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Analysis of frequency, intensity, and interference of discomfort in computerized numeric control machine operations

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Human Factors and Ergonomics in Manufacturing & Service Industries

Published online on


The introduction of Computerized Numeric Control (CNC) technology in manufacturing industries revolutionized the production process a few decades back. There are some health and safety problems associated with these machine operations, however. The main objectives of the present work is to study the health and safety issues associated with the CNC machines with respect to control and display, specifically to determine the frequency, intensity of discomfort, and its interference in operating different CNC machines as reported by the workers operating them. The postural discomfort associated with CNC machines was studied, and the frequency, intensity of discomfort, and interference of the level of discomfort with the participants' ability to work were recorded and analyzed. The study revealed that 20.5% of the operators reported discomfort 1 or 2 times, 25.4% experienced discomfort 3 to 4 times in a week, 37.7% had discomfort daily, and 16.4% reported discomfort several times a day. Discomfort was reported in all the body parts involved (lower back, neck, upper back, shoulder, and leg), but the highest discomfort scores were associated with the shoulder and arm region. Workers reporting discomfort several times a day also reported high mean discomfort scores. The study established that the frequency and intensity of the discomfort in all body parts is related to the position of the control panel and display. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.