Using workstation design parameters to predict workload - A proactive assessment approach for light assembly work
Addressing the need for a virtual tool to predict operator load in light assembly work, a method is presented to estimate shoulder load and hand movement from layout parameters. Using three-dimensional representation of a task location relative to the seated workstation, a regression model is used to predict operator shoulder load. Hand locations for each task of the work cycle are used to determine cumulative hand movement and shoulder load. A case application of the virtual tool showed that trends from an observational tool used by Neumann et al (2002) in a workstation comparison were matched. The virtual tool predicted shoulder load values 19.8-32.8% higher than the observational tool however this was attributed to its use of three-dimensional task analysis and a different shoulder model. Future work for the virtual tool will assess reliability, validity, the effect of underlying tool assumptions, and the incorporation of a movement time prediction method.