It’s sometimes easy to neglect ergonomics in the factory – especially when it may seem costly and frivolous – but it’s actually very important. Ergonomics in the workplace is about comfort and efficiency, but it’s also about safety. A well designed and ergonomic workstation benefits workers and employers, and it also creates a safer, healthier work environment.
Health benefits of ergonomics in the factory
Ergonomics refers to how people interact with their surroundings in the workplace. This can mean a chair that improves comfort because it was designed with a keen attention to the human anatomy, or simply the height or placement of tools and equipment to improve a worker’s efficiency. Ergonomics in the factory can improve mood for workers, increase safety, increase productivity, and it can also help save money for both workers and employers.
Neglecting ergonomics can result in illnesses or injuries in factories such as burns, breaks, amputations, and exposure to toxic chemicals, but even the less extreme – and more common – injuries can cost manufacturers.
Chronic pain and injuries that occur over time – such as chronic back pain, arthritis, and injuries from repetitive motions – are common to manufacturing. These injuries can cause debilitating pain in workers which may result in decreased productivity and loss of production.
According to the American Chiropractic Association, back pain is the leading cause of disability, and is among the most common reasons for missing work. Downtime and losses in productivity cost employers, and medical expenses cost workers.
Things to consider for a safer, more ergonomic work environment
Don’t think about ergonomics simply as keeping workers comfortable. Yes, comfort translates to improved mood, increased efficiency, and higher productivity, but ergonomics is about health and safety, too. Employee workstations should be designed to prevent risk of accidents or injuries. Here are some things to consider.
Temperatures in the workplace should be regulated. Avoid prolonged exposure to extreme heat or cold.
Heavy vibrations can cause chronic and acute health problems.
Lack of rest and sustained physical exertion greatly increases the risk for injury.
Repetitive motions are a common cause for chronic injuries.
Forceful movements and motions can cause injury.
Incentives for faster work rates which may cause workers to work too fast increase the risk for injury.
Disregarding safety protocols, especially around industrial machinery, creates an unsafe work environment.
Workstations should accommodate varying heights of workers. This includes both working height and work surface height. Adjustable equipment can help with this.
Workers need adequate lighting at workstations.
Equipment and components should be easily accessible. For instance, heavy equipment should be low to the ground and easy to reach.
Industrial robots help make work environments safer, too
As long as industrial robots are used properly, they can greatly increase the safety in the workplace. Factory machines can remove human workers from many of the hazards in manufacturing work. Industrial robots help remove humans from dangerous work environments, they reduce the risk for repetitive work injuries, and they make work easier and less physically demanding for workers.
Your Indramat motion control system improves speed and efficiency in the workplace, but it also helps keep your workers safe and healthy. Let us help keep your Indramat system healthy. We are Indramat specialists with the knowledge and experience to help you with any of your Indramat service needs. Call us today at 479-422-0390.