Identifying Ergonomic Hazards
Ergonomics by definition, is the study of people’s efficiency in their working environment. In a practical sense, ergonomics refers more to the observation and optimization of a work environment to suit the human beings. Implementation of ergonomic aids into the modern workplace is often required to decrease overall worker fatigue or risk of injury while increasing time-efficiency, productivity, and comfort. It can be easy to see how designing workspaces to be more ergonomically friendly pays huge dividends for companies that choose to do so. However, ergonomic solutions can only be of value when they are implemented and used correctly and are mitigating the potential for workplace hazards.
Risky behaviors in the workplace include things that may seem fairly harmless initially but threaten to become larger issues if not addressed properly. Activities that require employees to exert strain and physical efforts, such as heavy lifting, carrying, and repositioning objects or performing other physically demanding tasks can today be addressed by implementing available ergonomic aids, tools or products. However, other tasks have risks that may not be as apparent as these examples. Perhaps there are no physically strenuous tasks on your shop floor, this doesn’t mean there aren’t ergonomic issues present. Repetitive motions, prolonged exposure to heat, cold, loud noises, or vibrations, are all examples of ergonomic issues that all deal with implications to the human body other than just physical exertion.
The Ergo Tranz helps eliminate many situations where the employee would need to carry, bend, twist, and lift.
The Ergo Force is one of four ergonomic work positioners that secures heavy loads. It can rotate and twist heavy objects while being worked on to eliminate strain, awkward positions, and frequent heavy lifting.
While the human body is a biological marvel in and of itself, but this does not mean it is indestructible. It is important to remember that the human body has limitations, and that modern ergonomic solutions are designed to bridge and cater to those limitations. Therefore, when an ergonomic workplace issue is identified, it’s important to address it in a timely fashion. If left unresolved, an initial minor issue can quickly or over time snowball into becoming a serious problem.
The nature of ergonomics is that solutions are often times simple and straightforward. If the work is too physically demanding, consider implementing equipment that can eliminate the human exertion elements. If there is an environment with potentially harmful stimulus to the workers, provide personal protective equipment to ensure their safety at all times. The possibility for ergonomic improvements to the workplace is virtually limitless. Next time you find yourself on the shop floor, ask yourself, “Is there something more I can do here?” Chances are, there will be, and your shop floor personnel will thank you with improved performance and quality of work.