Ergonomics goes beyond stretching programs or choosing the right chair. It is an important strategic consideration. In the manufacturing sector, employees are especially vulnerable to developing musculoskeletal injuries (MSIs) due to several factors specific to their occupations. Risk factors such as heavy lifting, bending, awkward postures, reaching overhead, pushing or pulling heavy loads, and repetitive tasks may increase the chance of injury on the job. To improve ergonomics in manufacturing facilities, here are three strategies to consider:
- Proactive approach. Control the risk before injury happens. Taking a proactive approach that includes ergonomics as a strategy not only accommodates all human and system requirements, it also influences the design of your production floor and workstations to optimize worker wellbeing and improve overall systems performance and productivity.
- Participatory approach. Always involve employees who are specialists in a particular job to get their feedback on any design or process change. Training those employees when you make process changes or add new equipment, to raise awareness of the risks, can have a big impact on reducing the likelihood of incidents leading to injuries.
- Offer opportunities for change. Spending too much time in one position, either sitting or standing, can lead to potential injury. Height-adjustable workstations can benefit employees by empowering them to alternate between sitting and standing throughout the day. Additionally, including ergonomic equipment and specialized stools that can adjust to support various postures are all great options that enable employees to minimize time in one position. Providing variety/alteration in the tasks can also reduce repetition and stress-related injuries.
Meet our Ergonomics Specialist
Era Poddar has a Ph.D. in Industrial Ergonomics from the National Institute of Occupational Health, India, and was a scholar of Indian Council of Medical Research. She holds an International General Certification in Occupational Safety and Health. With 18 years’ consulting, teaching, and research experience, she is an international presenter and author on ergonomics and human factors.
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