AEC 2019 Highlights

The Darcor team just returned from AEC 2019 and we wanted to share some highlights.

At AEC 2019 this year:

  • A keynote presentation by William S. Marras, Ph.D., CPE, the Honda Chair in the Department of Integrated Systems Engineering at The Ohio State University and the director of the university’s Spine Research Institute.
  • AEC Aspire Talks, a keynote presentation format featuring short form presentations of compelling messages from some of the brightest minds in ergonomics.
  • Educational sessions that range from manufacturing applications to office ergonomics to everything in between.
  • Roundtable and master track discussions about some of the most pressing issues in ergonomics.
  • Diverse vendors presenting their latest solutions, tools and resources in the exhibit hall to solve your organization’s challenges.
  • Real-world ergonomics solutions and applications from industry leading Ergo Cup® competitors
  • Hours of valuable networking opportunities, including Ergo Speed Networking, the AEC Trivia Game and a Mississippi River dinner/jazz cruise.
  • Pre-conference workshops designed to give you tangible skills to take back to your organization.
  • Dozens of presentations from the experts, sharing their success stories, lessons learned, and measurable impact.
  • Awards presentation for the Creativeness in Ergonomics Practitioner and Student of the Year.

The show seems to be getting bigger every year, with a lot of first-time attendees this year. There were over 60 Exhibitor booths and 48 Ergo cup teams. There was a strong focus as always around the ergonomic benefits of carts and casters with 8 presentations focusing on the topics of push/pulls forces, and carts and casters ergonomics. The Ergo Cup once again demonstrated how simple, cost effective, worker driven solutions can have a significant impact on the ergonomics of a work task while also contributing to production efficiencies and other ROIs.

Attendees were very interested in Darcor’s display on the debris rejecting capabilities of our Neoprene wheels, as well our capability to design ergonomic systems like the central brake and Zephyr.

There was a lot of discussion around the new BWC push/pull tool developed from the research done by OSU (SRI), which allows users to easily determine if their push/pull task is in a acceptable force range. The tool only requires a few input parameters and outputs a simple green, yellow or red indicator to let you know the percent of the population at risk for that task. These limits were determined biomechanically using accurate models of the spine to understand how to prevent damage to the spinal disks before exceeding these thresholds.

There was also a lot of buzz around exoskeletons, as they are a relatively new technology and their benefits and drawbacks have not fully been explored. The keynote on both days focused on this topic and how further research is needed in this field to validate the claims these devices make.

Highlights from keynote speaker, Bill Marras from Ohio State University, Spine Research Center:

  • Made reference to new BWC/OSU Push/Pull Guidelines.
  • Encourage the audience to check out his Ted Talk on “Back Pain and Your Brain”
  • Drew attention to the fact that in the last 20 years, the cost of hospital services in the United States has risen over 200 percent and at the same time lower back and neck pain has remained the leading YLD (years of life disabled) globally over that same period. YLD is the number of years that an individual lives with a functional impairment caused by a disease (its morbidity). YLD is one measure of the overall burden of a disease; the other is the disease’s mortality.

Highlights from Cintas Ergo Journey by Stephen Jenkins from Cintas:

  • Cintas developed a vision for world-class safety and health in the mid-2000’s. To help achieve this vision, Cintas developed a corporate ergonomics process that fit within their strong corporate culture.
  • In the session, Jenkins discussed how the team drove ergonomics through front-line engagement and straight forward goal setting. By using non-expert help to drive design and process changes, Cintas drove simplicity in tools and metrics to engage leadership. Cintas managed this across 700 small workplaces with a distributed workforce to prevent MSDs and reduce their frequency and related costs. Jenkins shared Cintas’ vision, plan, simple tools and quick fixes. The session also shared their successes within the organization and rewarded successes by encouraging staff to attend the Ergo Cup.

Highlights from Evaluation of Push Pull Exposures at Metalworker, Wholesale Distributor, Order Fulfillment Center – A Case Study, presented by Gregg Kloss, Nationwide Insurance:

  • There has been increased concern over pushing and pulling activities in recent years. Pushing and pulling is common in many manufacturing environments, warehouse and distribution settings, the service and delivery industry. Studies have shown that pushing and pulling tasks may present a significant risk for a low back disorder (LBD). An internal analysis of WC claims completed by the Ohio Bureau of WC confirms that approximately 10% of LBD costs are associated with pushing and pulling. The Ohio BWC funded an ergonomic project to study low back and shoulder disorders resulting from pushing and pulling work activities. This study was completed by researchers at the OSU Spine Research Institute and this project resulted in the development of push pull guidelines for industry. Kloss discussed how the new push pull guidelines were used to evaluate push pull exposures at a metalworker, wholesale distributor, and an order fulfillment center. Also, Kloss discussed recommendations offered to mitigate hazards posed by push pull work activities and share secondary outcomes realized by the lessening of overall push pull forces (e.g. increased productivity, employee comfort, and improved engagement).
  • Some stats shared: Annual cost of low back pain – $50 billion, for every $1 spend on WC insurance, $0.28 goes to Manual Material Handling repetitive injury/pain, shoulder injuries cost $7 billion, but are difficult to treat, 20% of losses – push pull is a factor.
  • Kloss also reviewed the history of push/pull knowledge including Anook (1978), Snook & Ciriello (1991), Rapp Tool (2016) and OSU Tool (2017).
  • Additionally, Kloss presented two case studies.

The team at Darcor has developed the Guide to Designing Manual Materials Handling Carts for cart designers to consider specific aspects in the design process including environmental considerations, operator factors, and task-related scenarios.

Get the guide today!