Tractor-trailer redesign. A second study involved ergonomically improving the seating and visibility of 23 tractor-trailer forwarding units of a logging company with an investment of $300 per unit. This resulted in a better operating position for loading, improved vision, and improved operator comfort. As a result, down times caused by accident damage to hydraulic hoses, fittings, and the like went down by $2,000 per year per unit, and daily hardwood extraction was increased by one load per day per vehicle. All told, for a total investment of $6,900, a hard cost savings of $65,000 per year was achieved a 1 to 9.4 cost-benefit ratio (Warkotsch, 1994).
Other innovations. Other innovations by this same collaborative effort between Stellenbosch University, Ergotech, and various forestry companies have included (a) the development of a unique, lightweight, environmentally friendly pipe type of timber chute for more efficient and safe transporting of logs down slopes; (b) redesign of three-wheeled hydrostatic loaders to reduce both excessive whole-body vibration and noise; (c) classifying different terrain conditions including ground slope, roughness, and other conditions and determining the most effective tree harvesting system (method and equipment) for each; and (d) developing ergonomic checklists and work environment surveys tailored to the forest industry. All are expected to result in significant cost savings, as well as greater employee satisfaction and improved quality of work life (Warkotsch, 1994).
I believe this is a good example of what ergonomics potentially can contribute to any given industry when there is a true collaborative effort and commitment.
C-141 Transport Aircraft