Final Report on the Joint and Independent Ergonomic Study of the MLOCR – Recommendations

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Thursday February 26 2015

Human Factors North Inc. (HFN), contracted to conduct a joint ergonomic review of the multi-line optical character reader (MLOCR), presented its final report to the parties on February 10, 2015. The ergonomists made 26 recommendations after reviewing 270 MLOCR-related accident reports, data from 566 surveys filled out by workers and their observations of 28 volunteers in three locations (Winnipeg, Montreal and Toronto).

Recommendations were divided according to the priority of the solution, based on musculoskeletal disorder (MSD) risk. The ergonomists made the following recommendations:

High priority:

Work Procedures:

  • revise the wording on the sweeper board;
  • revise work boards to add information that is more reflective of the characteristics of the different types of mail being run;

Work Organization/Psychosocial:

  • review task rotation within the MLOCR work group;
  • rotate operators from one machine to another;
  • consider a range of productivity targets that consider different elements such as mail runs and mail types;
  • consider adding more material handling staff so that they are readily available to assist sweepers;

Work Practices:

  • MSD awareness training that is work-practice specific for MLOCR operators.

Medium priority:

Prolonged Standing and Walking:

  • encourage operators to wear insoles or custom orthotics when sweeping (ErgoMates);
  • adjust anti-fatigue matting at feeding station;

Workstation Layout and Design:

  • correct contact points identified on the lower stacker drawers;
  • enhance how mail is aligned in the stacker;
  • consider mail jogging at the feed table.

Low priority:

MLOCR Dimensions:

  • correct variations noted in the height of the stackers compared to specifications;

MLOCR-related Manual Material Handling (MMH):

  • identify overloaded containers;
  • encourage the use of LFTs and phase out SO3 lettertainers;
  • identify and repair uneven floor surfaces;

Workstation Layout and Design:

  • conduct routine inspection and maintenance of stacker drawers;
  • modify stacker drawers to fit LFTs;
  • consider implementing floor surface guides in stacker areas;
  • install a thin plexi-glass cover over the feeder extension table;

Machinery, Equipment and Tools:

  • install red, green and yellow markings on the front edge of the feed table.

All of these recommendations will be discussed at the NJHSC meetings. At the December 3, 2014 meeting with the ergonomists, the employer committed to implementing all recommendations. For the Union, it’s obvious that all recommendations must be implemented to reduce the risk of musculoskeletal injuries. The Union will do everything possible to ensure the employer follows through with its commitment and implements the recommendations as soon as possible.

In Solidarity,

Serge Champoux
National Union Representative - Health and Safety (2008-2015)