Sewage Treatment Valve
Operating valves located 7 - 8 feet from floor level in a sewage treatment plant
Workers need to "exercise" valves once a week, even when located in difficult to reach locations. To make it easier to reach, workers replaced the hand wheel of one valve with a long wrench, since it needs to be moved only one-quarter turn. However, risk factors of awkward postures of the shoulder, neck, and trunk remain. Low force is required for this valve.
Install a rocker arm on the valve with a length of chain hanging in a loop. One side of the loop can be pulled to operate the valve one-quarter turn. The chain is much easier to reach than either the hand wheel or the wrench.
$50 in parts
Evaluation of Intervention
- Improved trunk and shoulder posture
- Low cost, easy installation
- Neck posture still extended (for brief period of time).
Semi-Quantitative Evaluation of Intervention
- Reduction of Identified Risk Factor
- No New Risk Factors Introduced
- Productivity not Reduced
- Low Cost
Other Possible Interventions
- Install pneumatic or electrically powered valve operator with remote actuator (cost > $1000).
- Reroute pipes and/or relocate valves to allow better access to valves.
Union Sanitary District, Union City, CA; and Ira Janowitz, PT, CPE - UC Ergonomics Program