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Ergonomics - General Controls of Ergonomic Hazards



Controlling ergonomic hazards should usually address the following limits for body postures:
  • Generally, the torso should not be bent forward farther than 20 to 30 degrees from vertical.
  • Reaches should be limited vertically and horizontally to those areas where the elbows can remain in close to the torso.
  • The wrist should not be bent either up or down, or to either side.
  • The forearm should not be repeatedly rotated especially when the wrist is bent.
  • The head should not be bent either forward or backward.
  • The torso should not be twisted especially when lifting or bending.
Training employees should include the following:
  • The basics of biomechanics, or how much force can be placed upon the body before it breaks down;
  • The specific safe ergonomic work procedures for their particular tasks;
  • How and why to properly adjust their work fixtures and equipment;
  • Early warning signs of ergonomic injury;
  • Procedures for reporting ergonomic injuries; and
  • Procedures for post-reporting follow-up to minimize the chance of long term injury.
Examples:
  • Platforms raise employees so they can reduce elevated reaches.
  • Narrower conveyors and cutting surfaces reduce distant reaches.
  • Bent handled knives allow cuts to be made with the wrist in a neutral position.
  • Spring loaded scissors relieve contact stress to the hand.
  • Palletizers allow loading at waist height.
  • Reducing the size of boxes limits the weight of a box.
  • Tubs with an adjustable floor raise the load to eliminate the need for reaching down to remove product.
  • Ramping conveyors allows placement of shorter employees in positions where they can reach the line.
Early warning symptoms of ergonomic injury may include:
  • Aching
  • Burning
  • Cramping
  • Loss of color
  • Numbness (asleep)
  • Pain
  • Reduced range of motion
  • Swelling
  • Stiffness
  • Tingling
  • Weakness
Spring loaded scissors relieve contact stress to the hand Narrower conveyors and cutting surfaces reduce distant reaches Palletizers allow loading at waist height
Ergonomic and Upright Handle Knives; 30 degree and Upright Handle Knives; and 45 degree Bend and Pistol Grip Knives Man standing against equipment to show correct posture


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