The health and safety of all employees are essential to improve productivity and efficiency in any workplace. Manufacturing plants are no exception to this. Managers must ensure that their workers are not at risk of exhaustion or injury and don’t work in a dangerous environment.
Manufacturing workers perform various motions, including pushing, pulling, lifting, bending, reaching, twisting, and carrying heavy loads. Any of these different motions can become dangerous if completed incorrectly.
Why is ergonomics important?
Ergonomics plays a vital role in the creation of safe working environments within manufacturing plants. Ergonomics offers ways to optimize the interaction between the work environment and the workers within it.
Regardless of the types of products assembled at a manufacturing plant, it is crucial to identify potential ergonomic risk factors. Many different tools can produce torque reactions when used, which transfer to the operator’s hands and wrists.
Repetitive exposure to these torque reactions, coupled with other daily and repetitive tasks, awkward positions, exposure to vibrations, and high forces, can cause several types of repetitive strain injuries.
Repetitive strain injuries and other musculoskeletal disorders can become chronic if they aren’t addressed early. Luckily, improving ergonomics in the workplace can help avoid work-related injuries and create a safe and comfortable environment for all employees in the manufacturing facility.
Understanding the Risks
As managers, it’s essential to be aware of the risk factors of musculoskeletal disorders. These include excessive force, repetitive tasks, colder working conditions, exposure to jerking and vibrations, and holding awkward positions for prolonged periods.
Managers should perform a job-hazard analysis to identify any of these potential problems in the work environment. A job site assessment allows the relationship between the workers, their tasks, tools, and the working environment to be evaluated. Highlighting any areas of concern is the first step to implementing improvements. The next step is to involve workers and managers in developing a solution and deciding which modifications to make.
The assembly line and all other work stations within a manufacturing plant should be designed to minimize any strain. It ensures that all employees remain safe and protected while working and experience minimal stress while completing their jobs.
Managers should work with their employees to identify areas of improvement so that activities that cause strain can be appropriately modified within a facility. One great way to minimize stress is with ergonomic torque arms designed to absorb any torque that would usually be transferred to the operator’s hand.
Strain can result from the force exerted by different tools, mainly when those tools are used repetitively. Torque reaction arms are the ideal ergonomic accessories for the assembly line that help absorb and transfer the reaction force generated at the screwdriver during fastening and balancing the device’s weight.
Torque reaction arms significantly improve worker safety and protect them from the force while still allowing for freedom of movement. At Delta Regis Tools, we offer a variety of quality torque reaction arms to help you protect your operators from injury and enable effortless maneuvering while improving accuracy. Effortless work, improved precision and accuracy, reduced strain on operators, and increased production are the keys to success in any manufacturing facility.
Lifting and Moving
Although robotic technology has taken over many heavy lifting jobs in manufacturing plants, humans workers still perform some lifting and moving. Depending on the shape, size, and weight, lifting and carrying objects can strain workers.
To avoid exposing human workers to the dangers of these tasks, lifting aids, transportation devices, and other mechanical lift assist devices should be utilized to move heavy objects from one place to another. This can help decrease workers’ need to bend or twist in awkward positions and place stress on their back or other muscles.
Transportation devices such as carts, conveyors, and automated guided vehicles should help workers move materials and objects from one place to another with ease and safety. The best way to avoid any injuries caused by heavy lifting and moving is to reduce overall lifting frequency. This can be accomplished with the help of tool balancers and retractors. Tool balancers, when used in conjunction with tool stands or overhead supports, can keep screwdrivers and other heavy tools suspended and at the ready, leaving workspaces clear. Tool balancers and supports allow easy use of various tools, making them almost weightless and help remove the force or strain from their operators.
SMART Technology and Automation
The best way to remove workers’ strain is to delegate the strenuous tasks altogether and automate the process using SMART tools. Simplifying processes can significantly reduce the risk of injuries by helping workers avoid moving their bodies into and out of awkward positions and completing repetitive tasks.
Delta Regis Tools offers the next generation of SMART production assembly tools. Our SMART devices produce exceptional customization and data collection options to the production facility, improving your facility’s error proofing, and offering instant feedback for all fasteners installed.
Ergonomic equipment, coupled with safe work practices, and open communication between workers and managers, can help keep all workstations within manufacturing plants safe, productive, and efficient. Introducing ergonomic equipment such as torque reaction arms and tool balancers can be an excellent way to reduce excessive force or strain experienced by operators.
Designing workstations so that minimal movements are required to access the tools and materials needed to complete work can reduce the risk of various musculoskeletal disorders that can develop over time.
To learn more about the ergonomic improvements you can make in your manufacturing plant, call Delta Regis Tools at 1(888) 473-6862 or contact us here.