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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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Ergonomics Tips: Prevent These 3 Common Warehouse Injuries

Ergonomics Tips: Prevent These 3 Common Warehouse Injuries

Post By: Celeste McLaughlin, Ergonomics Manager
Produced by: Solutions Northwest, Inc. (Ergonomics Experts serving Washington, Oregon, and California)
Prevent Common Warehouse Injuries in the Workplace
5.5 injuries occur per 100 full-time warehouse and storage workers every year.U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics 

The tasks that the warehousing and storage industry are primarily engaged in are: “labeling, breaking bulk, inventory control and management, light assembly, order entry and fulfillment, packaging, pick and pack, price marking and ticketing, and transportation arrangement.” U.S. BLS

The warehouse and storage sector may have a high variety of tasks, but they have one very common factor:  “a high rate of strain and sprain injury. Compared to other industries, musculoskeletal injuries occurred twice as frequently.  These injuries most often affected the back, upper extremities and knees, and most likely were caused by exposure to material handling or other ergonomic-related risk factors including high applied force, awkward postures, short cycle times or long work durations without adequate breaks.”

Here are 3 of the most common risk factors and some ways to reduce injury:

1. Slip and fall injuries. According to the 2013 Bureau of Labor Statistics report, 1 in 4 accidents in the warehousing and storage industry occur when employees fall, trip, or slip. Here a few common reasons workers may fall, slip, or trip in the workplace while walking:  water or chemical spills, accumulations of dust or powder on floor, electrical cords and hoses positioned across walkways, general clutter on walking surfaces.

To avoid these common injuries, employers should keep the floors clean and free of clutter. Some equipment requires wires or hoses to be in a walkway, if this is the case, they should be covered with protectors to prevent tripping. All walkways and docks over four feet should have railing. And be sure to keep all areas well lit – if it is difficult to see, then it is more likely for a worker not to see potential hazards in their way.

2. Exertion and repetitive stress injuries. A lot of warehouse and storage work will require exertion and repetition. Poor body posture and improper lifting are common reasons for injury, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Some common injuries are: musculoskeletal disorders, back, and knee injuries.

To avoid injury, ensure that employees are educated about proper lifting procedures and that the workplace has proper ergonomic design.

3. Equipment-related injuries. Often, warehouse and storage companies will purchase equipment to reduce lifting injuries. However, the equipment purchased to avoid injuries can lead to new safety risks. According to OSHA “forklift accidents cause about 95,000 injuries every year. Other equipment that pose a safety risk would be: conveyor belts, hand trucks, power tools and compactors.”

First and foremost, proper training and procedure is a great way to prevent workplace injury. Additionally, proper gear (goggles, helmets, reflective vests) can help protect from hazards. Ensuring that your workers receive proper certifications to operate heavy equipment (as well as keeping these up to date) is also a great way to prevent equipment-related injury.

Consider contacting an ergonomics expert to assess your work environment. As experts in the field, we strive to make sure all workplaces remain a safe and healthy environment for all.

Be sure to share these tips with your workers or employees. 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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