I almost ran out of gas today. I pulled into the station running on fumes and grabbed the handle to start filling up my tank. Like usual, I went to push down the handle lock that lets the gas pump automatically, but this pump didn’t have one! The longer I stood there squeezing the gas handle, the more my hand began to get tired and hurt a bit. Just like that, I was feeling the effects of holding a static posture for a long duration.
Often, when looking at ergonomic risk, people think about repetition as something that occurs too often, or too quickly. While this is an ergonomic concern, repetition issues also occur if something happens for too long. Holding one posture for long periods of time limits blood flow through the body and can damage muscles, tissue and nerves. If we don’t take breaks or change our posture, we quickly feel tired or sore.
Have you ever noticed that your back and legs tend to hurt more if you stand all day, than if you walk all day? That’s because walking promotes blood flow through our muscles! It is important to make sure that, when working, we find a balance between moving too much, and not enough. So, when we suggest reducing repetition in an industrial application, it’s important to make sure we let some movement occur, to keep the blood pumping into our muscles, allowing us to stay strong all day long!