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Improving life on the line.

YEARS ago Britain was faced with the dreaded prospect of the 'Friday car' - a sad sack of a vehicle that was produced by jaded workers who would throw anything together before heading home for beer and blessed relief from the mindless monotony of the production line.

Happily the number of Friday cars we see these days are microscopic when compared with the 1970s and manufacturers are now acutely aware that a happy workforce makes better cars.

Ford was one of those car makers that took a lot of stick in decades past for Friday cars, so it is heartening to hear that in these enlightened years it is making a great deal of effort to improve life on the assembly line.

The latest thinking from Ford is the 'Happy Seat' - an advanced ergonomic workstation that swings in and out of vehicles to prevent workers having to kneel and contort to fit components.

It is an ingenious swivel chair attached to a rod-shaped suspension which enables workers to sit in comfort on the production line while assembling cars.

Improved ergonomics have become a critical factor in reducing chronic injuries and lowering health costs and to address issues such as an ageing workforce and the physical tolls of long-term working on the line.

Ford convened a team of occupational physicians, production specialists, labour groups and representatives for disabled employees to improve ergonomics, safety and productivity.

Will the Happy Seat finally kill the Friday car altogether? We hope so.


* SITTING PRETTY: The 'Happy Seat'

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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Huddersfield Daily Examiner (Huddersfield, England)
Date:May 13, 2011
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