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ERTH3250 Hydrogeology : Physiological Mechanisms




1. “Ergonomics seeks to maximize safety, efficiency and comfort by shaping the work environment to the operator’s capabilities….” (Oborne, 1998 p8)

a) With reference to ergonomic approaches and examples, critically evaluate this statement, explaining what you understand by the term ‘ergonomics’, illustrating your answer with appropriate examples. (70%)

b) Explain, in detail, how the use of an ergonomic approach may contribute to the reduction of ‘human error’. (30%)

2. You are approached by Cool Cosmetics Ltd to design a new workroom to be used as an area for packing cosmetic gift boxes by hand. Gift boxes are to be packed with a variety of cosmetic products (shampoo, bodywash, sponge etc) by a team of eight operators (male and female) along a conveyor line. The assorted products, flat pack inner boxes and an insert card arrive on the conveyor and are packed into boxes by the operators. At the end of the conveyor, six gift boxes are placed in an outer box which is then put on a pallet.

a) Propose and justify, a design that will maximize the safety,  efficiency and comfort of the employee. (70%)

b) Explain in detail, how you would investigate the effectiveness of the design in maximizing well-being of the workforce, with particular reference to MSDs, some months after the work room is operational. (30%)


3. a) Explain, in detail, the principles of LEV design to achieve effective control of airborne contaminants. (70%)

b) As the owner of a small garage premise, you wish to extend your activities to include the spraying of two-pack isocyanate paint products in a spray booth.

(i) Propose and justify an appropriate design for the spray booth. (15%)

(ii) Recommend additional controls in this instance, which may be appropriate to control exposure to isocyanates and protect workers’ health. (15%)

4. a) Explain in detail, the physiological mechanisms by which Noise Induced Hearing Loss occurs. (40%)

b) Appraise alternative methods for noise control which may be used to achieve occupational exposure standards for noise. (60%)

5. a) Distinguish between the characteristics of ‘active’ and ‘latent’ failures. (50%)

b) Describe and discuss the role of accident investigation in the management of occupational safety and health. (50%)

Assessed intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of this assessment, you will be able to:

1. Critically evaluate social, demographic and industrial influences on occupational safety, health and well-being.  

2. Demonstrate critical awareness of the relationship between occupational health and occupational safety and implications for risk management.   

3. Demonstrate detailed understanding of ergonomics and its contribution to the conservation of occupational safety and health risk. 

4. Demonstrate detailed knowledge of contemporary risks as informed by national and international policy.

5. Access and interpret relevant injury and ill-health data to make recommendations for prioritisation of intervention.  

6. Make judgements on alternative strategies to manage workplace safety and health risks. 

7. Formulate and communicate intervention strategies addressing workplace health and safety risks.

8. The ability to learn and work autonomously and in a team in planning and implementing tasks and to exercise self-direction, initiative and originality in tackling and solving problems; 

9. The ability to plan and manage work programmes including decision making in complex situations.

1. To examine in detail social and technical influences on existing and future risks to safety, health and well-being. 

2. Develop detailed understanding of the intervention strategies which may be used to manage occupational safety risks and to conserve well-being. 


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