Terex Utilities, a division of Terex Aerial Work Platforms (AWP) is the winner of Humantech Inc.’s sixth annual Find It — Fix It Challenge. The Find It — Fix It Challenge recognizes and rewards simple and effective workplace solutions that increase productivity, improve worker morale and reduce workplace injuries and illnesses.
Honorable mentions for the challenge were given to the Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company, located in San Angelo, Texas, and to Senior Aerospace Metal Bellows, located in Sharon, Mass.
The contest was derived from Humantech’s RAPID Team Events, which are based on the concept of making quick, simple, visible changes to improve ergonomic issues in the workplace. From more than 150 entries received, representing 24 companies, one winner was selected and two honorable mentions were recognized.
Terex Utilities in Huron, S.D., took top honors with its pedestal weld station entry. The improvement focused on improving the posture and comfort of the worker responsible for welding a vertical gusset and top plate to the metal shell of a pedestal. The pedestal connects a boom to a truck chassis and also houses the bearing that enables the boom to rotate while in operation. From digger derrick units used to set power poles to aerial devices with working heights of 125 ft. (38 m), Terex fabricates large to small pedestals for its full line of utility equipment.
Prior to improving the task at the pedestal weld station, the worker had to climb in and out of a metal shell up to eight times per unit. While lying in a horizontal position, with legs dangling outside the pedestal, the worker had to weld parts of the pedestal together. When one section was complete, the welder would get out of the pedestal, rotate the pedestal to the next weld position, climb back into the unit and weld the next section. Due to high air temperatures inside the pedestal, the welder had to lie on blankets for extra protection in addition to wearing welding leathers. A total of eight pedestals were fabricated each day using this process.
Because of the high temperatures and contact stress on the legs, the team knew it had to change the job. The improvement idea came from Jereme Kempf, a welder.
“We had strong internal support from the entire team. This was a good example of designing for safety and manufacturability,” said Bethany Kovash, industrial engineer.
Within a few weeks, the idea to improve the job and the funds required to make the necessary modifications were approved. With a $300 budget, the team engineered and fabricated a steel welding table to hold the pedestal in a vertical position. The team member can now perform the work in a seated position, eliminating what Humantech calls “Butts Up” postures and contact stress. The cycle time also was reduced by 20 minutes. In addition, the design engineering department redesigned the pedestal to eliminate the vertical gusset weld to a plug weld on the outside of the pedestal.
“Everyone likes the improved task, and the production team member’s involvement was crucial to its success,” said Matt Klein, manufacturing engineer. The compliance of all team members tasked with this job proves its success.
The Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company received an honorable mention with its outdoor resiliometer (ODR) controls entry. Prior to the improvement, the operator had to bend down to floor level to check or adjust the ODR controls. By simply raising the height of the ODR control panel, operators are now able to stand in a neutral posture to read the controls. The BEST assessment score was reduced from a medium job hazard score of 22.4 to a low job hazard score of eight. The improvement cost only $300.
Senior Aerospace Metal Bellows division also received an honorable mention with its hand welding workstation entry. Initially, the operator had to move a 150-lb. chuck turntable from a cart to the floor and then push the turntable across the floor to another location. When properly placed, the operator loaded a work piece into the chuck turntable. The recommended weight limit for this task, per the NIOSH Lifting Equation, is 39.1 lbs., with a Lifting Index of 3.84. Reengineering the work bench to accommodate a permanently mounted chuck turntable underneath it not only eliminated the bent neck, flexed back, and squatting postures required to move the fixture, but also eliminated all lifting, pushing, and pulling movements from the task, resulting in a Lifting Index of zero.
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