Explaining the Ergonomic Assessment of Human Movement in Industrial Contexts
Proceedings of the 13th International Joint Conference on Biomedical Engineering Systems and Technologies
The Faculty of Sciences and Technology and the NOVA University Lisbon have the right, perpetual and without geographical boundaries, to file and publish this dissertation through printed copies reproduced on paper or on digital form, or by any other means known or that may be invented, and to disseminate through scientific repositories and admit its copying and distribution for non-commercial, educational or research purposes, as long as credit is given to the author and editor. This document
... s created using the (pdf)L A T E X processor, based in the "novathesis" template , developed at the Dep. Informática of FCT-NOVA .  https://github.com/joaomlourenco/novathesis  http://www.di.fct.unl.pt A b s t r ac t Manufacturing processes are based on human labour and the symbiosis between human operators and machines. The operators are required to follow predefined sequences of movements. The operations carried out at assembly lines are repetitive, being identified as a risk factor for the onset of musculoskeletal disorders. Ergonomics plays a big role in preventing occupational diseases. Ergonomic risk scores measure the overall risk exposure of operators however these methods still present challenges: the scores are often associated to a given workstation, being agnostic to the variability among operators. Observation methods are most often employed yet require a significant amount of effort, preventing an accurate and continuous ergonomic evaluation to the entire population of operators. Finally, the risk's results are rendered as index scores, hindering a more comprehensive interpretation by occupational physicians. This dissertation developed a solution for automatic operator risk exposure in assembly lines. Three main contributions were presented: (1) an upper limb and torso motion tracking algorithm which relies on inertial sensors to estimate the orientation of anatomical joints; (2) an adjusted ergonomic risk score; (3) an ergonomic risk explanation approach based on the analysis of the angular risk factors. Throughout the research, two experimental assessments were conducted: laboratory validation and field evaluation. The laboratory tests enabled the creation of a movements' dataset and used an optical motion capture system as reference. The field evaluation dataset was acquired on an automotive assembly line and serve as the basis for an ergonomic risk evaluation study. The experimental results revealed that the proposed solution has the potential to be applied in a real environment. Through direct measures, the ergonomic feedback is fastened, and consequently, the evaluation can be extended to more operators, ultimately preventing, in long-term, work-related injuries.