Workplace ergonomics in lean production environments: A literature review

Lean Production Systems (LPS) have become very popular among manufacturing industries, services and large commercial areas. A LPS must develop and consider a set of work features to bring compatibility with workplace ergonomics, namely at a muscular, cognitive and emotional demands level. This study identified the most relevant impacts of the adoption of LPS from the ergonomics point of view and summarised some possible drawbacks for workplace ergonomics due to a flawed application of the LPS. The impacts identified are focused in four dimensions: work pace, intensity and load; worker motivation, satisfaction and stress; autonomy and participation; and health outcome. This study also discusses the influence that the work organisation model has on workplace ergonomics and on the waste elimination previewed by LPS. Literature review focused LPS and its impact on occupational ergonomics conditions, as well as on the Health and Safety of workers. The main focus of this research is on LPS implementations in industrial environments and mainly in manufacturing industry workplaces. This is followed by a discussion including the authors’ experience (and previous research). From the reviewed literature it seems that there is no consensus on how Lean principles affect the workplace ergonomics since most authors found positive (advantages) and negative (disadvantages) impacts. The authors concluded that the negative impacts or disadvantages of LPS implementations reviewed may result from the misunderstanding of the Lean principles. Possibly, they also happen due to partial Lean implementations (when only one or two tools were implemented) that may be effective in a specific work context but not suitable to all possible situations as the principles of LPS should not lead, by definition, to any of the reported drawbacks in terms of workplace ergonomics.

Authors: Arezes PM, Dinis-Carvalho J, Alves AC. ;Full Source: Work. 2014 Sep 16. [fusion_builder_container hundred_percent=”yes” overflow=”visible”][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ background_position=”left top” background_color=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” spacing=”yes” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” padding=”” margin_top=”0px” margin_bottom=”0px” class=”” id=”” animation_type=”” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_direction=”left” hide_on_mobile=”no” center_content=”no” min_height=”none”][Epub ahead of print] ;[/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]