Produced by: Solutions Northwest, Inc.
(Ergonomics Experts serving Kent, Renton, Seattle, and Tacoma Washington, California, and Oregon.
“In 2009 there were 30,790 repetitive motion injuries in the United States.” AssembleMag.com
Not all warehouse or industrial workplace injuries are instant or obvious. Some warehouse injuries occur over a long period of time, but these injuries are just as serious as any other warehouse injury. For instance, assembly line workers risk repetitive motion disorders (RMDs), such as tendonitis or bursitis, carpal tunnel syndrome, trigger finger, or arthritis.
Proper ergonomics in the warehouse or plant should be used to lessen the effects of the repetitive motion involved in assembly line work.
What causes repetitive motion disorders?
Most industrial plant assemblers will repeat the same motion for a long period of time, which can cause fatigue and muscle tendon strain, resulting in repetitive motion disorders. The effects of repetitive motion disorders can increase when assemblers use unnatural or awkward postures with forceful exertions.
Symptoms of RMDs include pain, tingling, numbness, swelling or redness of the affected area, and the loss of flexibility and strength. For some workers, there may be no sign of injury, but workers may find it hard to perform easy tasks. At some point, permanent damage may be done and expensive surgery may be required.
Applying ergonomics as a solution
Ergonomics experts work tirelessly to help reduce injury in the workplace by creating safe and efficient conditions for workers.
Here are 5 ways ergonomics can improve assembly line safety and efficiency:
1. Use an adjustable working height
To avoid hunched posture, craned neck, or injuries, try installing height-adjustable workstations that suite an individual assembler. Not only will this help prevent injury, but work efficiency will improve.
2. Keep everything easy to reach
Every work station is different, but the work area should be designed around the person instead of the other way around. Tools should be within comfortable reach of each operator. The less an assembler or operator needs to strain their body to reach tools, the better.
3. Allow enough room to move around
Standing for long periods of time can cause issues for the legs and feet, so it is important to allow for movement or sitting to relieve pressure.
4. Provide comfortable mats to stand on
Most warehouses have hard floors, so be sure there is a comfortable mat available to relieve any pressure from standing on hard surfaces, such as concrete.
5. Invest in better equipment
While it may be tempting to save money by using a manual lift system instead of an automatic lift system, for example, the long-term investment will pay off. Purchasing equipment that makes the job easier for employees will result in healthier and happier employees. Less workplace injury also means less compensation claims, more efficient workers, lower insurance, and usually a better product.
Every workstation is different, so be sure to consult with an ergonomics expert to assess your workspace. It is important to invest in the safety of your assemblers, the return on investment will save you money in the long run.For more ergonomics tips, visit com and subscribe to our blog.
SolutionsNW.com provides work place and ergonomics tips from Solutions Northwest Inc., an ergonomics assessment provider located in Seattle, Kent, Renton, Tacoma, Washington State, Northern California, Oregon, Seattle, Olympia, Tacoma, and Portland.