While automation in the workplace has improved quality and efficiencies dramatically throughout the fulfillment industry, many of the tasks that remain are often repetitive and can cause injury or WSMDs (Work-Related Musculoskeletal Disorders) to associates. Companies are finding it increasingly difficult to hire and retain workers for these repetitive tasks. Designing a workstation for specific processes can reduce stress on operators, maximize quality and productivity.
APPLY ERGONOMICS BASICS
At its core, ergonomics is the science of fitting the task to the worker, not the worker to the task. By taking a little time to plan the workstation design, operator comfort and productivity can be significantly improved. When evaluating/planning a workstation there are a few simple steps:
- Define the purpose of the workstation.
- Determine the overall workflow.
- Identify/inventory the tools and materials needed to complete the task
- Assign priorities of these items based on qualifiers like frequency, sequence and duration of use
- Plan the workstation layout taking into consideration item placement for minimum operator reaching, proper lighting, correct surface height and proper seating
- Review material handling – items flowing in and out of the station – to ensure the most efficient and safest methods are being used
- Document the workstation process and continually monitor for improvements.
(For more information please visit https://www.bostontec.com/plan-your-workstation/)
Diversity in the workforce has made the one-size-fits-all approach to designing a workstation obsolete. The “average” worker does not exist. By creating an ergonomic workstation that adjusts to accommodate the 5th to 95th percentile of workforce, retailers can help reduce unnecessary motion and increase productivity up to 25%.
A well-designed station that follows the proper ergonomic reach zone guidelines will effectively place the most important and frequently used items during the process within easy reach of the operator and the mid-to- low use items in an accessible, out of the way position on the workstation until needed for the task.
REDUCE WORKPLACE INJURY
Work-Related Musculoskeletal Disorders (WMSDs) are injuries and disorders of soft tissues such as muscles, tendons, ligaments, joints and the nervous system caused by repetitive motions. WMSDs frequently involve arms, wrists, hands and back and account for 34% of all lost workday injuries and illnesses annually. Each year employers report nearly 600,000 MSDs requiring time away from work with a cost of over $20 billion annually.
By incorporating basic ergonomic concepts into the design of a workstation, companies can significantly reduce WMSDs that result from lifting heavy items, bending, reaching overhead, pushing and pulling loads, working in awkward body postures and performing the same or similar repetitive movements.
(For more information please visit https://www.bostontec.com/ergonomics/)
BOSTONtec focuses on providing quality, ergonomic workstations and accessories designed to accommodate specific needs. With more than 20 years of design and manufacturing experience, we are the leader in ergonomic, modular workstations and custom solutions.
While BOSTONtec makes a variety of workstation we are best known for our, electric height adjustable models that can be configured to accommodate 90 percent of users in a sitting or standing position supporting ADA compliance. For assistance designing stations that help your customers improve packaging efficiency and safety, contact us at https://www.bostontec.com.