The Adoption of Ergonomic Innovations for Injury Prevention Examples from the building construction and health care industries

University dissertation from Stockholm : KTH Royal Institute of Technology

Abstract: A good work environment is important for the individual, for industry and for society. The work environment research has, predominantly, targeted identification of problems and the measurement of the size of these problems.Innovations to reduce the incidence of musculoskeletal disorder, MSD, have been introduced in different branches of industry, but with limited success.Few of the ergonomic innovations developed for the building and construction industry have reached a sufficient level of adoption. Ergonomic innovations in the health care sector are of an incremental character and seem to have similar problems of adoption as the ones in the building and construction industry.Three examples of ergonomic innovation are examined in the thesis:a glue spreader for floor layersa four-wheel walker with a lifting devicea sonographer’s scanning support deviceThe studies show that an ergonomic innovation is not adopted for prevention of occupational injury unless the innovation also has other relative advantages apart from the ergonomic ones. For the group who already has sustained an injury, it is enough that the ergonomic problems are solved, while the other, symptom-free group, requires other advantages in order to adopt the innovation; increased production economy seems to be the most prominent potential advantage.