Date of Award

Summer 2006

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science in Occupational Safety and Health Engineering - (M.S.)

Department

Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering

First Advisor

Arijit K. Sengupta

Second Advisor

Athanassios K. Bladikas

Third Advisor

George W. Olsen

Abstract

Gloveboxes have been used in various industries to protect the user and environment from hazardous materials and/or isolate the materials from environmental contamination. As the use of gloveboxes continues to grow in an effort to reduce contamination and the dependency of personal protective equipment as well as increase the level of safety through containment, technical design specifications have been studied and investigated to great lengths. Unfortunately, ergonomic design criteria for this enclosed and restricting workstation have not been extensively investigated or documented.

This research evaluated ergonomic risk factors associated with the use of a glovebox in a pharmaceutical production facility. Using direct observation and detailed job analysis, design shortcomings were identified. Four ergonomic assessment tools were used to evaluate the combinatorial effect of the upper limb extremity postures, applied force, recovery time, and repetition to quantify postural stresses during the vial filling task and vial capping task that were performed within the glovebox. These two tasks were found to be hazardous in terms of risk of musculosketal disorders. The scores from all of these assessments tools were indicative that these tasks could be a possible cause of work-related musculoskeletal disorders, unless administrative or engineering controls were initiated in the near future. Recommendations to improve the glovebox design have been discussed.

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