Increased production, product quality, effective use of time and employee safety are all important factors in any manufacturing situation. Finding a way to use ergonomics in the work place will positively affect all of these important workplace values. An article written by James Mallon talks about how implementing workstation ergonomics might take some work, but the end result is worth it.
He says the best way to convince upper management that ergonomics should be implemented into the workplace is by a data driven approach. By identifying specific safety and workplace risks such as awkward postures, forceful exertions, and high rates of repetition it can be shown that production and product quality suffer when workers aren’t performing their best. I also see the long term issue of worker injury from wrong body posture and exerting ones self. Body posture greatly affects our backs. Back injuries are one of the hardest injuries to fully recover from. Just like a slip and fall injury, back injuries can be devastating.
James gives a few simple ergonomic guidelines that companies should start adhering to:
To address posture issues:
1.) Perform material handling tasks between knee height and shoulder height
2.) Perform heavy assembly tasks at approximately waist level
3.) Perform light assembly tasks at approximately belly height
4.) Perform inspection tasks at approximately chest height
To address force issues:
1.) Limit repetitive finger forces to less than 2 lb (0.9 kg)
2.) Limit repetitive hand and arm forces to less than 10 lb (4.5 kg)
3.) Limit repetitive back bending to less than 25 lb (11.3 kg)
These simple guidelines can help implement simple ergonomics into the workplace. Simple approaches to help improve worker safety are a good way to create a confident work force. By choosing safety products such as durable non slip flooring, safety in slippery situations is created. SlipNOT® perforated plate even flexes a bit to help prevent worker fatigue.
Take a few moments to consider workplace ergonomics and finding a way to implement them into your work environment. Safety, production and quality will all benefit.
Mallon, James. “Managing Health: Using Ergonomics to Drive Excellence in Manufacturing.” www.ehstoday.com. December 13, 2012. December 26, 2012. < http://ehstoday.com/health/managing-health-using-ergonomics-drive-excellence-manufacturing>