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The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 4, Issue 9 (January 1, 1930)

Results of Fatigue Experiments

Results of Fatigue Experiments.

The next step to show the result of fatigue, (See Fig. 2.) I shall select from the workshop experiments of Gilbreth, who, by-the-way, probably stands as the ideal scientific investigator. His idea was to co-ordinate the relation between fatigue, time and motion. Explained simply it meant that, under workshop conditions, what was the connection between fatigue, picking up weights, placing them down, and the movements necessary to complete the operation. The operation was timed in three sections, viz., time from starting to picking up weight, length of time from picking up to depositing, and length of time to recover an upright position. The experiment proved that the time of motions of different lengths is practically the same, unless those of the same length are consecutively repeated. The quantity of work that can be done in a day is, of course, much less with long motions than with short ones, due to extra time needed to overcome the fatigue of the long motions.

Having thus shown that laboratory methods give point to the statement that fatigue is wasteful in industry, turn now to the workshop for a consideration of the application of fatigue-saving principles. In the first article it was stressed that psychology in business aimed at getting the maximum output from the minimum of effort. Assuming that this is the aim, as I believe from personal investigation in the Railway Workshops, what steps should be taken to ensure that this aim is to be attained? First, education must be carried out. It must not be page 30 assumed that ordinary education is meant, but rather a complete understanding of the aims and objects of new methods and modes of setting out a shop, no matter whether it be a departmental or sectional workshop, or a huge undertaking like our own Railway shops. Men from top to bottom must throw overboard preconceived notions of right or wrong methods. The only right method is the one reached through scientific research.