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EAWS User Group Germany: An international exchange of experiences promotes the standardization of EAWS

The EAWS User Group in Germany met at VW in Wolfsburg in mid-March this year. The results of the EAWS Key User Meeting in Italy were the main topic on the agenda or the list of measures derived from this to clarify other usage issues. They will now firstly be further processed in the EAWS User Group in Germany. Prof. Dr. Peter Kuhlang, the Head of the MTM Institute, and MTM ergonomics expert, Dr. Steffen Rast, will primarily focus on the standardization of the application and therefore on the standard interpretation of workload situations. Secondly, the internationally composed EAWS Technical Board will decide which changes or additions will be incorporated in the EAWS methodology (Ergonomic Assessment Worksheet) during the next few years. The members of the EAWS User Group in Germany have now agreed that there is a need for close international communications and an ongoing comparison of the results from the usage cases in the past with regard to the further standardization of EAWS. As we have already reported, there is due to be an exchange of experiences between German and Italian corporations this year on using the ergonomic assessment tool and on EAWS theory. The meeting is planned to take place in October/November 2017. 

Another point on the agenda was the presentation of the results from an online survey on using the EAWS method. We asked corporations to take part in this process in several issues of MTMaktuell last year too. Michael Spitzhirn has been processing the development of user-oriented assessments of EAWS results for various target groups as part of his doctorate at the Department of Ergonomics and Innovation Management at Chemnitz University of Technology. He logged the requirements and wishes of EAWS users for an efficient and practical assessment system from the online survey.

The information provided by 61 persons in all has been evaluated. Most of them work as ergonomics experts, industrial engineers and work planners in the automobile industry, services or white goods sectors. A distinction has been made between current and former users. All the participants ranked the effectiveness of EAWS as good or excellent, although current users valued it more highly than former ones. Most of those who participated in the survey said that using digital versions of EAWS is also much more effective that using the analog EAWS worksheet.

Michael Spitzhirn also discovered during his assessment that EAWS digitalization should be useful for deriving and completing measures in addition to assessing work stations. “There’s a particularly great need for assessments like the “ergonomic map,” “design analysis” or “job rotation analysis.” The requirements determined and the demands are due to be transferred to a concept and iteratively further developed during the next stage.

The next meeting of the EAWS User Group in Germany will take place at the MTM Institute in Zeuthen near Berlin on 7 June 2017.

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