Trending at AEC 2018: Proactive Ergonomics and Leveraging Technologies for Better Workplace Ergonomics

AEC 2018 Highlights Include the ROI of Ergonomics, Creative Improvements to Support Workplace Ergonomics and a Closer Look at Push Pull Guidelines

The team from Darcor recently returned from the 2018 Applied Ergo Conference (AEC) in late March in Atlanta. As always, the AEC brought together the greatest minds in the field of ergonomics. These ergonomists and engineers attend the AEC to get the opportunity to cross-pollinate ideas, policies, technologies, advancements in the field of ergonomics.

The 2018 AEC was no exception with booths, presentations, exhibits, success stories and the Ergo Cup® Awards all serving the purpose of advancing ergonomics to support reduction in injuries.

Highlights from AEC 2018 – Ergonomic Trends

The Darcor team is always attentive to new technologies and trends in the ergonomic industry. This year, the AEC provided some great trends to observe. Here are some highlights from the show

  • Illuminating how much a company can benefit by implementing proactive ergonomics programs. Presentations highlighted how organizations can reduce workplace injuries and measure ROI by implementing proactive ergonomics programs. Download the Economics of Ergonomics Guide for a closer look at the financial risks associated with workplace injuries.
  • Implementation of new and repurposed technologies for ergonomic assessment. Several leaders in the ergonomic industry including Cummins, Honda, Toyota are progressing the ergonomics industry by sharing their success stories including leveraging sensor technology to monitor workers for ergonomic benefits.
  • The Ergo Cup® is drawing entries from new organizations – Major organizations like Cintas and Gulfstream are coming to the table to share their success stories in support of the ergonomics industry.

Highlights from the 2018 Ergo Cup® Awards

There were many outstanding achievements in the ergonomics industry this year and several well-deserved Ergo Cup® awards given. We’d like to highlight a few:

Creativeness in Ergonomics (CE) Practitioner of the Year Award

Sponsored byLiberty Mutual Insurance Co.

Recipient: Stephen Jenkins, Director, Safety and Health, Cintas

This award recognizes professional career achievements in the creative application of ergonomics principles, including process improvement, education, applied research (research that has been translated into practice), applied instrumentation and product development.

Team Driven Workplace Solutions with Internal Competition

Recipient: Cintas, Greensboro, North Carolina – “EGO” (Ergonomics-on-the Go)

Cintas delivers uniforms, mats, bundled aprons and towels and boxed products. The team at Cintas improved the cart for transporting these items from the delivery van to customer locations. The cart has better casters for easier handling and pushing across all types surfaces. The uniforms can be hung on the new cart, which maintains their quality and finish. The cart also included a handle, work surface, hanger rack holder and spring-loaded bottom to reduce manual handling risks. It reduces lifting and carrying of product. A pulley system was also developed to safely take the 44-lb. cart off and on the van. Darcor was proud to be a Cintas partner to support this project as Darcor casters were utilized to improve the cart.

Engineering/Ergonomist-Driven Workplace Solutions with Internal Competitions

Recognized: Gulfstream Aerospace, Savannah, Georgia – D614 Engine Strap Dolly

The presentation described how a dolly used for the construction of an aircraft engine strap frame underwent numerous modifications to compensate for issues arising from a move from one building to another. What started as a simple change, turned into a project which resulted in cycling over different parts of the dolly numerous times which resulted in continuous ergonomic improvements. Special emphasis is given to the integration of hinges that were manufactured as a single component using a new additive manufacturing process. This project won first place at the Gulfstream Internal Ergo competition.

Darcor was proud to participate in a partnership with Gulfstream to supply ergonomic caster solutions to support this initiative. Moving this dolly used to be a 2-person task and now 1 person can move safely delivery ergonomic and financial benefits.

AEC 2018 – Presentation Highlights

New Push-Pull Guidelines Based on Biomechanical Tolerances


Gary Allread is Program Director of the SRI-Ergonomics consulting and training branch of Ohio State’s Spine Research Institute. Gary conducts applied ergonomics research across a wide range of industries and consults with these groups to reduce workplace injuries and improve productivity. He also provides ergonomics training to professionals, both at the University and on-site.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Understanding of the factors (e.g., exertion method, handle height, push-pull path) that most impact loads on the body during pushing and pulling of carts and other items along a surface.
  2. Knowledge to allow one to assess existing push-pull tasks in their facility or design new tasks that are within safe MMH limits.
  3. Links to the newly developed or eventual website and app for easy determination of these limits.


Most practitioners use psychophysically based guidelines to assess push-pull tasks in industry. New research advances have allowed for these tasks to be assessed using a biomechanical model, which determines safe limits on actual spine loads and their tolerance limits.


A total of 62 subjects performed (two-handed) pushing and (one- and two-handed) pulling tasks in a laboratory setting, in straight-line and sharp-turn directions. An electromyography assisted model was used to determine spine shear force levels.


Spine loads were lowest during: straight-line pulls at low handle heights; straight-line pushes at high handle heights; turns at high handle heights; and two-handed turns (compared to one-handed pulls). In addition, a comparison of these limits with previously developed psychophysical guidelines found that the latter underestimate low-back injury risk by as much as 30%.

Discussion and Significance:

These guidelines, based on objectively gathered biomechanical data, appear to produce a more-accurate estimate of pushing and pulling limits that will protect the health of those who do manual materials handling.

Subscribe now to the Darcor blog to read our upcoming blog on this topic: New Methods for Assessing Risks Needed in Industrial Ergonomics

Proactive Ergonomics: Reducing Workplace Injuries and Improving Productivity through Proper Caster Selection


Tom Albin PhD is a licensed professional engineer (PE) and a certified professional ergonomist (CPE). He is a Fellow of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society. Tom has extensive experience as a researcher, corporate ergonomist, and product developer.

Over his eight years with Darcor Casters, Lui Dilauro has become recognized as an Ergonomic Mobility Expert. Many major North American OEM companies consult with Lui to determine the proper ergonomic caster

Learning Objectives:

  1. Review ergonomic considerations for manual pushing of carts
  2. Adopt strategies for reducing overexertion injuries in manual material handling environments
  3. Evaluate the ergonomic performance of a caster including an assessment of different floor surfaces and how they impact manual material handling


A carefully selected caster will mitigate immediate risk and manage risk during its life span. With a robust and well-built caster, risk of failure diminishes and workforce protection increases. Dr. Tom Albin reviewed the ergonomic factors that affect push-pull forces in manual material handling situations. Darcor’s Lui Dilauro, a recognized ergonomic mobility expert, reviewed case histories where leading companies have seen benefits based on caster selection. He also identified the risks and benefits associated with different wheel materials and design configurations.

AEC 2018 Trends Lead the Way to Proactive Ergonomics in 2019 and Beyond

As always, AEC brought a wealth of ergonomics knowledge together so that experts can work together to make advancements in the industry. The ergonomics trends brought to the forefront during AEC 2018 will be leading the way in the future of proactive ergonomics.

If you are interested in ways to reduce workplace injuries and support budget allocation for proactive ergonomic programs, download these ergonomics guides:

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