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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.”

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.  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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Exercises you can do at your desk: Outer Hip Exercises

Exercises you can do at your desk: Outer Hip Exercises

Post By: Celeste McLaughlin, Ergonomics Manager
Produced by: Solutions Northwest, Inc. (Ergonomics Experts serving Olympia, Seattle, Salem, Portland, Arcata, and more.)
Watch Solutions Northwest Inc.’s Ergonomics Exercises video series:
Exercise at your desk: Outer Hip Exercises” by clicking on the image above or visiting our YouTube channel.

After watching the video, find more exercises you can do at your desk:

Working out can seem like quite the chore, but our Ergonomics Consultants at Solutions Northwest, have compiled a list of exercises that you’re able to do at work – and better yet, you can do most of these exercises while sitting down on your office chair.

Check out this playlist of exercises that strengthen your core, improve your posture while sitting, and provide enough strength to make it through a sedentary, office workday.

Ergonomics Exercises you can do at your desk Playlist:

Our ergonomics experts have assembled these workouts for you in order to help make your office an injury free work zone.

Be sure to share these tips with your employees, especially if you work in the Human Resources or Office Administration department. For more guidance on all work related health and safety issues, visit or Contact Us for more detailed information.

Don’t forget to subscribe to our blog for more ergonomics tips from Solutions Northwest Inc., ergonomics consultants located in Washington State, Northern California, Oregon, Seattle, Olympia, Tacoma, and Portland.

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Ergonomics’ Science Behind Standing at Work

By Janet DeLapp, MS, CDMS, CPDM, CPE

You may have heard that the effects of sitting all day is the equivalent to smoking a pack of cigarettes per day. It is not clear where the scientific evidence that supports that statement is found but we do know that there is no evidence that sitting causes lung cancer. Thank goodness.

However, there is evidence that prolonged sitting has a negative effect on cardio-vascular health but how bad of an effect is not known yet. Also, what is not known is whether standing at work reduces the chance of developing musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs), such as, tendonitis, low back issues or carpal tunnel; the longitudinal studies have just not been produced yet.

Keep in mind, Ergonomics is the science that helps people stay free from developing MSDs while also improving overall comfort and productivity. This is done by insuring the ergonomic risks, leading to the development of these disorders, are eliminated.

In the office environment, the most common ergonomic risk factors found include:

  • Awkward postures of the spine and upper extremities due to:
    • Incorrect equipment heights in relation to the individual’s anthropometric needs (NOTE: anthropometrics is the science of body measurements and is used in implementing ergonomics practices)
    • Incorrect equipment positioning
    • Incorrect equipment
  • Repetitive work with inadequate rest breaks
    • Studies show that the typical break schedule of 15,30,15 minutes is not sufficient to recover from repetitive office work.

The fact is, installing a sit-stand station does nothing to abate these 2 biggest ergonomics concerns listed above. That is not the worst of it. The most dangerous thing is that once a sit-stand station is installed, often both the employer and employee think that the ergonomic risks are abated, when in fact, they are not. In fact, new ergonomic risk factors may have been introduced with the new workstation.

We all know, standing some of the time to work is great, it feels good to have that freedom of movement, right? Well, the fact is, the standing desk is not effective in getting you to move enough. Standing, by itself, is not much better than sitting; all the health benefits reside in moving. The point is, you have to get the blood that has pooled in places, pumped up through the heart again. Blood pools when you sit or stand too long and only moving will pump it back up.

The good news is that more dynamic workstations and work environments, where movement is incorporated more naturally, are the future and with them, will come improved health. Perhaps these new work environments will also reduce MSDs in the workplace. However, to do so, the design engineers need to incorporate ergonomics principles into their designs.

For now, here is the take away to make sure you are getting the most benefit from that new sit-stand station:

  • First, ask a professional Ergonomics Consultant to evaluate the ergonomic risk factors that are present in your work area. There is a 99% chance there are some and you will be happy to get rid of them.
  • Second, develop a healthy sit-stand-move schedule. So far, evidence supports:
  • Sitting ½ the day and standing ½ the day and changing posture every 30 minutes or
  • Sitting 20 minutes, standing 8 minutes and moving 2 minutes every half hour, in addition to your regular breaks.
  • Ideas on how to move more include:
    • Take 10 steps in your work area
    • Do ten calf raises or squats
    • Stretch
    • Go talk to a co-worker face to face
    • Do walking meetings

In the long run, if professionals bring the science of ergonomics and the science of health together, the best solutions for optimum health will result but they both have to work together.

For more expert ergonomics advice, Contact and we’ll be happy to help.


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