Faults and the physical workload in sawing and packing-related woodworking processes when considering potential ergonomic solutions
¹Riga Stradiņš University, Faculty of European Studies, Dzirciema street 16, LV-1007 Riga, Latvia
²University of Latvia, Faculty of Business Management and Economics, Aspazijas blvd 5, LV-1050 Riga, Latvia
³University of Latvia, Ergonomic Research Centre, Jelgavas street 1, LV-1004 Riga, Latvia
⁴BA School of Business and Finance, K. Valdemara 161, LV-1013 Riga, Latvia
The forest sector is a high-risk economic sector in Latvia, one in which manual work, awkward postures, the tightening up of individual muscle groups, and work monotony still exists. The aim of this study was to analyse the physical workload and fault modes, and their effects on the sawing and packing processes in woodworking when considering potential ergonomic solutions. Results show that packing operators and saw operators alike are exposed to severe loads, and these results coincide with survey results in which employees in these professions complain about the physical load and mention lower back pain. Fault modes and their effects on the sawing and packing processes were analysed using Failure Mode and Effects Analysis, and the main errors which were revealed in packing operations were related to machinery and lifting equipment, as well as to ergonomics and errors involving the human factor. The risk priority was calculated in terms of a figure. Financial indices were compared before and after any potential improvement in the sawing and packing processes. Analysis proves that investments in the improvement of ergonomics in relation to the automation of the production process saves human resources and is economically favourable when it comes to ensuring the sustainable development of the business in question.