* By Katie Kuehner-Hebert *
Numerous options exist for ergonomic workstations, but there are also numerous keys to selecting the proper equipment to the job, said Rob Beightol, director of marketing at MHI member Gorbel. Finding those right keys was one of the goals at a webinar held in November by MHI Industry Group Ergonomic Assist Systems and Equipment (EASE), which addressed how companies can most effectively set up ergonomic workstations for the protection of their workers.
“It is not a one-size-fits-all approach, as most systems can be developed based on the exact work being performed,” said Beightol, who was one of the presenters at the webinar. “Additionally, it is normally not just one product, but a system of products that when used together provide maximum ergonomic benefits.”
It is important to consider things like the overall space required to do the work, what activities – such as bending, lifting or reaching – may cause the most strain on the worker, as well as the individual workers required to use the systems, he said.
“These types of activities cost business in all industries each year, and choosing the proper ergonomic solution may alleviate costs associated with lost time, workers’ compensation claims and healthcare claims,” Beightol said. “Some systems also allow workers to be more productive due to the reduction in manual activities or reducing those actions that are essentially wasted effort.”
Systems can involve everything from adjustable desks and chairs, to lift tables and platforms to intelligent lifting devices that can be programmed for the exact load being lifted, he said.
“These products can all work together to provide an environment that eases the strain on the worker, especially in the areas of back, shoulder and neck fatigue,” Beightol said.
The webinar also covered the ways in which ergonomic solutions can not only protect their workers, but could impact overall efficiency of their operation if all of the essential factors are considered when selecting a system, he said.