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The consequences of Lean Production on work content and ergonomics for the prevention of musculoskeletal disorders - an intervention study.

In 2009 the Ergonomics Department at STH started a multiannual research project in collaboration with the Department of Occupational and Environmental Medicine at Karolinska Institutet. The project has external funding from FAS (Forskningsrådet för arbetsliv och socialvetenskap), the Swedish Council for Working Life and Social Research, (2009-2012).

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Lean production projektet sker i samarbetet med KI.

 Lean Production (LP) is a production concept which today is introduced in many Swedish industrial companies, resulting in changes in working conditions for many people. Among scientists and stakeholders in the industry there are different opinions on whether the impact on job content, work environment and health are positive or negative. The overall purpose of this project is to identify how job content, physical and psychosocial working conditions and health are affected for industrial workers when companies introduce LP. The results will be related to any technical and organizational changes occurring as a result of LP implementation, and to changes occurring for other reasons. Approximately 15 companies are invited to participate in the study and the study group consists of about 1.500 people in production.

Changes in job content, physical and psychosocial working conditions and health are evaluated through a questionnaire, together with interviews, observations, technical measurements and activity analyses, selected by the study group. The evaluations are made before as well as 1 and 2 years after start of implementation. Interviews about job content are performed following a proven model, ARIA, to describe the psychosocial work situation as concrete and neutral as possible. The technical exposure measurements include a full "typical" working day and are based on an activity analysis which is performed through direct observation or video filming, followed by analysis after the event, and synchronized with the measurements of muscular load, work postures and movements. The activity analysis includes, among other things, the categories value-adding and non value-adding work.

It is very important to obtain well-controlled empirical knowledge about the consequences of the introduction of LP in Swedish working life. Through the knowledge acquired in this project a basis is created for how science-based health promoting strategies can be incorporated in the change process at an early stage.


Project leader Professor Jörgen Eklund, tel. +46 (0)8-790 4866
PhD student Malin Håkansson

Email till Malin Håkansson