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Some people think all material handling equipment is the same. They may notice that handles, controls, wheels, beds, connectors and other features differ from model to model but they don’t realize that even small differences in design can have a huge impact on how hard or easy a piece of material handling equipment is to use and whether it is likely to injure operators or minimize the risk of injury. Those small differences can add up to huge financial savings when material handling equipment is ergonomically designed to maximize ease of use and minimize risk of injury.

Workplace injuries cost U.S. businesses more than $60 billion annually and affect more than 1.75 million workers each year. A single back injury, which account for 50% of worker’s compensation claims, can cost a business $26,000 in time-lost costs. Utilizing ergonomically-designed material handling equipment to take the strain off workers’ backs during pushing, pulling and lifting activities can result in immediate savings.

When material handling equipment is ergonomically designed, every aspect of the piece of equipment and how it will be used is taken into consideration. Because workers come in all shapes and sizes, ergonomic engineers must consider a wide range of factors in designing equipment so that it can be comfortably used by a varied workforce. As you might expect, ergonomics addresses major design features such as the height of load beds, cart depths, angle of access, force requirements and other macro-design elements.

However, small, repetitive actions like twisting a handle often tax muscles and result in repetitive motion musculoskeletal injuries. Ergonomic engineers strive to address every element of equipment design from the width and angle of hand grips to the placement and shape of control buttons to the size and type of wheel. For more information on ergonomically-designed material handling equipment, visit the DJ Products website.

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