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Ciência & Saúde Coletiva

Print version ISSN 1413-8123


VILELA, Rodolfo Andrade de Gouveia; ALMEIDA, Ildeberto Muniz de  and  MENDES, Renata Wey Berti. From surveillance to work-related accident prevention: the contribution of the ergonomics of the activity. Ciênc. saúde coletiva [online]. 2012, vol.17, n.10, pp.2817-2830. ISSN 1413-8123.

Work-related accidents are complex phenomena determined by the work organization process, the dimensions of which are usually invisible to surveillance agents. The scope of this paper was a case study based on documentary evidence to analyze and compare the success of an intervention conducted at a meat processing and packaging factory, by focusing on checking health and safety norms in 1997, and incorporating ergonomic concepts in 2008. In 1997, surveillance actions focused primarily on visible risk factors. Despite fulfilling sanitation requirements, the company still had an annual accident rate of 26% in 2008, which motivated the search for a new approach. In 2008, it was seen that accidents were caused by a vicious cycle involving intense work, technical inadequacy, absenteeism and high turnover (84%) that led the company to recruit inexperienced workers. This scenario was aggravated by authoritarian management practices. The ergonomics of the activity contributed to the understanding of organizational causes -thus superseding the normative aspects of traditional surveillance - which revealed the importance of ensuring that surveillance actions for prevention are more effective.

Keywords : Work-related accident; Worker's health surveillance; Ergonomic activity; Meat processing and packaging company.

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