What is ergonomics?

Ergonomics is defined as “an applied science concerned with designing and arranging things people use so that the people and things interact most efficiently and safely,” according to Merriam-Webster. Ergonomics, as it applies specifically to manufacturing, relates to the science of creating the process to fit the worker rather than pushing the worker to fit the job. The worker is the central focus and their capabilities shape deciding factors. Ergonomic equipment makes performing tasks more comfortable for the worker by limiting awkward motions and positions such as twisting, bending or stretching past a feasible and safe limit. In turn, this allows them to be more productive and have a better work environment. 

Why integrate ergonomic equipment into the manufacturing process? 

Well thought out ergonomics is critical to a safe and well-performing workplace in the manufacturing industry. A manufacturing process that has a high degree of ergonomics functions better and benefits both the workers and manufacturers. The nature of tasks associated with manufacturing can involve repetitive actions, awkward postures, high forces and exposure to vibration from tools and equipment, all of which have the potential to result in injury without proper ergonomics. Creating an ergonomic process is focused on minimizing the risk to employees from repetitive actions and awkward postures in order to maximize the efficiency and quality of the output of the product. 

What are the benefits of ergonomic manufacturing equipment?

A safer work environment

Improving the safety of the worker provides the structure to how an ergonomic manufacturing process should work. Some of the most common injuries resulting from working a manufacturing job result from poor ergonomics. In addition to the most common injuries, the most severe injuries that result from manufacturing can also be attributed to poor ergonomics. Effective use of ergonomics and ergonomic equipment reduces the risk for injuries to workers and improves the overall safety of the manufacturing process as a whole. 

Improves overall worker health

Many injuries that occur due to poor manufacturing ergonomics are the result of repetitive motions. Oftentimes these repetitive movements involve twisting, turning, bending and heavy lifting done by the worker. Painful injuries not only affect the worker at work but at home too, which can negatively impact other aspects of their lives, outside of work. By maintaining good physical health, workers can enjoy an overall improved quality of life. 

Improves efficiency and productivity

Efficiency is increased when the manufacturing equipment is more ergonomic and flows smoothly. Workers have to exert less effort and energy when the task is easier. Less straining and less resistance from the task lead to better use of the workers’ time. 

Productivity also increases when the work environment is more efficient because the worker can perform their job more comfortably and with ease. Effective ergonomic equipment means the worker does not have to pause due to discomfort or pain.

Decreased costs

An injury that occurs on the job results in negative effects for the worker and manufacturer. For the manufacturer, the negative impact is the added cost associated with the injury. Preventing injuries saves manufacturers money on workman’s comp, insurance cost and lost time due to restrictions on work. The average cost of a single workers’ comp claim is 40,000 dollars, according to the National Safety Council, but such costs can be prevented by investing in ergonomic equipment. Additionally, the increased efficiency from ergonomic equipment can also help to produce more goods in a shorter time period, enabling the manufacturer to up their production and capitalize on the time saved. 

What best practices should manufacturers follow when integrating ergonomic equipment?

Integrating ergonomic equipment into the manufacturing process can be an excellent way to mitigate injuries. The most beneficial way to integrate ergonomic equipment is through a long-term process that relies on continual improvement, according to the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation. 

Lifting or moving items

Workers should take great care when lifting or moving items and consider utilizing lifting aids and lifting assistant devices for such tasks. Our Pneumatic Lift and Turn Table can be an excellent solution to minimize walking and forklift interference. This turntable assists the worker in their ability to lift heavy items without straining or over-stretching their body to perform tasks by making the equipment do the work for them. The table lifts to various heights and is spun so the worker can access the other side of a container or rack. Limiting such motions and forklift interference can contribute immensely to efficiency and safety. 

American Manufacturing’s Pneumatic Lift and Turn Table has the capacity for 2,000 or 4,000 pounds and is capable of rotating 360 degrees with detent stops every 180 degrees. It features heavy-duty corner stops, accessible lag points and accordion-style vinyl safety skirting. It’s also able to be finished with any color. Contact us today for more information and availability. 

Maintaining posture

Unnatural posture and positions can cause injury and undue strain on the body. Best practices should consider the worker’s posture by ensuring workstations are the proper height for a given task to eliminate bending or stretching too far. One way to achieve this is through specific ergonomic equipment which can help ensure a workstation is at a proper height. American Manufacturing offers gravity tilt tables and two types of container stands, with one being a walk-in container stand. These pieces of ergonomic equipment are well suited to help workers maintain proper posture which is necessary to limit strain on the body. 

Ergonomic equipment pays off 

“65 manufacturing companies that received lift assists, aids and/or transport devices achieved the following results after an average follow-up period of 214 days: the ROI for lifting aids, assist devices and transport devices is .93 years or 10 months and the turnover rate (per 200,000 hours worked) declined from 53.2 to 44.5 – a 16 percent improvement,” according to a study by the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation. 

American Manufacturing prioritizes workers’ health and manufacturing efficiency. Our ergonomic equipment can assist manufacturers in making their manufacturing process safer and more productive. We’re committed to helping manufacturers and workers alike be more competitive and confident in their manufacturing processes and tasks. 

If you’re interested in our high-quality ergonomic equipment, please don’t hesitate to contact us today. We have a variety of products to fit even the most troublesome ergonomic issues. We’re able to help you select the equipment you need for a perfect fit into your manufacturing process, and we’re able to help you integrate your new ergonomic equipment into your manufacturing line. At American Manufacturing, we’re committed to helping you make your manufacturing process a safer and more efficient place to work. Contact us today or give us a call at 419-531-9471. We’d be glad to answer any questions you have about our ergonomic equipment and provide more insight on any of our products.