Ergonomic Assistance in baggage handling

Below you will find a short summary of the project. For further information please contact the project managers via the contact button on the right side.

Background

It has already been shown at various airports that baggage handling staff suffer from increased back (especially lumbar spine), knee, neck, wrists, shoulders and elbows complaints. In addition, the risk of complaints increases with length of service. A technical possibility to reduce the stress is a vacuum lifting aid, which adheres to the suitcases and allows them to be guided to the conveyor belt by a crane. Both in the laboratory and in practical application, the use of a vacuum lifting aid can lead to positive changes in the strain.

Picture: IAD

Aim

The aim of the project was to provide ergonomic support and advice to the project partner on ergonomic issues relating to the introduction of lifting aids. The project was divided into three central goals:

1. Development of a rough screening procedure for application at a large airport

2. Holistic analysis, measurement and evaluation of stresses and strains at various workplaces in aircraft handling (see Figure 1) and baggage handling (see Figure 2) with particular focus on the effectiveness of lifting aids

3. Transfer of the method and training of the project partner's staff for the application of the method.

Methodology

The study included motion analysis using Captiv-Motion-Capturing, stress assessment using the IAD-BkB method, measurement of action forces, as well as body segment-related EMG measurements and a subjective strain analysis in laboratory and field tests. The field test was carried out with 7 employees at two workstations in baggage handling and 7 employees at one workstation in aircraft handling.

The rough screening procedure was developed on the basis of the IAD-Bkb. For this purpose, the load cases occurring at the airport were analysed and the symbolism and examples of the underlying evaluation procedure were adapted to the activities of baggage handlers. The tool was evaluated following the survey. Subsequently, the employees of the airport operator were trained in the use of the tool.

Picture: IAD

Results

The assumed positive effect of the lifting aid in baggage handling on the stress of employees was confirmed (Steidel et al. 2019). Likewise, a significant decrease in local muscular strain in individual muscle groups was observed (Bier et al. 2019).

In aircraft handling, on the other hand, the body posture was mainly kneeling or standing heavily bent. On certain types of aircraft, only one strongly bent knee was observed. Overall, this led to high stress on the back, which was also reflected in the measured results of local muscular strain on the back muscles. In the future, work aids for this activity must also be further developed and tested in order to protect employees from the high stresses.

Publications

Bier, Lukas; Sarmand, Spartak; Steidel, Verena; Wakula, Jurij (2019): Körpersegmentbezogener Beanspruchungsvergleich bei Mitarbeitern der Gepäck- und Flugzeugabfertigung eines Großflughafens. In: 65. Frühjahrskongress der Gesellschaft für Arbeitswissenschaft, Dresden.

Steidel, Verena; Meissner, Felix; Bier, Lukas; Wakula, Jurij (2019): Vergleich der körperlichen Belastungen bei der manuellen und technisch unterstützen Gepäckabfertigung in den Gepäckhallen eines Großflughafens. In: 65. Frühjahrskongress der Gesellschaft für Arbeitswissenschaft, Dresden.