Ergonomic solutions are proven to decrease the incidence and severity of musculoskeletal injuries caused by manual material handling work tasks, reports a 2007 study by Cal-OSHA and NIOSH (see our Aug. 20 post). “Manual handling of containers may expose workers to physical conditions (e.g., force, awkward postures, and repetitive motions) that can lead to injuries, wasted energy, and wasted time,” warns the report. Using ergonomic solutions in the workplace to improve the fit between task demands and worker abilities can significantly benefit your business, the report concludes.

The U.S. Department of Labor defines manual material handling (MMH) as “seizing, holding, grasping, turning, or otherwise working with the hand or hands.” This includes moving individual items or pieces of equipment by manually lifting, lowering, filling, emptying or carrying them. These actions can place extreme stress on workers’ bodies, particularly back, shoulder and arm muscles. (Back injuries are the most commonly reported workplace injury in workers’ compensation claims.)

Ergonomic solutions to material handling seek not only to decrease the physical burden on workers’ bodies, but also to accommodate the wide variety of workers’ abilities and body types. Workers’ abilities will vary with gender, age, gender, strength, stature and a host of other variables. Ergonomic solutions often provide adjustable features to accommodate these differences.

According to the Cal-OSHA/NIOSH report, employing ergonomic equipment and ergonomic task design in your workplace will produce the following benefits:

  • Reduce and prevent injuries;
  • Reduce physical effort by workers by decreasing the forces necessary to perform lifting, handling, pushing and pulling tasks;
  • Reduce risk factors for musculoskeletal disorders;
  • Increase productivity, product and service quality and worker morale;
  • Eliminate production bottlenecks and error rates; and
  • Lower costs by reducing medical, insurance and workers’ compensation claims, lost man-hours, absenteeism and retraining.

Visit the DJ Products website to learn more about ergonomic solutions that will benefit your business.

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