A woodchuck


The Ergonomic Assessment of an Animal Care Facility


  • Introduction
  • Site Visit

    Data collection
  • Site Inventory
  • Questionnaire
  • Interview

  • Environment
  • RULA


  • Data Analysis I
  • Data Analysis II
  • Suggestions

  • Site Inventory

    An exhaustive inventory of materials and goods available at the facility was completed before other work began. This list included all equipment and articles used in the woodchuck facility, dimensions of cages and pens, amount of force needed to pull some of the racks of cages, and a list of products used for cleaning. Some of the key findings are presented here.
    Woodchuck cages:
    These stainless steel racks are 33" D x 30" W x 77" H. The individual cages are 32" high and stacked 2 cages high.  Because of the height of the cages, it is sometimes difficult for shorter employees to reach upper cages or for taller employees to reach the bottom cages while cleaning. Another issue in the cleaning of these cages is the opening for the cages is small which may be a problem for larger employees to fit through to reach the back of the cage when cleaning.

    Cage unit
    Cage for woodchucks
    Casters on the cages are in the process of being changed.   The original casters on the cages were 3", whereas the casters being put on now are 5".  When measurements were taken, a comparison of the pounds of force needed to move the cages was done.   It was discovered that the new casters significantly reduce the amount of force needed to move the stacks of cages.

    Old caster (detail)
    Old caster
    New caster (detail)
    New caster
    Cleaning supply cart:
    There were many issues of concern regarding the cart that is used to hold cleaning supplies while employees are cleaning the cages. The dimensions of the cart are 24" X 36" X 31" high. When cleaning, the employees must lift the woodchuck's wooden box onto the cart. This is difficult, taking into acount the box weighs 15 lbs. Depending on which cage is being cleaned (top or bottom), the employee must transfer this box onto this cart by either lifting it up or lowering it down. Both processes put stress on the joints. Adjustments to the cart to ease this process would reduce the possible risk of injury. Also, to pull the cart it requires 11 pounds of force. Although this is when the cart is full, it still is a lot of force needed.

    Cart used for cleaning and refilling cages
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