Ergonomics for operators
Ergonomics refers to the connection between the working environment, the technology and the human being, where the goal is to avoid and prevent illness and stain injuries. For operators this means that the work is appropriately organized and the operational requirements are compatible with the human capabilities and limitations of the operators.
Strain injuries and pain in the musculoskeletal system are the most common cause of sick leave in Norway. If the employer and employee consider what constitutes good ergonomics in the workplace, this can help prevent this type of sick leave. The reasons why muscle- and skeletal injuries / pain occur can for example be that the work becomes too heavy, too monotonous, takes place in unfortunate working positions or lasts too long. For example, we see a connection between prolonged work with arms raised above shoulder height and shoulder pain, and whole-body vibrations, when driving a truck.
Strain injuries occur when the body’s tolerance limit is exceeded. This happens when the total sum of the work tasks, which separately are not necessarily heavy, over time leads to too high load. With good ergonomics and organization of the working day, it is possible to avoid exceeding this tolerance limit.
Operators perform different tasks and each group of workers is exposed to different types of loads. Still, for all operators we have a set of principles that should be considered in order to achieve the best possible ergonomics in the workplace:
- We are all different and we all have different limits of tolerance. This is because we have different experiences, limitations, needs, body measurements, potential, physical shape and expectations. Therefore, the work tasks should be adapted to the greatest possible extent to suit the individual.
- Do you have the appropriate tools and aids you need to perform the task? Are these easily accessible, are they user-friendly, can they be customized and are they easy to use?
- Factors in the work environment that needs to be taken into account: noise, lighting, vibrations, chemicals, access, surface, distances, height differences, duration, working positions, variation, lifting / heavy work and weather conditions.
- Psychosocial conditions can also affect and amplify the total load. For example, time pressure, high stress levels, controlled work and interpersonal relationships.
A review and mapping of the workplace can clarify whether the ergonomics are optimal. If you have any questions regarding your workplace, contact us in Aker Care and we can help you. Small changes can make a big difference, prevent sick leave and contribute to a health work environment.
Ergonomic advice especially for operators:
- Make sure that the workplace and working positions are suitable for the specific employee and the work task at hand.
- Organize and plan the work so that you can achieve good and varied working positions
- Organize the work so that the employees avoid time pressure and monotonous work
- Use appropriate work equipment and aids that suits the task.
- Ensure appropriate training and give feedback regularly.
- Create routines for information sharing and employee participation. It is important to create an environment where asking questions are encouraged.
- Establish clear roles and responsibilities.
- Strength exercise of the muscles that are exposed at work increases our endurance limit and ability to function and has a good preventive effect in relation to the development of muscle- and skeletal disorders
It is easier to prevent than to repair an injury that has already occurred!