Ergonomic workstations bring the work to the workers by optimizing the fit between people, their tools, the task and their environment. Examples include raising tables or using tilting work surfaces. The goal is to avoid forcing operators to lean over to do their work using a poor posture that could result in low back and/or upper back discomfort, explained Kelly Wehner, president of MHI member BOSTONtec.
“Ergonomic workstations are designed for the specific type of job duty that is being performed by a worker or assembler,” said Kim Tyler, sales manager at MHI member Tiffin Metal Products, Inc. “The main focus is to design the workstation around the task that is being done. Fitting the design of these workstations to the task being performed is the key. This allows for easy movement of the items that are being worked with.”
Research studies have shown proper workstation design can increase worker productivity from 15 to 25 percent or more compared with the traditional poorly designed fixed bench and shelf approach, Wehner pointed out. Ergonomic design can also substantially reduce operator fatigue, improve safety and increase employee job satisfaction. Difficult lifting, lowering, reaching and similar motions are eliminated or assisted, reducing muscular-skeletal stresses.
By Jean Feingold