Involving workers in planning a safe and ergonomic carpentry workshop using the SOBANE method and simulationKeywords:
When authorities in the province of Namur, Belgium, decided to relocate the property assets repair and maintenance departments in a new building, carpenters employed in the unit were invited to participate in planning the workspace and layout of the carpentry workshop.
This case study highlights the successful collaboration of management, carpenters, an ergonomist and architect to create a safe and ergonomic workplace. The ergonomist facilitated the project and worked closely with two carpenters to analyse risks and define specifications for the new workshop. They performed various simulations to determine the best placement for workstations and machines in the new facility, considering space requirements, as well as aspects concerning health and safety.
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Carrying out participatory ergonomics
Informing and consulting workers on occupational health and safety is a legal requirement and worker involvement, to take account of their experiences and knowledge of their work and associated hazards, is vital for effective risk assessment and prevention. As well as improving worker acceptance of the workplace changes they have contributed to, it has the potential to improve communication between workers and management and enhance organisational performance.