Reducing ergonomic risks in your workplace can have substantial benefits such as fewer MSD incidents, fewer lost workdays, lower workers’ comp costs, improved productivity and morale, and greater safety.
You can reduce ergonomic risks in your workplace by using:
- Engineering controls, such as redesigning workstations, tools, and equipment to increase worker comfort and prevent MSDs
- Administrative controls, such as worker rotation, more task variety, and more frequent rest breaks, if necessary, to reduce stress on workers’ bodies
- Safe work practices, such as safe lifting techniques or use of mechanical material-handling aids
- PPE, such as gloves and kneepads to protect workers from contact and vibration stress
- Training to teach employees to recognize hazards and take proper precautions to prevent MSDs, such as maintaining a neutral position while working
Get Employees to Help
Your workers can play a big role in reducing ergonomic risks by keeping you informed of problems and MSD symptoms.
Quick Case: Office workers at one company complained of pain and stress from long hours of sitting and working on a computer. Bending and reaching to retrieve files from file drawers was also a problem.
Solution: The company trained workers to use the adjustment tools on their chairs, computer monitors, and furniture systems more effectively. Employees were also encouraged to take microbreaks to stretch and relieve muscle tension caused by sitting and keyboarding. Simple changes in workstations were also made to avoid bending and reaching.
Quick Case: Employees at a manufacturer of ceramic cooktops had to manually lift uncut plates of glass onto a waist-high conveyor belt from a knee-high holder, which meant a lot of bending all day.
Solution: The employees themselves devised a stand made from a wooden shipping crate and placed it beneath the holder to raise the glass to waist-height, thereby eliminating the bending and risk of back injury.
By the way, these tips are from just one of the hundreds of materials addressing ergonomics and MSDs on Safety.BLR.com. You can see them all—along with other materials on every imaginable safety and health topic—by simply signing up today for a free 2-week trial.
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