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The "reduction" strategy and the workload of a big city garbage collectors: a case study based on Ergonomic Work Analysis

This article discusses the "reduction" process as a working strategy implemented by the garbage collectors of a big city and its influence on workload and work organization. The so called "reduction" process consists in preparing garbage bags to be collected piling up 'intermediate stocks' before they are loaded on trucks. Garbage collectors' activitiy was studied through Ergonomic Work Analysis (EWA), supplemented by physiological and biomechanical workload measuring. As far as work organization is concerned, it was observed that when garbage collectors adopt this strategy they improve their work rhythm; they have more possibilities to separate garbage, such as plastic bags containing glass pieces from the rest; they manage to interact more with co-workers and communicate better with local residents on better ways of garbage packing. As regard to health and safety, when garbage collectors follow this process they are less liable to getting cut, to being run over, to falling down or to having quarrels with drivers, and their tasks are performed with less biomechanical load. The authors concluded that the "reduction" strategy not only decreases biomechanical load and exposure to risks, but also improves residential garbage collection.

garbage collectors; residential garbage; working method; Ergonomic Work Analysis (EWA); work organization; workload


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