Working with trucks can be hard on a technician’s body. Just ask older mechanics who have been in the industry for a while. There are injuries like those to the hands and toes, but if there is one consistent complaint, it is back trouble.
The lifting involved as well as some of the awkward positions technicians need to work in put undue pressure on the spine and the back muscles. This video is part of a long term campaign by Scania to improve outcomes for technicians working with the Swedish truck maker’s trucks. The aim is to make the technician’s task easier, while reducing the potential for accidents and chronic health problems.
According to Scania, working with brakes is one of the most frequently undertaken jobs in its workshops. Truck brake components are often heavy and have traditionally been moved manually. Over time, such an approach can lead to back disorders and, in serious cases, chronic illness that requires time off work.
To reduce the risk of such problems arising, Scania has developed new methods for working with brakes that both save time and prevent sore backs.
One example of the new methods is a mobile hoist that can be used to remove brake components, such as callipers and brake discs. These are operations that previously required a high degree of physical strength. These new methods have already been put into use in Scania’s operations in Spain and Portugal.
“The result is striking, not only with regards to the shortening of lead-times, but because the job can now be performed without risking the health of service technicians,” said José Tirado, Scania Iberica’s Human Resources Manager. “Another benefit of the new methods is that almost anyone can change brakes. It’s traditionally been a very heavy job that not everyone could do.”
Lena Nord Nilsson, a Scania ergonomist who helped develop the approach, says the methods have been included in Scania ergonomics training for service technicians.
“The training programme has been made available globally in 23 languages and the programme is one of the most comprehensive health and safety training efforts in the company,” said Nilsson. “It is also recommended for distribution to schools for transport and automotive technology.”
The programme is divided into two parts, an e-learning course and on-the-job training. The programme material highlights 12 common operations and shows how they can be performed in an ergonomically sound way.
For example, strain is placed on the backs of technicians if they remove wheel nuts while in a standing position. Technicians can significantly reduce strain by using a portable seat which allows them to sit down to carry out the nut-removal operation. Ear protection devices should also be worn to block out the noise of the wheel nut removal tool.
The video above is part of a series Scania have released
One looks at protecting the shoulders:
Another concentrates on the joints: