An Ohio Workers' Compensation Lawyer Discusses
Workers in manufacturing face many risks to their safety and health. Their jobs may involve working with machines or doing a lot of lifting. They typically perform tasks that involve repetition, forceful exertion, or sustained body positions. Safety procedures need to be followed, but workers can still be injured.
Ergonomics can play a big role in keeping workers healthy in the manufacturing industry. EHS Today points out that ergonomics can help companies reduce injury rates, create a safe working environment and reduce costs while increasing production.
Five postures workers should avoid
Helping workers avoid certain body positions can make a difference. Awkward positions include:
- Arms above the head – This can lead to issues such as muscle spasms, shoulder strains, and shoulder inflammation. Solutions include changing equipment or setups so that workers can perform tasks with arms out between the mid-thigh and mid-chest height.
- Twisting back – Extreme twisting motions can result in muscle strains, disc herniation, or bone spurs. Solutions include redesigning work areas and procedures so that workers can avoid twisting by turning their whole body, not just their upper torso.
- Forward bending – The distribution of weight from bending down to pick something up puts significant pressure on the lumbar spine and muscles in the back. Solutions may involve lowering workstations, using lifting devices, and changing or redesigning certain tools.
- Non-neutral wrists – When workers perform tasks while bending their wrists, it could lead to issues such as carpal tunnel syndrome. Solutions may include education, additional training, or redesigning work areas.
- Frequent kneeling and squatting – Over time, this could lead to health problems such as osteoarthritis in the knees or bursitis. Solutions may include identifying problematic tasks, redesigning work areas, and providing workers with protective gear such as knee pads.
7 steps to improving ergonomics
Companies can be proactive by identifying problems and then finding ways to correct them using the following steps:
- Surveys – Ask workers questions about the tasks they perform and ways the process could be improved for them. Keep the surveys anonymous to get honest feedback.
- Factory audit – Using information from the surveys, investigate concerns and issues brought up by workers. Observe worker body positioning and mechanics as they perform tasks. Use resources from OSHA to conduct an assessment.
- Education and collaboration – Based on the audit, explore possible solutions. This could involve redesigning equipment or providing training. Talk with engineering and maintenance departments about what can be done, and involve workers in the process.
- Cost justification – OSHA offers a tool for factoring in the cost of making these changes, one that factors in the sales of a product to make for the cost of injury.
- Consider the human factor – Factor in the different heights, weights, ages, genders, and health profiles of workers when redesigning work areas and equipment.
- Case studies – After making changes, ask workers if the improvements have made a difference. Before and after pictures may be useful when presenting findings to company leadership.
- Continuous improvement – Ergonomics is an ongoing process. Continue to find ways to improve the manufacturing process to keep employees healthy
When workers are hurt on the job, they are entitled to receive workers’ compensation. But the claims process can be complicated. Employers and insurance companies may question the seriousness of injuries and claims can be denied. That’s why it’s important to talk to an experienced workers' compensation attorney if you suffered a work injury.
The attorneys at Hochman & Plunkett Co., L.P.A fight for injured workers in Dayton, Cincinnati, Springfield, and Troy. We guide our clients through the process every step of the way and fight for the benefits they deserve. Contact us for a free initial consultation.