated,

non-

from conflicting

demands

of

given to the type of work

patron work

is required, the

serving

the

public while

performed in each work area and

work station should be private

attempting to complete other job

for what time duration, especially

and free of noise and

tasks.

when dealing with the public.

disturbances. Where stressful

 

patron work

is

required,

a

minimum of

other

tasks

should be tackled.

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• •

Specific Design Concepts For Libraries

The Canadian Standards Association published "A

Guideline

on

Office

Ergonomics"

 

(CAN/CSA-Z4l2-

M89)

document

in

October

1989. With the

permission

of

the

Association, this material

is reproduced (Copyright

CSA, 178 Rexdale

Boulevard,

Etobicoke,

Ontario,

Canada

M9W

1R3). For more detailed

and

up-to-date

information,

see

the

current

edition

of

the

CSA

Catalogue of

Standards.

This CSA

figure

highlights the important considerations involved in choosing furniture and optimizing posture for

com puter workstations;

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Sufficient

adjustability

in

all

furniture

and

The CSA guidelines recommend that the seat

equipment

(chair,

work

surface,

document

pan be 450 mm wide a nd not more than 430

holder

and

screen)

mu st

be

provided

for

mm deep, with a waterfall shape on the front

workers to be able to adjust their workstation

 

edge. The angle of the seat pan should be

for

their

personal

needs

and

work

adjustable, between 3° forward and 4° back.

organization.

Good working posture involves minimizing concentrations of pressure in sensitive areas (such as the back of the knees), and providing

With an adjustable work surface height, a seat height adjustable between 380-520 mm will accommodate 90 per cent of people.

the opportunity to vary postures. This involves not only chair design but work surface height, design and layout of equipment and lighting.

The backrest should be curved (40-50 mm) in the lumbar region; it should also be adjustable, so the curve is 200-250 mm above the seat to

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support to

the

back.

Recommended

backrest dimensions are 380-530 mm in

 

height and 350-480 mm in width.

 

Footrests should be movable and have an adjustable upward slope, between 10- 20°. They should be at least 300 mm wide and 300 mm deep.

 

Work surface heights should be level to or slightly lower than the worker's elbow, to prevent the worker from either reaching down or lifting his or her shoulders. With a separate keyboard (30 mm thick), an adjustable height of 600- 730 mm should be provided.

2. WORKING

In general, working heights should be made

The following are general guidelines:

 

HEIGHTS

as adjustable and practical as possible. Where heights cannot be adjusted (for

 

example, with working counters) optimal heights should be chosen for the particular task (lower with heavy work, higher with meticulous work) taking into consideration

the size ranges of males and females who might be working at the particular workstation. Where heights cannot be

 

91-100 cm.

 

adjustable, it may be possible to bring the worker to the appropriate height with chairs or sit-stand stools. It is possible to reduce the stresses of standing by providing foot-

rest bars or anti-fatigue mats where standing is required.

If no

flexibility

is

available

and

To minimize head and neck fatigue, the monitor should be located between the eye level and a 45° horizontal pan angle below.

The CSA Guidelines provide a description of how to conduct an ergonomic analysis to identify computer workstation problems and a "Potential Solutions Checklist" to guide the user through the identification of solutions.

counters (assuming the worker stands; minimal lifting of materials is required and both males and females use the workplace): 90-105 cm.

pull-out shelves (for resting an armful of b ooks while shelving with two hands):

b ook trucks (assuming workers lift from the truck; also for sorting materials on the truck): 88-107 cm.

the

situation is awkward for employees, opportunities to change tasks (job rotation ) ma y be considered.

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• • •
3.
LAYOUT
OF
WORK
Tasks that are done repetitively, require
lifting, or demand high muscular forces
should be accomplished within the close
reach of the worker. Only infrequent or light
work should be done in the farthest zone to
reach. For example, scanners, keyboards and
desensitizers should be located in the close
range, in a layout that minimizes steps and
movement distances. Adjustability and
flexibility should be provided for individual
workers to adjust the workstation to meet
personal requirements.
4.
POSTURE
An example of a sit-stand workstation is shown.
For many of the traditional workstations in a
library (check-in, checkout, information, etc.),
the design should accommodate a variety of
working postures (i.e. sitting, standing, and sit-
stand). This presents workers with the option to
change and vary the loads and stresses
associated with each posture throughout the
workday. It also provides sufficient flexibility
for people to work in any number of postures.
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• • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

 
 

• • •

5.

AISLE

For public-access areas, where the

For public-access areas, where the

WIDTH

activities shown in the diagram to the right are meant lo occur, the

 

AND

minimum aisle widths are given. These are based on guidelines found in reference 2. The use of a

SHELVING

small book truck or cart is recommended in shelving

HEIGHTS

p rocedures, to minimize the carrying and handling of books and allow for two-handed shelving

p rocedures. Closed

slack

areas

may be designed to be narrower, since the public will not require access.

The minimum aisle width to accommodate a

the maximum recommended height for

b ook truck and a person passing alongside is

repetitive reaches

is

163

cm

(64

").

If

137 cm (4'6"). To accommodate a person crouching and another walking past, the minimum width is 147 cm (4'10").

shelves are higher than this, it is recommended that the volume of books on the top shelves be kept to a minimum. The lowest shelf for a squatting adult should be a

For shelvers to work safely and efficiently, and to accommodate the smallest workers,

minimum of 30 cm (12") from the ground.

 

4.

POSTURE

A consistent coding system should be used throughout the library, preferably using colour and a back-up coding system, to provide:

should be consulted prior to designing such a coding system. For example, the use of colour (as opposed to black and white) has

 

directional information about the location of divisions and facilities

b een shown to reduce searching time from 45-70 per cent. Care should be taken, however, not to use too many colours and to make sure the contrast is high. Optimal

division-specific information to locate areas of interest

character heights, widths and fonts should be chosen for readability at a maximum distance of 76 cm (30"). For example, letter

material-specific

information

to

height at a 71 cm viewing distance (28")

distinguish

from

others

(classification

should be 0.3 cm (0.1") for non-critical

numbers)

information and 0.6 cm (0.2") for critical

Provision for visual aides (signs and labels) on shelves will help reduce searching time for

information. The location of visual aides (height and frequency) must also be investigated. Ideally, visual information should be within the optimal range of eye motion (122 cm-178 cm, 48-70").

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1.

LIFTING

DEVICES

2.

BOOK

TRUCKS

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• • •

Equipment Guidelines

These guidelines were developed based on analysis of lifting tasks with reference to the NIOSH guidelines on manual lifting.

When measuring the lifting stresses involved in the handling of a tote box (21" wide) of books from floor to table height, the following ideal and maximum loads will help minimize back injuries due to heavy lifting.

 

IDEAL

ABSOLUTE

TASK

LOAD

MAXIMUM

Lifting floor to table

10.9

kg

32

kg

height 4 X per hour to a maximum of 15 lifts

(24 lbs)

(71 lbs)

Lifting floor to table

13.6

kg

41

kg

height 1 X per hour

(30 lbs)

(90 lbs)

Workers who routinely lift these loads more frequently or lift more than the ideal load should use a lifting device such as the one shown.

••••••••••••••• 1. LIFTING DEVICES 2. BOOK TRUCKS • • • • • • • • •

Book trucks are a fundamental piece of equipment used in all library settings. Well- designed trucks can relieve a worker from p hysical lifting and carrying of loads. If not well designed, book trucks can contribute to heavy lifting. Trucks must be light to push, maneuverable, have adjustable handholds for different worker heights, and preferably have some adjustability in the height of the books, or ability to rotate lower shelves to the height of the upper shelf. A library may choose to have different trucks for different purposes. Some materials handling tasks can be better performed using light-weight, highly- maneuverable carts. Specific design features include:

Wheels of a large diameter, hard composition, a crowned tread, and good bearings to reduce pushing forces

Two high-centre wheels, to increase

turning capacity Handles of appropriate dimensions and height; for horizontal handles; a height of 91-112 cm (36-44") with 20 cm (8") of horizontal extension is recommended; vertical handles may be used for narrow trucks (truck width less than 51 cm or 20"). They can accommodate a variety of worker heights.

 

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• • •

3.

BOOK-

Bookends must slide easily when placing a

amount of resistance for horizontal stability.

ENDS

b ook onto a shelf or straightening a row of b ooks, yet they should be stable enough to hold a shelf-load of books upright. They should have a finish on the bottom (cork or composition) to provide the appropriate amount of resistance for horizontal stability.

An L-shaped design, formed from solid heavy-gauge steel, was found to be best. Avoid lighter stamped models with narrow tongues. A heavy-baked enamel finish is recommended, to reduce abrasive edges.

4.

KICK

Kick stools help to bring library workers or

shelves. Kick stools should be light in weight

STOOLS

p atrons within easier reach of books on the upper shelves. They should be readily available, ideally attached to the lower portion of the shelving unit, or within each bay of

(4.5 kg, 10 lbs), of a metal frame construction, have corrugated rubber surfaces on steps, and p rovide a stable stepping surface (28 cm, 11" wide).

5.

PULL-OUT

Shelving books with one hand while carrying

waist height, they allow shelvers to put down

SHELVES

a load of books in the other arm is physically stressful and tiring for both arms. Likewise,

an armload of books and shelve with two hands. They will also be useful for patrons.

lifting books from floor to waist height (when standing from a squat with a load of books) has been shown, in the lifting analyses, to result in unnecessary load to the back and can be potentially harmful to the knees. If workers eliminated the need to stand from a squat with a load of books, it would reduce their lifting stresses by 25 per cent. Pull-out, lectern-type

Features of the pull-out shelves include: depth of 30-38 cm (12-15"), close fit under the parent shelf (minimal space between a pull- out shelf and regular shelf), safety catch at the limit of travel, rounded corners, non-skid surface, smooth surface underneath, and

surfaces (consultation shelves) are one so l uti o n In stall ed at fr eque n t in te r va ls at

capacity of 18-23 kg (40-50 lbs).

6.

BOOK-

False- b ottom book bins may be used in many

between locations, all the maneuverability

BINS

departments of a library, and especially in circulation. A well-designed book-b in should remain stable, in order to uniformly raise the load of books to the level of the top of the bin. Regardless of the load or its distribution in the b in, books should be delivered to workers at hip height. If the book bins are to be pushed

features of the book trucks, such as well designed wheels and handles, should also be incorporated into book bins.

   

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• •

Work Methods: Shelving and Sorting

Shelving and sorting materials are activities common to all library settings. Due to the weight of the materials, highly repetitive handling, extremes of reaching and bending, and visual searching and acuity required for p roper placement of books, these activities p lace considerable stress on staff. The following suggestions will help to minimize muscular stresses:

Workers should be able to share shelving tasks with other library tasks, and take frequent, informal breaks to minimize extended periods of shelving.

To minimize the carrying of books, it is

recommended that

as

employees

use

equipment such

light-weight book

trucks or carts to transport books within

the aisles

Analysis of muscular activity and hand positions revealed higher stresses when shelving on the very high and very low shelves. A minimal amount of material should be placed on these shelves.

Two-handed shelving reduces the loads to the dominant hand and results in more neutral hand positions than shelving with one hand. Use of pullout shelves, book trucks or empty shelf space to store books will facilitate two-handed shelving.

Ability to share shelving tasks and work together with a co-worker can help to vary the tasks and minimize stresses.

A pinch grip (between thumb and tips of fingers) should be avoided when shelving; rather, a full-hand power grip or,

preferably, two-handed grip used.

should

be

Areas where shelving and sorting activities are performed should provide sufficient space for maintenance of good working postures.

Extreme wrist angles and ranges of movement, especially flexion, extension,

radial and

ulnar deviation (as shown

below) should be minimized when handling materials.

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Since repetitive lifting of materials is a factor in shelving, stress to the back, as a result of such activity, is a concern. To minimize back problems, the recommended loads based on the NIOSH guidelines for different shelving tasks are shown below. For example, for a worker repetitively lifting

books from waist height to a top shelf, the maximum load recommended in each lift is

  • 8 kg (17.6 lbs.)

Recommended

Shelving Task

Maximum

  • 1 Lifting from waist level to top shelf

  • 8.0 kg (17.6 lbs)

  • 2 Lifting from floor to top shelf

  • 4.9 kg (10.8 lbs)

  • 3 Stand from squat with armload of books

  • 7.7 kg (17 lbs)

  • 4 Lift from floor to top

  • 4.7 kg (10.3 lbs)

of stack on table (1.3

m)

  • 5 Lifting from bottom row on cart to top

  • 7.7 kg (16.9 lbs)

1. WORK

ORGANIZATION

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• •

Organizational Guidelines

Physical design for ergonomic effectiveness is only part of the story. The organizational dimension must also be considered. Job design, task training, leadership and supervision must complement goals of physical ergonomic design.

In a safe, efficient and satisfying work place, employees will have:

a variet y of tasks in their j ob

JOB DESIGN

Supervisors may ensure an optimal level of variety within jobs by:

  • 1. Using a flexible scheduling system to b ring in additional casual staff during p eak load periods, avoiding prolonged periods of intensive materials handling.

  • 2. Regularly rotating usually assigned tasks among staff during each shift (task rotation).

  • 3. Regularly

rotating

tasks

normally

 

p erformed by staff in a different

category and assigning

them

to

other

staff members (job rotation).

 

In

all

cases,

consideration

of

effective

training and the wishes of the workers involved are of paramount importance.

FLEXIBLE SCHEDULING

Peak

load conditions create extreme

the ability to participate in the decision- making process regarding their job

knowledge of good body mechanics

training in the correct use of equipment

supervision and training that emphasizes safe working habits

p rograms for early recognition and rehabilitation of injuries.

handling work should consider budgeting for additional casual staff to handle seasonal peaks. Libraries using primarily part-time or casual staff are better able to schedule

around peak loads.

Staff may be scheduled to work during non- p ublic hours, such as early morning or late night, to perform concentrated tasks such as

computer work or shelving tasks, since the absence of patrons will make the work more efficient.

TASK ROTATION

An ideal job description will encompass a wide range of tasks to allow for job variety and reduction of physical loads due to any single repetitive task. Task rotation can b reak up long periods of routine book handling, for example.

JOB ROTATION

Job rotation is advised for staff whose only

increases in material flow. Libraries where

tasks

are

those

identified

as

potentially

full-time staff members are responsible for

straining, such as shelving, extended

the materials

computer use, circulation

check-in and

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• • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

 

• • •

checkout, and sorting and filing books. In a

 

are trained in several jobs

 

unionized environment, this may require specific negotiation regarding pay grades and job classifications.

Recommendations for well-designed rotation include:

A proper system of rotation involves careful design of tasks to ensure that subsequent

- extensive discussions between all parties involved prior to job rotation

tasks do not stress similar muscles and

- gradual increase in range of tasks

 

joints. Apart from

a reduction

in

risk

of

- provision of adequate training in the

injury and fatigue, rotation has other benefits:

various jobs

- design of the rotation cycle geared

- decrease in mental monotony

 

toward the type of work and wishes of

- increase in variety of work content

 

the workers involved

- better knowledge and understanding of

For some library

workers

who

spend

other operations

extended amounts of time with the public

- break in exposure to environmental

and report high levels of perceived job

factors such as draught and noise

stress, a variety

of

tasks

away

from

the

public should be considered.

- increased job security, since workers

 

2. ACQUIRING

A systematic procedure is recommended for

- equipment type

Once one or several types of equipment have

A similar form may be used to evaluate

AND

acquiring and evaluating new equipment for a library. The process should involve input

been ordered, systematic trials should be carried out, featuring as many library staff members as possible. Using an equipment

EVALUATING

and consensus from those who will be using the equipment. An Equipment

evaluation form, staff can evaluate the new equipment against other types and their

NEW EQUIPMENT

Selection/Order Form may be used for staff to specify:

current type.

alterations to work methods.

AND WORK

- description of function

 

METHODS

- description of users

 

Rankings can be calculated and compared statistically between equipment or work

- dimensions

method types, to help form the basis for selection by consensus.

- functional criteria and design features

- finish

- other considerations (including cost).

Full-size evaluation forms are included at the end of this booklet, for your use.

16

3. TRAINING AND

SUPERVISION

••••••••••••••• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

• • •

Training and supervision are important elements to an overall program; however, it should be kept in mind that they will never overcome materials handling problems due to bad design. Training must become p art of the program, not the only element thereof.

A structured on-going training program should be established and should receive commitment from management, supervisors and staff. It should encompass the ergonomic aspects of equipment design, selection and implementation and work methods. Supervisors should be trained and encouraged to become instructors and coaches for their staff.

The health and safety program should be active in the area of training and help to highlight areas where development of new training is needed The health and safety committee should take a progressive and p roactive approach to work and equipment design to prevent problems from occurring b y recognizing situations that have the potential for problems.

ASPECTS OF A TRAINING PROGRAM

Topics to be included:

description of materials handling injuries and how they occur, including the movements, postures and activities associated with injury (for example, extreme postures, repetitive and forceful hand-arm movements, twisting with a load, extended reaches with a load and asymmetrical lifting)

discussion of why library workers are prone to Injury

understanding of library tasks and equipment that might be associated with increased risk of injury (for example, lifting repetitively overhead and carrying excessive loads in one arm)

alterations made to work methods that can help reduce injuries (for example, maximum recommended loads to lift and handle, ways to handle loads safely, grip types, minimizing high and low reaches, avoiding one-handed work, and pushing loads, rather than carrying or lifting)

alterations

to

work

organization

(for

example,

job

rotation)

that

can

help

reduce injuries

 

demonstration of good working postures, why workstations should be individually adjusted for each employee; how workstations can be adjusted to each individual, and how a variety of work postures can be achieved

guidelines for workers who begin to feel an Injury

discussion of procedures for acquiring and evaluating new types of equipment and work method, to make the job less demanding

17

•••••••••••••••

• • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

 
 

• •

WHEN TO TRAIN?

 

Training should be on-going within an organization, but special attempts should be made for:

Alternatively, training can be performed by an outside group, provided group members have knowledge specific to the library environment. A train-the-trainer type of program often works most effectively.

new employees or employees changing jobs

In designing task-related training programs, the following steps are recommended:

acquisition of new equipment

- conduct a task analysis to understand

new procedures or methods

all important components of the task

changes in technology

- set realistic and measurable objectives for the training program

employees returning to work following

 

an injury

-

develop

materials

the training program and

WHO SHOULD TRAIN AND HOW?

- develop an evaluation procedure for

Training can be performed by personnel

measuring

the

effectiveness

of

the

within the library who have become

training program.

 

knowledgeable about materials handling

It is the responsibility

of supervisors to

injuries and job design. These personnel may b enefit from the assistance of ergonomists in developing training programs.

recognize the need for training, initiate the organization of a training program and follow up on results of such a program with their staff.

4. INJURY

   

RECOGNITION

An established program, actively encouraged by both management and union, should be established for the reduction of risk factors

This is important for strengthening muscles and preventing the recurrence of injury. Careful analysis of tasks and work duration

AND

associated with materials handling. Important components of the program include:

is a crucial part of the return-to-work p rogram, as is the monitoring of the injury condition.

REHABILITATION

identification

of risk factors (see

The Occupational Health and Safety

checklist)

Committee within libraries should be the first stop for complaints or concerns about

response to needs of injured workers, including provision of alternate work, increased rotation of tasks, etc.

materials handling issues. The committee has the ability and authority to evaluate the nature of the materials handling problems, employees at risk to injury, and ways to

return-to-work program for injured workers, including modified tasks and durations or alternate work

reduce the risk of injury .

•••••••••••••••

• • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

• • •

References

  • 1. Canadian Standards Association 1989,

A Guideline on Office Ergonomics, CAN/ CSA-Z412-M89, Rexdale, Ontario, Canada.

  • 2. Thompson, Codfrey., 1989, Planning

and Design of Library Buildings,

Butterworth Architecture.

  • 3. Dyer, Hilary and MorTis, Anne, 1991,

Human Aspects o f Library Automation,

Cower Publishing Company Limited, England.

Other Ergonomic References

  • 1. Crandjean, E., 1980, Fitting the Task to

the Man: An Ergonomic Approach, 3rd

Ed, Taylor & Frances, London.

  • 2. Eastman Kodak Company, 1983,

Ergonomic Design for People at Work - Volume 1 and 2, S.H. Rodgers (Ed.), Van

Norstrand Reinhold Co., New York.

  • 3. Konz, S., 1983, Work Design:

Industrial Ergonomics, 2nd Ed., John Wiley & Son, Toronto, Canada.

•••••••••••••••

  • 1. JOB

  • 2. TASK

DESCRIPTION

  • 3. REPETITIVNESS

  • 4. FORCEFULNESS

  • 5. POSTURE

• • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

• • •

Checklist For Identification Of Risk Factors Associated With Hand-Arm And Back Injuries

Use the checklist to compare risk among jobs, or to evaluate changes made to a job in order to reduce materials handling injuries. The more “yes” answers you have for a particular job, the higher the risk for materials handling injuries.

Job Title: _________________________________________________________________________

MAIN TASKS

AMOUNT OF TIME PERFORMING WORK

NO

YES

Are any tasks performed for more than 50 per cent of the work time?

Do any single repetitive tasks last less than 30 seconds?

Is it difficult to take frequent breaks from repetitive tasks?

Are the hands required to perform lifts, holds or assembly with loads heavier than 4.5 kg (10 lbs.)?

Is use of a pinch grip required?

Are there lifting tasks with weights heavier than 11 kg (24 lbs.)?

Does the work involve extreme flexion or extension of the wrist?

Does the work involve side-to-side deviation of the wrist (ulnar and radial deviation)?

••••••••••••••• 1. JOB 2. TASK DESCRIPTION 3. REPETITIVNESS 4. FORCEFULNESS 5. POSTURE • • • •

Does the work involve turning something over in the hands (elbow supination and pronation)?

•••••••••••••••

  • 6. MECHANICAL

STRESSES

  • 7. WORK

ORGAMIZATION

• • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

• •

Does the work involve frequent reaching below the knee-level?

Does the work involve reaching behind the line of the body?

Does the work involve frequent horizontal reaching beyond 50 cm?

Does the work prevent variations in posture between sitting, standing and sit-stand?

Does lack of adjustability in the workstation or furniture prevent individual adaptability?

Is important visual information located outside the range of viewing (122-178 cm, 43-70”)?

Are employees carrying books and shelving with one hand?

Are unsupported postures adopted for work performed over long periods of time?

Does the work cause contact of fingers, wrists or arms with sharp edges?

Is there a possibility of injury due to sharp corners or rough surfaces?

Is there a lack of alternative tasks and flexibility in the job?

Is there insufficient decision-making within the job?

Is the job stressful?

Is it difficult for an injured worker to find alternative work?

Are there problems with the health and safety committee responding to the needs of workers?

Is new equipment ordered or are work methods altered without input from employees?

Is training insufficient for good performance?

NO

YES

EQUIPMENT EVALUATION FORM

  • 1. Equipment being evaluated: _________________________________________________

  • 2. Length of time spent using equipment: ________________________________________

  • 3. Location of evaluation trial: _________________________________________________

  • 4. Please rank how simplicity of the use of the equipment, on the scale of 0 to 10

(0 being “very difficult) and 10 being “very easy”)

  • 0 1

 

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

10

               

Very difficult

Somewhat difficult

Neither easy nor difficult

 

Somewhat easy

 

Very easy

  • 5. What made the equipment easy or difficult to use? _______________________________

  • 6. How significantly did the equipment help reduce physical stress?

 
  • 0 1

 

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

10

               

Much more stress

Somewhat more stress

Neither more nor less stress

Somewhat less stress

Much less stress

  • 7. What made the equipment more or less physically stressful? _______________________

 
  • 8. Please rank the safety of the new equipment on a scale from 0 to 10.

 
  • 0 1

 

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

10

               

Very unsafe

Somewhat unsafe

Neither safe or unsafe

 

Somewhat safe

 

Very safe

  • 9. What made the equipment safe/unsafe to use? __________________________________

  • 10. Please give an overall ranking of the new equipment on a scale from 0 to 10.

 
  • 0 1

 

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

10

               

Poor

Fair

Neither good nor poor

 

Good

Excellent

  • 11. What did you like about the equipment? _______________________________________

  • 12. What did you dislike about the equipment? _____________________________________

  • 13. Would you recommend that the library invest in this equipment? ___________________

Thank you for evaluating this equipment and sharing your opinion with us. If you would like to

discuss this further, please print your name below _____________________________________

EVALUATION FORM FOR CHANGES TO JOB METHODS

This form should be filled out at the end of each day of work, using the alternative job method, and at the end of an equal number of days, using the traditional job methods. Results will be compiled across several workers and compared. It is important to keep track of the measurable work flow, as well as subjective feelings about the work.

  • 1. What job method alteration is being evaluated? __________________________________________

  • 2. Period of evaluation: _______________________________________________________________

  • 3. Measurable work output (e.g., number of book trucks shelved and time per book truck): __________ _________________________________________________________________________________

  • 4. How significant was the reduction in physical stress due to the alteration in methods?

(Please circle on scale)

  • 0 1

 

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

10

                   

Much more stress

Somewhat more stress

Neither more nor less stress

Somewhat less stress

 

Much less stress

  • 5. What made the alteration in work methods less or more stressful? ____________________________

 
 

_________________________________________________________________________________

  • 6. Please rank the pain, discomfort, or fatigue in the hands, wrists and arms felt at the end of the day.

  • 0 1

 

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

10

                   

Severe

Intense

Moderate

 

Slight

Non-existent

  • 7. What did you like about the change in work methods? _____________________________________

 
  • 8. What did you dislike about the change in work methods? __________________________________

  • 9. Please rank how strongly you would recommend that the library adopt this altered method. (RANK

  • 0 1

 

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

10

Do not recommend Indifferent Strongly Recommend
Do not recommend
Indifferent
Strongly Recommend

Thank you for evaluating this work method alteration and sharing your opinion with us.