Ever have a cramp or ache after work and wonder, “what did I do?”

Ergonomics of your workspace may be the answer to the question.
By Mike Lampl, BWC Ergonomics Technical Advisor

What is Ergonomics?
A practical definition for ergonomics is the science of matching workers and workplaces in a manner that improves worker productivity while lowering the risk of injury and discomfort.  More scientifically, ergonomics is the study of human abilities and limitations and the application of this information to the design of the man-made environment.  Think of something you have done to make your own job easier, more comfortable, and more productive.  That is ergonomics.

Ergonomics in the workplace is mostly directed at musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs).  In addition to injury reduction, ergonomics often positively impacts productivity, quality, employee turnover, and morale.

How can ergonomics be incorporated into the workplace?
O Reduce forceful exertions.
O Reduce manual loading by using convey­ors, hoists and other mechanical means.
Ergo blog 1O Use carts, hand-trucks or powered equipment when moving materials.
O Minimize the weight of tools.
O Use vices and clamps to hold materials.
O Learn from each other how to best use tools safely and efficiently.


Ergo blog 2

Ergo blog 6
O Maintain neutral postures as much as possible.
– Maintain the s-curve in your back. This can be achieved by tilting containers and
using seats with good lumbar support.
O Maintain a straight neck. Adjust working heights or tilt the equipment.
O Reduce the mechanical pressure on your soft tissues.
– Add padding to tools.
– Use cushioned chairs.
– Use floor mats.
O Maintain straight wrists. Use tools with proper thickness, length and shape.
O Work at approximately elbow height — slightly below for heavier work and slightly
above for precision work.
O When lifting, lift between your knee and shoulder height and carry at about your
waist height.
O Minimize reaching. Locate frequently used items as close to you as possible.

With MSDs caused by overexertion and/or repetitive motion accounting for roughly one out of three occupational injuries , ergonomics continues to be an important consideration in the workplace.

Employers in Ohio and throughout the nation have added ergonomic improvements such as lift tables, better tools, lifting devices, workstations with adjustability, etc.  Many have seen great success in injury reduction and avoidance as well as productivity improvements.

What has been your greatest success in regards to ergonomic improvements? Share it in our comment section so maybe others in our safety community can learn from it as well.

Be safe Ohio!

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