Bioassay Quality Control Technicians and Dental Technician

The following elements are required for completing each cycle of seeding cell lines: unscrewing caps, unscrew top of bulk medium, stir bulk quantity of medium solution, unwrap and screw 60ml pipette into hand dispenser, extract 60ml of medium solution from primary container, dispense 10ml of solution in 6 flasks, extract another 60ml of medium solution, fill remaining 6 flasks, screw caps on 12 flasks, holding 12 flasks together, gently shake flasks to stir solution.

After performing a job analysis, several biomechanical risks were identified in which the employee is susceptible to the development of a cumulative trauma disorder of the distal upper extremity. These risks were prioritized as follows: screwing and unscrewing flask caps and bulk medium container, engaging the dispenser buttons of the pipette with the 2nd and 3rd digits, and sustaining the weight of the pipette hand dispenser.

A general recommendation that would address all of the risk factors for the job task is an engineering control called The Capitator Bottle Opener/Closer. It is an electronic device that automates the filling of screw cap containers with medium, thereby replacing the manual, repetitive task of seeding cell lines. The device will unscrew a cap, hold the container while it is being filled and then recap the container. The device can work with any container with a threaded neck and its placement will fit in a fume hood. It can be operated with either the left or right hand. The device eliminates contaminations and would reduce a two-handed to a single-handed task. It can handle caps from 13mm to 38.5mm and the torque required for capping or recapping can be adjusted for tighter or looser. [2]

Estimated US $1300.

Evaluation of Intervention

  • Pros
  • Eliminates finger force required for pipetting
  • Reduces torque of screwing/unscrewing caps
  • One handed task
  • Adjustable to variety of caps/containers
  • Cons
  • Cost
  • Shoulder Flexion Required

Semi-Quantitative Evaluation of Intervention

  • Reduction of Identified Risk Factor
  • No New Risk Factors Introduced
  • Productivity not Reduced
  • Low Cost
  • Total
  • 5/5
  • 4/5
  • 5/5
  • 3/5
  • 17/20

Other Possible Interventions

  • Enlarge flask cap radius
  • Electric Jar Opener for bulk medium solution
  • Increase friction on caps
  • Spring-loaded device for suspending pipette dispenser

Submitted by Keyna Chow and Meredith Gajda