Ergonomic injuries and accidents are prevalent across almost all industries. The most common amongst these are called work-related musculoskeletal disorders (WMSDs), injuries that include carpal tunnel syndrome and herniated discs. While other kinds of major accidents are evident, WMSD’s are subtle and often don’t manifest themselves for long periods of time. Hence, we will find out how to avoid workplace accidents with ergonomic safety equipment.
Employees are usually taught how to look out for major accidents at workplace, but since the effects of WSMD’s are not as visible, it is equally important for employees to look out for them. According to the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), MSDs account for 34% of lost-time injuries and every $1 in $3 spent on workers’ compensation costs.
It is important to know the risk factors of these ergonomic injuries. They are:
- Exerting excessive force
- Performing repetitive tasks/motions
- Awkward or static postures for long periods
- Localized pressure to a body part
- Quick motions
- Vibration, compression or contact stress.
According to OSHA, there are three types of controls to limit exposure to ergonomic risk factors, namely engineering controls, administrative and work practices controls, and personal protective equipment. The most desirable amongst these are engineering controls, which means implementing physical change to the workplace.
Some of these engineering controls are:
- Using a device to lift and reposition heavy objects to limit force exertion
- Reducing the weight of a load to limit force exertion
- Repositioning a work table to eliminate a long/excessive reach and enable working in neutral postures
- Using diverging conveyors off a main line so that tasks are less repetitive
- Installing diverters on conveyors to direct materials toward the worker to eliminate excessive leaning or reaching
- Redesigning tools to enable neutral postures
Following are some ways you can implement the engineering controls recommended by OSHA:
Fully Functioning Articulating Jib
Articulating jibs are great material handling devices that can help you avoid ergonomic injuries. Because of the reach-in abilities of articulating jibs, they are useful in a lot of tasks for reaching into accessible areas. By using an articulating jib, you are keeping your employees from the tasks of heavy-lifting, assuming awkward postures and doing repetitive tasks. This can help you adhere to the first three controls recommended by OSHA.
Another great device to help avoid ergonomic accidents is the industrial manipulator. They provide excellent maneuverability of large payloads, increasing workers’ capacities to perform physically stressful and repetitive lifting tasks. This also helps adhere to the engineering controls mentioned above.
Conveyor diverters are devices such as static guides and plows or dynamic gates and paddles. They are used to change product direction to single or multiple locations.
By keeping these things in mind, you can easily know how to avoid workplace accidents with ergonomic safety devices.