Conventionally, ergonomics applies information about human abilities, behavior, and limitations to the design of tools, machines,  tasks, jobs, and environments for safe, productive, effective, and comfortable human use. There are certain factors that play a role in ergonomics, including posture and movement and environmental factors, such as temperature, humidity, lighting, and noise.

The goal of ergonomics is to provide maximum productivity with minimal cost; in this context cost is expressed as the physiological or health cost to the worker. Here are 4 ergonomics issues that can be solved with lift tables:

  1. Lifting heavy weights – Lift tables have been created to replace manual material handling tasks that involve lifting heavy weights for the workers. There are so many accounts of musculoskeletal disorders associated with heavy lifting that the problem has become more serious than ever.  A lift table will do the heavy lifting part for the worker a lot quicker and easier allowing the workers to focus on other important parts of their job.
  2. Awkward Postures and Movements – Lift tables prevent certain awkward postures and movements of the workers that can result in muscle fatigue and strain and ultimately injury. Bending forward puts a lot of strain on the muscles and ligaments of the back that struggle to maintain the upper body in balance. A twisted trunk strains the back causing undesirable stress to the spine. Extensive forward or sideways reaches also causes muscle strain while carrying out tasks above shoulder level is just as dangerous. All of these risks can be eliminated with lift tables.
  3. Joints Stress – Joints allow the body to perform a wide range of movements. Many times, workers don’t maintain their joints in a neutral position, in which the muscles and ligaments spanning the joints are stressed to the least possible extent. With lift tables that can be configured for a complete range of height levels, and joint overextension is reduced if not eliminated.
  4. Repetitive Motions – Without lift tables, workers are engaged in a series of frequently repeated motions, sometimes just a few seconds apart. When such tasks last for hours, it is only natural for fatigue and muscle strain to accumulate. If workers combine motions repeated frequently with awkward postures and forceful exertions then the effects on their body is even greater.

Lift tables solve many ergonomic issues. In order to establish which lift table is the best choice for your facility, you have to assess the risks that each task involves and document the evidence of each risk factor. Then you can proceed with developing a solution that will reduce or eliminate these risk factors. The introduction of any new system of work, such as lift tables, will automatically bring changes. You have to monitor and control those changes together with your employees and identify trouble areas or new hazards and how they can be improved or eliminated.

Mike Earle

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