Ergonomics in
the Automotive Industry

ETC has had tremendous exposure to the automotive industry with projects to all of the domestic players as well as many international corporations.

Projects include but are not limited to:

General Motors:

During the tripartite agreement between GM/UAW and Federal OSHA, ETC was asked to assist the corporation in “closing out” the jobs possessing ergonomic risk factors. ETC visited every GM facility in the US including the SPOs and all the subsidiaries.

General Motors (Mexico):

ETC established a complete applied ergonomics laboratory purchasing all of the objective measurement equipment and training the Industrial Engineering staff on the appropriate usage and results. The company also purchased the equipment and developed an onsite wellness center servicing all of the GM plants located in Mexico:

  • Environmental Monitoring
  • Human Vibration testing
  • Anthropometric testing
  • Ergonomic Job Tracking Software
  • Job & Task Demand Measurement
  • Employee Strength & Fitness Evaluation
  • Biomechanical Modeling & Job Simulation
  • Ergonomic Reference Library & Employee Education
  • General Measurement tools

Allison Transmission:

ETC spent three years onsite with Allison Transmission assisting in the conversion from manufacturing to cellular manufacturing of all facilities. ETC performed a comparison study to find the advantages/disadvantages of manual vs. automatic transmissions for GM trucks in terms of physical and mental fatigue, stress and effort specifically induced during transmission operation. The following methods and materials were used for this assessment: Subjective body part comfort ratings and transmission feature ratings from test subjects through the use of Likert scale questionnaires. Examination of the anthropometric and postural characteristics of the test subjects and comparing them to the cab geometry and orientation of controls. Measurement of muscle effort (electromyography) from the forearm flexor and extensor muscles to determine muscle effort and fatigue during operation of transmission. Measurement of contact pressure on pedal, shift knob and steering wheel and correlating the results to muscle effort for determining fatigue. Heart rate monitoring to determine physiological effort and fatigue during operation of transmission. Statistical analysis of collected data (ANOVA, post-hoc comparisons and correlation analyses) to extract significant variables. Developed subjective questionnaires with correlation to the objective data ETC developed guidelines for work reach envelopes, sight lines and static strength limits for Allison Transmission. This was an addendum to the GM standard ERG 1.0 manual meant to reduce the likelihood of misinterpreting the current standard “Manufacturing Ergonomics Requirements ERG 1.0" and provide a new set of guidelines that if followed will reduce the presence of risk factors as outlined on both the UAW-GM long form and short form ergonomic risk factor checklists.

Mitsubishi Motors Manufacturing of America (MMMA):

ETC developed the Ergonomics Process for MMMA (including tool and equipment selection checklists, job hazard assessment and tracking system) Developed ergonomic workstation design specifications Developed Ergonomic Tool design specifications with MMMA vendors Trained entire engineering staff on use and implementation of ergonomic specifications Trained hourly line employees on basic ergonomic awareness Conducted ergonomic/safety workplace risk assessments of all manufacturing and assembly jobs and provided support to the ergonomic committee Developed cost effective solutions and recommendations to reduce risk factors Assisted in OSHA compliance


ETC designed and delivered the Ergonomic Engineering Courses for all levels of engineering including Design through Industrial Engineering. ETC provided services to the majority of facilities including stamping, assembly and distribution/warehousing and glass plants: Belvidere Assembly Sterling Heights JNAP Dayton Thermal Products Kokomo McGraw Glass Newark Assembly Sterling Heights Stamping Toledo Jeep Twinsburg Stamping Plant Chelsea Proving Ground

NACCO Material Handling Group Hyster and Yale:

ETC evaluated existing trucks and designed and developed the “ergonomic interior” with product differentiation. ETC tested the designs for a 5th-95th percentile user. Developed new single handle control replacing “ball on sticks”. Benchmarking & Ergonomic Design Concept Development. ETC has also supplied ergonomics services for the list below and others: Isuzu Nissan Toyota Honda Navistar American Axle and Manufacturing International Corporation Bosch



Industry References

  • Allison Transmission
  • American Axle and Manufacturing
  • Bosch
  • DaimlerChrysler
  • General Motors
  • Honda
  • International Corporation
  • Isuzu
  • Mitsubishi Motors Manufacturing of America (MMMA)
  • NACCO Material Handling Group Hyster and Yale
  • Navistar
  • Nissan
  • Toyota



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