by Alecz Sallows.
Waterloo kinesiology student Mack Gingerich knows that better ergonomics can have a big impact on manufacturing. In his first co-op work term at Canadian automobile parts manufacturer Linamar, Mack conducted ergonomic tests on new production lines being built in the factory. His role was to identify changes that would increase the efficiency, comfort, and safety of workers - changes engineers could incorporate before the line was running in full production.
Melissa Gould, Mack’s co-op supervisor, sees clear value in Mack’s work. “It takes approximately 10-15 minutes for Mack to complete ergonomic testing on a job, compared to a full day or more to complete a PDD in the event of an injured worker and send documentation to WSIB,” she says.
Mack used the Linamar Ergonomic Screening Tool (LEST) to evaluate the new line. His testing involved assessing a few key factors of the job and then using LEST to determine an approximate level of ergonomic risk. When his co-op term was complete, Mack left the engineers a list of his recommendations, which they used to improve the line and proactively ensure the safety of workers.
Linamar consistently hires Waterloo co-op students because of the value their knowledge brings to the workplace. Melissa notes, “These students are learning about cutting-edge research in their classes, which results in some really great new ideas. They help us to ensure that our ergonomics program is current, relevant and effective.”