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Work and workout - how to introduce healthy workload at workplaces

: Dangelmaier, Manfred; Bauer, Wilhelm; Vocke, Christian; Melcher, Vivien

Fulltext ()

Procedia manufacturing 3 (2015), pp.4971-4977
ISSN: 2351-9789
International Conference on Applied Human Factors and Ergonomics (AHFE) <6, 2015, Las Vegas/Nev.>
Journal Article, Conference Paper, Electronic Publication
Fraunhofer IAO ()

While Applied Ergonomics practitioners are still working on the reduction of physical workload for the sake of the workforce Sports Science and other Life Sciences found that our problem is in contrast a sedentary lifestyle, which contributes to the increase in diseases of civilization. In particular in aging populations workability is suffering increasingly from these epidemiological facts. Mainly Human Resources departments take care of this problem in Occupational Health Management programs, organizing activities, which do not touch, however, the work processes themselves. In work system design and Ergonomics, on the other hand the problem of providing a minimum of mobility and resistance during work is not addressed. The tools applied in ergonomic design provide typically upper limits of workload and do not limit workload at the lower end. Some of them are over-conservative, enforcing mechanization and automation, restricting unnecessarily the flexibility in design and preventing positive physical workload. This paper discusses the potentials and risks of integrating added motion and resistance into work processes in order to achieve a balanced physical load situation for staff members. For this purpose, it combines findings from Life Sciences with those of Ergonomics and suggests how to approach the required minimal physical load problem. An Added Time Concept (ATC) and Work Process Redesign (WPR) are proposed and discussed for supporting a balanced physical load. It is shown that such concepts can only be implemented based on an individual physical load management. It is also shown that WPR alone will not suffice to fulfil physical activity recommendations. It has to be combined with ATC and work separated training concepts (STC). WPR works best in case the workplace design provides for configurable or adaptive physical workload. Furthermore, it is concluded that more research on recommendable physical workloads needed and that the prevailing paradigms in Ergonomics have to be re-discussed in that respect.