Exploring Associations Between Multiple Risk-Factors and Work-Related Musculoskeletal Disorders, Across Multiple Body Segments in an Automotive Manufacturing Environment
Type of DegreePhD Dissertation
Industrial and Systems Engineering
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The causes of Work-Related Musculoskeletal Disorders (WMSDs) are multifactorial, with the exact pathogenesis being unknown. Current literature provides information on several studies that investigate the role of physical and individual risk factors, but very few take a holistic approach of studying multiple risk factors across multiple body segments. This proposed study addresses this research gap by exploring associations between a) Physical/Job-related, b) Individual, c) Psychophysical and d) Psychosocial risk factors and WMSDs in manufacturing environments, especially in the automotive sector that is characterized by highly repetitive tasks and component assembly. This study can facilitate true personalization of a job by investigating the combined impact of multiple risk factors simultaneously which can contribute to more accurate and specific risk assessments such as body segment risk for a specific employee working on a particular job. This study is a retrospective analysis of cross-sectional data collected by Dr. Richard Sesek along with a team of medical and engineering researchers for the UAW-Ford National Joint Committee on Health and Safety. The purpose of the original study was to analyze existing ergonomic assessment tools and propose an improved ergonomic tool to assess risks associated with automotive manufacturing and assembly tasks for the “average” Ford employee.