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An Instructional Aid For Occupational Safety and Health in Mechanical Engineering Design

Safety Division, ASME
Safety Division, ASME
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ASME Press
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People are often required to work in an environment where conditions are less than ideal. Such work may expose them to a variety of job-related stresses which can degrade their health over a long period of time and/or increase their chances for becoming involved in a job-related accident. The definitions of stress and strain in this context are far different from conventional engineering terminology. Stress refers to any undesirable condition, circumstance, task, or other factor which impinges upon the worker, while strain refers to the generally adverse effects of these stress sources (or stressors) on his or her performance, safety and health. For example, extreme values of such factors as temperature, relative humidity, poor workplace lighting, as well as excessive amounts of noise and vibration are typical of the stressors which workers may encounter. Disorders such as hearing loss, and “trigger finger” (a loss of flexion control of a finger caused by the growth of a nodule on one of its tendons) have been proven to be the direct result of unacceptable working environments. Similarly, the stressors developed here can cause discomfort prompting workers to pay less attention to the details of their jobs, to tolerate greater risks, or to take short cuts which directly increase their chances for becoming injured on the job.

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