Risk assessment of manual tasks of handling books in the University Library : Report

Chim, Justine (Man Yi) (2004) Risk assessment of manual tasks of handling books in the University Library : Report St Lucia: School of Social Sciences, University of Queensland

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Attached_files_for_project.zip Additional files Click to show the corresponding preview/stream application/zip 2.97MB 0
Book_Handling_in_Mail_Centre.mp4 Video Click to show the corresponding preview/stream video/mp4 89.56MB 0
Checking_in_Books_Sorting_Shelving.mp4 Video Click to show the corresponding preview/stream video/mp4 65.37MB 0
Justine_Chim_Project_Risk_assessment.pdf Full text application/pdf 12.23MB 0
Author Chim, Justine (Man Yi)
Title of report Risk assessment of manual tasks of handling books in the University Library : Report
Publication date 2004-11
Open Access Status Not Open Access
Publisher School of Social Sciences, University of Queensland
Place of publication St Lucia
Total pages 42
Language eng
Subjects 11 Medical and Health Sciences
Formatted abstract
The aim of this study is to identify, analyze and assess the potential risk factors for three-selected manual tasks: book handling in the Mail Center, checking-in books and books sorting and shelving, in the Social Science and Humanities Library (SSH Library). In addition, the study reviewed the work area arrangements as well as the equipment and tools used in handling books.

Based on the injury, illness and incidents reports, provided by the Occupational Health and Safety Units, of all libraries in the University of Queensland (UQ), the risk of causing the sprain and strain injuries through performing manual tasks associated with the book handling in all libraries was identified.

The SSH Library was selected because it is the largest library in the UQ and it handles the highest volume of library items in a day, with the Library's approval for the present study. A series of task analysis activities were undertaken in the SSH Library such as the walk through interviews, direct observations, videotaping and photo taking, investigations and measures through which the information about the process flow of library materials, the work practices and procedures of books handling activities, postures and movements of the Library Staff members while performing three selected manual tasks were obtained.

In the risk identification process, the past incidents records, for the period from January 2003 to June 2004, were reviewed showing that the total number of sprain and strain injuries in the UQ was 241 cases of which 38 cases (17.7%) happened in the University Libraries. Furthermore, about 52% of the reported incidents in the University Libraries were associated with the book handling activities.

As a result of risk identification, three tasks of handling books were selected for the detailed risk assessment. The Manual Tasks Risk Assessment Tool (ManTRA) was used to assess the risk level of these three manual tasks of four body parts namely lower limbs, back, neck/shoulder and hand/wrist/arm.

Book Handling in the Mail Center

The risk assessment of the book handling in the Mail Center shows that all body parts of the staff of staff are at a low risk while the hand/wrist/arm is at a relatively high risk but still at the safe level. Therefore, it is suggested that no further action is required. The current practices of giving short tea/rest breaks, job rotation and adopting good posture while working minimize the danger of injury associated with the nature of manual tasks. However, a poor design of work spaces results in difficulties of moving the trolleys.

Two methods are recommended: (1) The elimination of the unpacking task for incoming books by the Library staff. Combining the task of unpacking and the check-in task can eliminate the problem of double handling, and (2) For improving the work area arrangement in the Mail Center, the review of trolley routes, replacement of a suitable size table and the shelving storage system are suggested. This change might help to minimize the turning and twisting of trolley and shorten the distances of carrying the courier boxes when performing the book distribution task.

Checking-in Books

The results of the risk assessment for the checking-in books task show that all body parts of the staff are at a low risk and the hand/wrist/arm is at a relatively high risk but still at the safe level. Therefore, it is suggested that no further action is required.

The review of the checking-in task shows that because of the insufficient space near the workbench, the Library staff found it difficult to tum the trolley when it is full and also when they move the full trolley to the lift. Since the electronic return bin can be adjusted up and down the Library staff do not need to overly extend theirs hands to pick up the books from the bottom of the bin. However, they need to overly extend hands to pick up the books stuck on the conveyor belt and books placed at the edge of the electronic bin.

It is recommended that: (1) For the work area arrangement, separation of the returning chutes to different items locations, a number of locked book returning bins in other locations on campus, changes to a suitable size of trolleys, removing not frequently used items away from the check-in areas should be considered, and also (2) The workstation screen in the check-in counter should be assessed to identify why the Library staff lean forward to look at the screen which might be related to the font size, the position of the screen and/or the lighting in the check-in area.

Sorting and Shelving Books

The risk assessment of the sorting and shelving tasks shows that the cumulative score for each body part of the staff is higher than for other two selected tasks in this study. The cumulative score (15) for arm/wrist/hand is at the threshold value (15) of the scoring system. The score is mainly the result of high repetition risk, exertion risk and awkwardness. In addition, the sum of exertion and awkwardness for arm/hand/wrist is at 8 so it also equals the threshold value of the scoring system for these two risk factors. Based on the results, further action is thus required to improve the nature of the sorting and shelving tasks focusing on the possible risk to hand/wrist/arm. Although the cumulative scores for other three body regions, lower limbs, back and neck/shoulder areas are lower than the threshold value, they are approaching it.

Three solutions are recommended: (1) In the shelving task, the current practices is to put the books on the trolley and transfer then to the wolfie for the shelving task, it is suggested that an one time transferring books from sorting shelves into the wolfie (or an appropriate trolley) for shelving can eliminate the risk of double handling; (2) To minimize back bending when performing shelving tasks, a sign with an approximate call number should be placed on each shelf and (3) It is recommended that the Library Assistant, performing the checking-in task, would further sort the books to be shelved to Level 3 into two separate groups corresponding to the two sides of the sorting area. This can minimize carrying books around two sides of the sorting area when performing the sorting task.

The comparison of force measurements of pulling/pushing trolley with a load in two different size wheels shows that the use of a trolley with large wheels can decrease the required forces to use pull/push trolley from/to lift and on carpet by 19. 8% to 28.2%. It is recommended that the design of the trolley should be considered to ensure the best efficiency and safe of use. In addition, for the book lift design, a Senior Library Attendant suggests that a flexible platform can be used to eliminate the gap in between the lift and the floor.

Finally, to minimize the workload of the Library staff, obtaining users' support through a campaign of promoting returning books to the actual locations of the items is recommended. In addition, the workflow and practices review, participatory ergonomics and early report of discomfort are suggested.
Keyword Risk assessment
Lifting and carrying
Materials handling -- Safety measures
Additional Notes HMST 6612 Ergonomics Project
Lists of Materials in the zipped file:
Documents 1) Manual Tasks Advisory Standard 2000, Department of Workplace Health and Safety, Queensland Government
2) An Employer's Guide to the Manual Tasks Advisory Standard 2000 [Brochure-SO], Department of Workplace Health and Safety, Queensland Government
3) Workplace Health and Safety Risk Management Advisory Standard 2000, Department of Workplace Health and Safety, Queensland Government
4) A Guide to Risk Management Advisory Standard, Department of Workplace Health and Safety, Queensland Government
5) A Systems Approach to the Risk Management of Manual Tasks, Department of Workplace Health and Safety, Queensland Government
6) Manual Tasks Risk Assessment Tool (ManTRA) v 2.0, 2000-2004 Burgess-Limerick, Egeskov, Straker, and Pollock
7) Policy & Guideline - Manual Tasks Risk Assessment, Control and Monitoring, Occupational Health and Safety, The University of Queensland
8) Guidelines for Design and Selection of Trolleys, WorkCover New South Wales
9) Manual Handling Hazards in University Libraries, The Universities Safety Association Working Group on Manual Handling in Libraries
10) Manual Handling in Libraries - A Guide to Reducing Injuries from Manual Handling in Libraries, The Universities Safety Association Digest - Guidance Notes
11) Workplace Health and Safety Guidelines for People Working in Libraries, Department Health and Safety, Queensland Government
12) Voluntary Code of Practice for Health and Safety Issues in New Zealand Libraries, Department of Labour, New Zealand Library & Information Association
13) Ergonomic Book Return System at Mt Gravatt Campus Library of Griffith University, Sandar Schofield and Ken Horrigan
Videos: 􀁔 Illustration for the Process of the Book Handling in the Mail Centers 􀁔 Illustration the Process of the Books Checking-in and the Sorting and Shelving Books Tasks

 
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Created: Mon, 08 Aug 2016, 17:58:22 EST by Ms Christine Heslehurst on behalf of Information Systems and Resource Services, Library