When physical ability testing is challenged by the EEOC, it’s often on the grounds of the tests’ “disparate impact” on women.
One of the simplest definitions of ergonomics is “fitting the job to the worker”. But how do you achieve good ergonomics if neither the job nor the worker is understood? Attention to physical risk factors, psychosocial risk factors, and work organization risk factors is required if a successful ergonomics program is to be achieved.
Repetitive tasks are often associated with manufacturing environments. However, it is important that repetition, as an ergonomic risk factor, is not overlooked in the non-manufacturing environment. Repetitive tasks can be seen in all walks of work (i.e., warehousing, retail, public utilities, construction, etc.)
As the new millennium approached, employees of Blue Cross Blue Shield Rhode Island (BCBSRI)
tasked with providing health insurance for others were undergoing the physical stresses of their own office work—mainly carpal tunnel and other repetitive strain injuries.
It’s easy to understand that jobs requiring major bodily movement can lead to musculoskeletal disorders and injury. Pushing, pulling, lifting, and other active tasks put obvious strain on muscles.
We’re all aware of the major role ergonomics plays in the heavy-lifting manufacturing industry. But the need for proper ergonomic implementation extends further than the factory floor and becomes apparent in other fields. The common connection? Ergonomics is necessary for promoting healthy work practices across a broad segmentation, no matter the job.
As I walk through various manufacturing plants, I am fascinated by the new processes to make materials that are stronger yet lighter in weight than in previous years, or see robots performing tasks human operators dreaded performing...and then I see the manual material handling equipment...
One of the questions we're frequently asked is whether it is better to push or pull carts, hand trucks, racks, etc. The answer is...it depends.