There are hundreds of ergonomic interventions described in the scientific and lay literature (Park et al.; 2000); unfortunately most of them lack formal evaluation.
Research on ergonomic interventions is very difficult to do for many reasons that include: a work environment that changes more rapidly than the time it takes to complete a well designed study; the natural change in the work place that inhibits maintenance of proper control groups for the duration of a study; the high costs of studying sufficiently large groups to obtain acceptable statistically significant comparisons between intervention and control groups; inducing companies to get involved in this type of research given inevitable work interruptions. Obviously; it is important to identify ergonomic interventions that are effective in reducing the incidence of work-related musculoskeletal disorders (WMSD); their personal costs and the monetary costs associated with them (Norman and Wells; 1998).
A current challenge for research is to involve statisticians; experts in the field of ergonomics; designers and project engineers in the formulation of methods and procedures to support the design and the analysis of experiments in virtual environment.
In this paper; the Authors present the first results of a research aimed at minimizing discomfort of a new VDT workstation; through the application of parameter design methodology. In order to discriminate among various design solutions; a comfort index based on a loss function is applied. In this way; the optimal VDT workstation design â€“ in terms of minimum discomfort for VDT operator in static posture â€“ can be found. Besides; in order to improve the posture assumed by operators with different anthropometric characteristics; abacuses for adjustment of a working seat to Visual Display Terminal (VDT) are proposed.
The proposed approach is based on the use of digital human models and some posture and task analysis toolkits implemented in a software for ergonomic simulations (Classic Jack by UGS).
Keywords: Robust Ergonomic Design; Human manikin; Postural Comfort Assessment; Anthropometrical Variability