Ergonomics is the science of investigating the level of efficiency in a workplace, and detailing what could be changed to increase overall productivity. Essentially, ergonomics tries to figure out if a particular office and its tools allows an employee to work at their full potential and what could be done to improve it. If that employee would benefit from a different chair, keyboard, or mouse, would the chance for back injury or carpal tunnel syndrome go down, and as a result, increase productivity for the business overall? Many believe so, and have made it a core principle to the success of their businesses. Most Operation and Warehouse Managers are strong believers and gladly invest in products such as lifts, tilters, and turntables to minimize physically demanding and repetitive tasks.
Doubt and Skepticism
That being said, there is a lot ignorance and skepticism coming from the same group when it comes to the application of ergonomics. They are often completely aloof to the subject, or they feel as though the investment might not be worth the end result, which is shaving a few seconds off of the total production time. These doubters surely have not examined all of the possibilities and outcomes of a highly positive ergonomic workplace – and there are numerous to consider. There is one company, however, who has.
Southworth Products Corp has been doing research on ergonomics for more than 45 years and has created a successful business from their findings. By adding a scientific perspective to a once purely commonsense driven equation, they have found measurable statistics which support the implementation of ergonomic lifting solutions and safe processes. They have discovered that there are three main goals that can be attained by focusing on ergonomic solutions in a workplace:
1) Improved Productivity
2) Enhanced Safety
3) Better Employee Relations
Southworth realized that by analyzing company records and finding symptoms of productivity-related problems, they could zero-in on dangerous or fatiguing activities such as bending, stooping, reaching, stretching, twisting, pushing, and pulling. Southworth’s business came from eliminating these movements and replacing them with ergonomic lifting solutions such as lifts tables, pallet positioners, container tilters, and turntables which are now found all over the world.
Improving productivity was a result, as it was discovered by minimizing fatiguing conditions, employees could work more comfortably, at a greater range of motion, and for longer hours. Thanks to these advances in Safety techniques, injury prone actions were no longer needed, and as a result no longer threatened employees. Coming full circle, the improved productivity and enhanced safety helped create better attitudes and employee relations.
It is not entirely on their shoulders, however, as every business should also encourage their employees to improve their own immediate environment – correct posture, chair adjustments, and stretching. To uncertain warehouse leaders, I hope this has convinced you to consider your own challenges and how an investment in Ergonomic Workplace Solutions may benefit your organization. If you want a better idea of the range of products that are available to help you do so, please consult Southworth’s website or reach out to The Material Handler and we would be happy to provide you with a full assessment of your unique workplace processes.