The process of magnetic particle inspection is well known, and examination procedures have detailed specs and requirements. The equipment used for magnetization, especially yokes, have basically been the same for decades. It’s generally accepted that magnetic particle inspection in the field is done in a certain way and takes a level of effort to complete. Across many industries, advances in ergonomic design have greatly improved working conditions, improving efficiency and reducing the risk of long-term injuries. There’s no reason why similar gains can’t be made with magnetic particle examination in the field.
The basic sequence of an MT field inspection is the same with all applications. What changes from job to job is the accessibility of the area to be examined and the environmental conditions. These create risk factors that impact the safety and health of inspectors doing the work. Lifting heavy objects, irregular or unbalanced tools, awkward work positions, overhead work, extreme wrist or grasp deviations, and repetitive motions are all areas of concern. These risk factors lead to the development of musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) that significantly impact the health and reliability of inspectors.
Risk Reduction Measures
There are many risk-reduction measures with a range of effectiveness. The most effective measure is elimination of the hazard itself. The next most effective is substitution: reducing the hazard by replacing the equipment used to do the job. Substituting a standard yoke with one that is specifically designed to minimize weight, wrist deviations, and grip force can significantly reduce the MSD risk factors involved with field examinations.
Proactive reduction of MSD risk will impact an inspection company’s bottom line. Long term exposure to risk factors can lead to wrist and shoulder sprains or carpal tunnel syndrome. OSHA estimates the direct cost for these types of on-the-job injuries at $30,000 per incident, and indirect costs from workers compensation and increased insurance premiums can double that amount. While no single solution will eliminate all risks, moving to ergonomically-designed yokes to perform MT field inspections will significantly improve safety, employee wellness, and profitability.
December 18, 2018
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