IRSST - Institut de recherche Robert-Sauvé en santé et en sécurité du travail

Musculoskeletal disorders and modular work organisation in a boot factory


This project studied the effect of the reorganization of all the workstations in a boot factory on musculoskeletal injuries. Previously, all the workers involved in a given production process reported to the same department; under the new system, workers were assigned to eight-person modules responsible for all production processes. One year after the reorganization, the company was growing rapidly but musculoskeletal problems were increasing among seamstresses. The goal of this project was to clarify the impact of the new modular form of work organization on the development of musculoskeletal problems, and to improve the situation by applying ergonomic principles. Tasks and rotation were found to be mismatched to production imperatives. The new form of work organisation resulted in the creation of bottleneck workstations, at which work intensity, and consequently exposure to risk factors, increased. The study's principal recommendations were that the company should do more to help seamstresses increase their skills, and that rotation between modules should be increased and communication improved.

Additional Information

Type: Project
Number: 0093-1010
Status: Completed
  • Susan Stock (Hôpital Maisonneuve-Rosemont)
  • Nicole Vézina (Université du Québec à Montréal )