PUNCHIHEWA, H.K.G. and GYI, D.E., 2009. Development of a QFD based collaborative design approach to reduce work-related musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs). Design Principles and Practice: an International Journal, 3 (6), pp. 209-223
Participatory ergonomics can help reduce the risk factors for musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs). Its potential can be enhanced by increasing user participation and by helping to provide pragmatic solutions to reduce workplace risks. Research is being conducted to examine the potential of a Quality Function Deployment (QFD) based design approach in reducing work-related MSDs by helping to establish design solutions for equipment and processes. In this pursuit, research has been conducted to investigate potential worker involvement in the participatory process by evaluating their ability to identify risks and user requirements for design to help reduce work-related MSDs. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with a sample of workers (n=22) in three different case study areas. Their line managers (n=6) were also interviewed. Observations and Rapid Entire Body Assessment (REBA) analysis of the work tasks were carried out to supplement and triangulate the worker interview data. The study showed that the workers were able to identify risks and requirements related to tasks. All the workers expressed concern about manual handling. Issues related to awkward postures were also identified by the majority of workers in all three case study areas. The risks and requirements for task improvement extracted from worker interviews were prioritised and details were added from the researcher observations. Findings will inform the development of a QFD matrix-based collaborative design approach to establish design solutions and potentially reduce work-related MSDs.