Ergonomics at the workstation is an important principle in lean management. It allows to avoid disturbing situations, while generating added value. Taking ergonomics into account allows us to reduce movements and their impacts.
Unnecessary or poorly thought-out movements are a source of additional costs, RSI, and even work accidents. The first objective of this approach is to bring about a better quality of life at work, as well as better safety. Thanks to the gestures saved, you can also improve your productivity.
Many movements such as walking, searching, or moving in general do not add value to the customer. They are part of the waste. Yet they are omnipresent in our daily lives, whether in the office or on the shop floor.
Some of these movements are painful, even tiring. Uncomfortable postures are part of many people’s work. Eliminating them is a source of gain and comfort. The principles of ergonomics
The principles of ergonomics
In response to an accident or injury, it is common to have to adjust a man or woman’s job to suit their abilities. This is important. But everyone’s abilities are different, so why not tailor all of your positions to the individual who occupies them?
When a job is not properly designed, it can lead to visual or mental fatigue, physical trauma, and stress.
In order to design and redesign workstations in the best possible way, it is important to keep in mind that each person is different. Everyone has different strengths and weaknesses, and especially different sizes and shapes. Obviously, you can’t make every workstation fit every employee perfectly… But you can make your workstation adaptable!
To allow each employee to be more comfortable at work, there are nowadays in many areas workspaces that adapt to the needs of the user. This is valid in the workshop, with work tables and seats adjustable in height, to have the right length between the seat, the floor, and the forearms.
It’s also true in your office, with chairs that are adjustable for lumbar, neck, or arm rests. Adjusting the height of your desk is also helpful in overcoming back pain. Find out what tools are available to help your employees get the most out of their workstation.
Some good ergonomics practices
When designing a machine workstation, there are some good practices to keep in mind. Please note that these tips are there to help you, but they do not replace the help that an ergonomist could give you.
For arm movements, try to reduce them. The ideal is to move both hands at the same time, either in the same direction or in opposite directions. Amplitude and force are the two factors to be reduced in actions. For body movements, the principle is the same. Avoid pivoting and shifting the center of gravity.
To facilitate work at the station, place the components as close as possible to the operator, in front of him. If possible, use gravity to move them by positioning them slightly higher.
Using standard workstations in your shop is an easy solution, but make sure they are the right minimum size. This way, you will reduce the amount of space taken up unnecessarily, and it limits the range of motion. Indeed, it is common to use the available work space even if it is not necessary.
Once the ergonomic work is advanced in your shop, don’t hesitate to use standards to communicate best practices. Providing training to all your employees can also be a way to share this.
After reading these tips, you may want to analyze your workstations to find ways to improve? Talk to the people concerned, they will give you the necessary motivation.
These few tips may allow you to move forward. Although they require an investment, these ideas can help your company move forward. Don’t hesitate to communicate about ergonomic improvements before you start implementing them. Comfort, MSD reduction and injury reduction benefit both the employee and the employer. Neglecting these points brings costs that are often ignored.
You might also be interested in this:
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- Which indicators to measure the performance of your machines?
- Lean Manufacturing, an impact beyond the workshop?
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