Ergonomics 101

Ergonomics 101

Workers in the manufacturing and distribution industries spend a lot of time moving around. But did you know, that excess movement can not only increase the risk of injury to employees, it can reduce the company’s productivity as well? Each year, four out of every 100 workers in manufacturing and distribution report a workplace injury. Some are related to accidents, but many are related to the daily work environment. Without safety protocols in place, such as proper ergonomics, manufacturing and distribution are at a much higher risk of employee injury and lost time.

What is Ergonomics?

This field studies the interaction of a person with his or her work environment. It measures how well an employee can physically carry out assigned work duties. Any impediment, however minor, causes a loss in productivity. Throughout the day, employees bend, lift, walk, and much more. The discipline seeks to understand the toll that these daily, weekly, and longer-term interactions have on the human body. Scientific studies show that with certain jobs, fatigue accumulates quickly! Even seemingly minor stresses like bending can take a toll on employees. If you’ve ever wondered about the connection between the work environment and risk of injury, statistics show the risks.

What Are The Most Common Problems?

When it comes to long-term problems caused by a workplace with ergonomic inefficiency, there is a pattern in the problems that result. Some of the most common ergonomic-related injuries include:

  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Tarsal tunnel syndrome
  • Muscle sprain
  • Pinched nerve
  • Herniated disc
  • Arthritis
  • Overextension
  • Muscle tear

Ergonomics and Musculoskeletal Disorders

Each year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (the CDC) says more than 70 million doctors’ visits are due to musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs). An MSD affects the tissues, tendons, muscles, nerves, and spinal cord. These issues can range from benign, nagging problems to more extreme injuries that need immediate repairs. Many MSD problems are long-term ailments. With proper protocols, however, they can be avoided. Workers – and their employees – have a long time (usually months to years) to install workplace safety protocols and best practices, such as essential ergonomic practices, to prevent chronic and incapacitating medical conditions.

The Advantages of Workplace Safety

Both the employer and employee benefit from improving workplace safety with lean manufacturing. Whether you own a company or you’re looking for a reason to get more ergonomically-efficient products, here are some advantages to keep in mind.

  • Improved safety
  • Increased productivity
  • Better health
  • Improved quality
  • Lower costs
  • Stronger workforce

Workplace safety can be a serious problem. In 2016, acute injuries (sprains, tears, and strains) resulted in 30% of missed days in the manufacturing and distribution industries. Nearly 20% of injuries were attributed to materials handling. Most cases of workplace absences have been historically attributed to overexertion and physical fatigue. In recent years, more than 400,000 cases have been reported annually of injuries from minor lifting and turning to heavy lifting. When you consider the lost work time and medical bills of each employee injured on the job, the result can be devastating for employers.

Finding a Solution

Fortunately, there is a solution to preventing injuries in manufacturing and distribution. It essentially comes down to creating a comfortable and conducive workplace environment, which ultimately enables lean manufacturing.

From work stations to flow racks, you can count on us to take care of all your ergonomic-related workplace needs. Dedicated to workplace safety, cleanliness, and efficiency, our committed staff takes care of you and your employees. Call or visit our website (www.ctekls.com) to learn more about our ergonomic workplace solutions and to see how they can help you reach your goals.

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