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Ergonomics Tips: How to Work in Comfort

Ergonomics Tips: How to Work in Comfort

Post By: Celeste McLaughlin, Ergonomics Manager
Produced by: Solutions Northwest, Inc. (Ergonomics Experts serving Washington, Oregon, and California)

Ergonomics Tips: How to Work in Comfort and Avoid Workplace Injury
Ergonomics Tips: How to work in comfort

“A total of 5,190 workers died from a work-related injury in the U.S. in 2016, the highest annual figure since 2008. The fatal injury rate was 3.6 per 100,000 full-time equivalent workers, the highest since 2010.” BLS.gov

Whether you work in an industrial plant or retail store, it is important to understand how to avoid workplace injury. Musculoskeletal injuries such as, tendinitis, carpal tunnel syndrome, osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia, and bone fractures can be the result of working in awkward positions instead of your best work zone.

In order to avoid injury, it is important to perform the majority of your work tasks in your best work zone.

What is your best work zone?

Your best work zone (sometimes called the “optimal zone,” “comfort zone,” or “hand shake zone”) is the zone (or area) in which you can perform your work task while maintaining a comfortable or neutral posture. Working in this zone is less likely to cause musculoskeletal injury because you won’t be straining in any awkward positions.Ergonomics Consultants | Solutions Northwest Inc.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has created an illustration to show exactly where your preferred and best work zones are:

According to OSHA, “work is safest when lifting and reaching is performed in these zones. Working outside these work zones results in non-neutral postures that may increase the risk of injury. It is particularly important to perform heavy lifting tasks within the best work zone.”

In Conclusion

As you do your daily work, be sure that you are working in this best work zone. You can call it your “handshake zone” as an easy way to remember or print this blog out to be sure you’re working in your best work zone.

Additionally, if you work on a work bench, assembly line, or countertop that is not in your best work zone, then you should consult with your manager or supervisor about installing height-adjustable equipment to prevent workplace injury. You may want to refer your manager to an ergonomics expert for a workplace assessment as well.

Hopefully these ergonomics tips can help keep your workplace a safe work place. For more guidance on all work related health and safety issues, visit SolutionsNW.com or Contact Us for more information.

Be sure to subscribe to our blog for more ergonomics tips from Solutions Northwest Inc., ergonomics consultants located in Washington State, Kent, Renton, Arcadia, Northern California, Oregon, Seattle, Olympia, Tacoma, and Portland.

 

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5 Ergonomics Tips for Assembly Line Efficiency

5 Ergonomics Tips for Assembly Line Efficiency

Produced by: Solutions Northwest, Inc.
(Ergonomics Experts serving Kent, Renton, Seattle, and Tacoma Washington, California, and Oregon.

5 Ergonomics Tips for Assembly Line Efficiency

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.

In conclusion

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.

 

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