Ergonomic Procedures for Using Tools

 In Ergonomics

Modern manufacturing demands have necessitated the implementation of highly repetitive tasks in order to meet the desired high levels of production. Through technological advancements and innovation, human beings have over time designed tools to complete tasks more quickly, easily, and precisely. Usage of such tools is not without its own set of risk factors and shortcomings.

Workers holding and operating these tools during the majority of their workday, often subjects themselves to several MSDs risk factors, such as:

  • Vibration
  • Force
  • Posture
  • Contact stress
  • Repetitive motion

The relative contribution of the physical stress factors from using hand tools are many times difficult to separate from the extensive physical use of the upper limbs in the work process. For instance, hand tool operators may need to assume awkward postures dictated by a specific tool handle location and/or work piece orientation. If the hand tool is powered it may also introduce vibration stress on the human body. Hand tools may also have triggers that can cause contact stress from sharp edges against the fingers or palm. The hands may at the same time be exposed to cold air produced from pneumatic tool exhaust outlets. In summary, hand tools can be problematic to an employee’s health if no ergonomic measures are implemented.

Currently, there are numerous hand tools being marketed as “ergonomic.” Many of these tools have features that may have ergonomic benefits when used correctly. Although some of these tools may have desirable properties, ergonomics experts concur that when selecting a specific tool without considering the total task requirements, may have potentially detrimental consequences.

As stated previously, one of the more common culprits, especially with power tools, is awkward postures. Awkward postures are some of the most frequent remedied ailments solved through the implementation of multi-axis work positioners. Such adjustable, multi-axis work positioners are most advantageous as they offer a high degree of versatility and personal flexibility to work comfort.

Visit our products page to learn how our wide variety of work positioner solutions can assist you in making your work environment more worker friendly.

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