A big thank you to those who attend last week’s webinar, Ask the Ergonomist. The number of questions we received makes us think we should do this more often! Stay tuned. In the meantime, here are the responses to some additional questions we did not get to during the live event. They are answered by presenters Jennie Gober and Blake McGowan. The full recording of the webinar will be posted in about a week.
Q: What are the accepted guidelines for repetition and work pace?
A: For large muscle groups, we typically recommend no more than two awkward postures or forceful exertions per minute. For the hands and wrist, which can typically withstand higher repetitions, we recommend no more than 30 awkward postures or forceful exertions per minute. These are both conservative numbers, as it is better to overestimate the risk than underestimate it.
Q: What is the furthest one should reach, bend or otherwise?
A: The maximum horizontal reach distance we recommend is 22″ for infrequent (<2/minute) tasks. The maximum horizontal reach distance we recommend is 16″ for frequent (>2/minute) tasks. The optimal zone for manual material handling we recommend is between 38″ and 49″ above the standing surface. The acceptable zone for manual material handling we recommend is between 24″ and 62″ above the standing surface. The maximum vertical reach distance we recommend is 72″ above the standing surface.
Q: What is the proper height something (container) should be to have an individual placing items into?
A: Our recommended standing hand-working height for fixed surfaces is 42″ above the standing surface.
Q: What age/gender are we seeing the largest ergonomic impact on, or is there not one?
A: There is definitely a focus (and rightfully so) on the aging workforce. You can find out more information on this topic in one of our white papers on the subject, called “The Future of Manufacturing: Optimizing an Aging Workforce” on our website.
Q: What are some ways to increase ergonomics awareness in the work environment?
A: Any way you can increase visibility will help in the long run. Some of our clients include ergonomics awareness training as a part of their new-hire process. For many of our clients, ergonomics is a part of their overall safety program. As a result, it is discussed in meetings. If you have a monthly town hall-style meeting, ergonomics is a great topic to bring up. Clients have also done things to promote their ergonomics team, such as a “Meet your Ergonomics Team” announcement on break-room bulletin boards, or on monitors posted throughout the facility. We also highly recommend broadcasting the improvements your ergonomics team has implemented. Once people realize that improvements can be made to their workstations, word travels quickly!