Machine workers are often required to perform the same type of assembly line work or other routine operations for months or years at a stretch. Sometimes this can create monotony and may contribute to serious machine-related accidents and injuries.
Manufacturing safety researchers and experts continue to assess whether job rotation could be a credible solution to break the monotony in machine jobs and reduce the risk of worker accidents.
What is Job Rotation in the Manufacturing Context?
In manufacturing or assembly line setting, job rotation is a human resource management strategy where machine operators can rotate through multiple tasks on the machine shop floor over some time.
As part of a job rotation strategy, workers will have to move from one task to another after a fixed period or once the production target has been met.
Can Job Rotation Reduce the Risk of Machine Accidents?
This may depend on the kind of safety aspects an employer is seeking to improve. If their goal is to minimize ergonomic stress of the workers (which results in musculoskeletal disorders) or similar concerns, then job rotation is probably not the answer.
Researchers say that one of the goals of employers while organizing job rotation programs is to cut down the incidence of musculoskeletal disorders by spreading out the risk exposure between different workers as they rotate through the machine jobs.
However, the risks associated with any particular machine job do not change with job rotation. The process of job rotation can at best limit the amount of time that a worker spends on a specific job per week.
Watch YouTube Video – The Bottom Line: Job Rotation: Four Key Findings. This video explains the effects of job rotation on musculoskeletal disorders.
Focus and Attentiveness Issues
Job rotation could be a part of the solution where the employer is seeking to minimize the risks (such as hand injuries) that arise out of workers’ lack of focus or distraction. Hand and finger injuries alone send more than a million workers to the hospital each year.
For instance, a worker operating a nail gun or a drill machine for a complete shift may not be as alert or careful during the final few hours of the work as they may be during the first few. In this case, a job rotation strategy could eliminate the problem of inattentiveness.
Job rotation could even help quality assurance inspectors to perform their tasks more effectively. For instance, a quality inspector in a metal stamping unit may be required to inspect thousands of steel brackets to ensure that every single piece is free of metal burrs and cracks.
If no job rotation is involved, the task can be mind-numbing after a certain time. This could put workers at risk over time if the materials are compromised at the quality control stage itself.
Job Rotation is Not a Cure-All
Job rotation strategy is not a cure-all for eliminating injury risk for machine workers. But it can be useful in reducing machine worker injuries when the procedure is combined with a professional safety culture and the commitment of the employer to train workers for various jobs that are a part of the job rotation process.
Machine Accident Lawyers in Sacramento
I’m Ed Smith, a machine accident lawyer in Sacramento. Job rotation may relief machine workers from monotony, but it doesn’t prevent injuries or deaths. If you or someone you know has been hurt using a machine at work, call me for a free consultation at 916-584-9355.
I have been helping many clients in Sacramento and all across Northern California since 1982 by getting full compensation for their wrongful death and personal injury cases.
I am a member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum.
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