3 safety tips: Ergonomics best practices for manufacturing

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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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The Ten Commandments Of Ergonomics

By Manu Nellutla. With the increased incidences in work-related musculoskeletal disorders across industry sectors, ergonomics has been identified as the best solution. A comprehensive ergonomics program requires participation from both the employer and the employee.

I present below a simple way of reminding employees how to reduce the risk of developing musculoskeletal disorders. I call it the ‘Ten Commandments of Ergonomics’. These principles can be printed and kept at the desk or work station of the employee as a reminder.

I. Thou shall take micro-breaks at work

II. Thou shall keep everything within easy reach at work

III. Thou shall move, exercise and stretch

IV. Thou shall not use excessive force

V. Thou shall avoid static postures

VI. Thou shall maintain a comfortable environment

VII. Thou shall not perform repetitive work without breaks

VIII. Thou shall minimize fatigue

IX. Thou shall maintain neutral postures

X. Thou shall not stare into the computer screen for a long time

Manu Nellutla is the Director- Research, Programs and Development at the FIOSA-MIOSA Safety Alliance of BC

To learn more about FIOSA-MIOSA’s STENA ergonmics program simply click here.