Industrial Ergonomics

Posted by Brittany Fossier - Digital Marketing Manager on May 27, 2014 2:32:00 PM

Safe-T-Stand Work Station

Ergonomics

 

The direct and indirect costs of injuries are astronomical for a company.  Repetitive Motion Disorders (RMDs) are caused by repetitive motion in the course of normal work.  They are a type of musculoskeletal condition (Redcross, 2011).  According to Erica Redcross, “RMDs and other musculoskeletal disorders are among the most prevalent lost-time injuries and illnesses in almost every industry.  They are also the most costly.”


Ergonomics is defined as, “a science that deals with designing and arranging things so that people can use them easily and safely” (Merriam-Webster).  The scope of ergonomics is obviously very broad covering many different categories.  For the purpose of this blog post, we will mainly be focusing on RMDs caused by overuse in manufacturing facilities.

 

Common Ergonomic Risk Factors

  • "Awkward or sustained postures 
  • Forceful exertion or strain
  • Contact pressure
  • Exposure to vibration
  • Exposure to heat or cold"

Source: Ergonomic Signs and Symptoms

 

Benefits of Making Ergonomic Improvements

Simple solutions can be made to improve facility ergonomics to benefit a company.  Beyong cost savings, some benefits are listed below...

  • "Reducing or preventing injuries
  • Reducing workers’ efforts by decreasing forces in lifting, handling, pushing, and pulling materials
  • Reducing risk factors for musculoskeletal disorders (e.g. awkward postures from reaching into containers)
  • Increasing productivity, product and service quality, and worker morale
  • Lowering costs by reducing or eliminating production bottlenecks, error rates or rejects, use of medical services because of musculoskeletal disorders, workers’ compensation claims, excessive worker turnover, absenteeism, and retraining."

Source: FSM, 2014


So, how exactly can you improve your facility to be more ergonomic? Truth is, it really depends on your particular facility, but there are some universal changes almost everyone can benefit from.  For example: standing surfaces. 

FGIAM PlatformsBare concrete is not ergonomic.  Workers will end up having knee, hip, or back problems if they work on bare concrete day after day.  Work mats can reduce the effects of standing all day by relieving the contact pressure caused by walking on cement.

Other great solutions for assembly line workers include stools and/or platforms of different heights for workers to stand.  This helps the number one Ergonomic Risk Factors which is awkward or sustained postures.  By allowing workers to work at a height that is appropriate for them, you will greatly reduce the risk of back injuries.

By implementing these changes, your company can save a great deal of money and keep your employees happy and healthy.  Ergonomic changes will make your facility much more functional and efficient; therefore, helping the company as a whole.

Works Cited

(n.d.). Retrieved May 22, 2014, from Merriam-Webster: http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/ergonomics

Ergonomic Signs and Symptoms. (n.d.). Retrieved May 22, 2014, from University of California, Riverside - Ergonomics: http://ergonomics.ucr.edu/signs_symptoms.html

FSM. (2014, April). Posture Preservation. Facility Safety Management, pp. 16-19.

Redcross, E. (2011, May 20). Workstations: Is Your Assembly Line Ergonomic? Retrieved May 20, 2014, from Assemby Magazine: http://www.assemblymag.com/articles/print/89033-workstations-is-your-assembly-line-ergonomic

 BUILDING A SAFER,  MORE DURABLE WORLD

 

Topics: Safety, Ergonomics

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