Ergonomics Class Tours NSSA Production Shops

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Story Number: NNS140326-20Release Date: 3/26/2014 4:04:00 PM

By Chris Wyatt, Norfolk Ship Support Activity Public Affairs

NORFOLK (NNS) -- Norfolk Ship Support Activity (NSSA) hosted the Navy Ergonomics class for a tour of its Intermediate Level shops, March 26.

The class is one of the core courses under Naval Safety Environmental Training Program required by the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations instruction manual for forces ashore.

"This is a great opportunity for the students and the command. The command gets thirty-five sets of eyes coming in freshly indoctrinated in what types of hazards to look for while they go through our spaces," said NSSA Safety Specialist John Mapp.

Work-related injuries (including those of the neck, upper extremities and low back) are one of the leading causes of lost workday injury and illness in the Navy. Sailors can be exposed to risk factors at work, such as lifting heavy items, bending, reaching overhead, pushing and pulling heavy loads, working in awkward body postures and performing the same or similar tasks repetitively.

"Ergonomics is a real applied science," said Lee Ostrom, associate dean and full professor at the University of Idaho. "This opportunity to come in and tour an industrial work center gives our students a real life work environment to apply the analysis that they learned in class."

The class had a heavy focus on NSSA's Hull Branch primarily because they manipulate the largest and or bulkiest equipment in the building.

Accommodation (Accom) ladders are one of the bigger pieces of equipment that the shipfitter shop repairs. Accom ladders can be up to 60 or 70 feet in length and made of aluminum.

"My main focus was to take the students through my shipfitter shop where we work on Accom ladders," said Senior Chief Hull Technician Shane Stephenson, NSSA Hull Branch Division leading chief petty officer. "We are looking for a better way to move the Accom ladders to and from the piers. With the students, I can get a fresh set of eyes to come in and make suggestions on a better way to rack and stack my ladders."

After the completion of the tour, students document their findings and make suggestions on possible solutions.

"We really appreciate the help we receive from NSSA and all of the Sailors who work to get us into their spaces to do walkthroughs," said Ostrom.

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