Special Topics in Safety Management

Ergonomic Tools: A Simple Way to Prevent MSDs

Preventing musculoskeletal disorders is a major concern for safety professionals. One important factor is the tools employees use.

Tools should be designed to help workers maintain a neutral body position and avoid:

  • Twisting
  • Vibration
  • Static muscle loading
  • Pressure on tissue and joints

Other important considerations:

  • Use supports or counterweights to minimize the weight of the tool.
  • Tool shape should help prevent awkward wrist or shoulder postures.
  • Balanced tools will help prevent strain on the wrist.

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Design Counts

Handle size impacts the amount of force and muscle strain needed to hold the tool. Handles should:

  • Fit the individual user’s hand
  • Be long enough so that the end does not press into the palm or wrist
  • Have rounded edges
  • Be made of compressible and nonslippery material
  • Minimize the transfer of vibration to the hand

Other important design features:

  • The power control of the tool should not require extra force to turn the tool on/off or to keep it operating. Buy power tools with an automatic start/stop feature.
  • Avoid triggers that require high tension with one finger.
  • Variable torque settings help to minimize rotational forces.

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Safety Training Presentation topics covered include:

  • Bloodborne Pathogens
  • Back Safety
  • Emergency Action
  • Ergonomics
  • Fire Prevention
  • PPE
  • Welding/Cutting/Brazing
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  • Scaffolds
  • Lockout/Tagout
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  • Confined Space Safety
  • Fall Protection
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