Perfecting ergonomics is a never-ending challenge, especially in material handling applications. You may have your Shipping/Receiving Desks set up perfectly for your staff, with corners cut to reduce reaching. You might even provide Lift Tables to adjust the height of certain work tasks. But what happens when a client changes package sizes on you?
As the size and placement of shipping containers change, so do the ergonomic demands of packing and unpacking them. This burden falls heavily on order packers and shipping/receiving staff, who might have to work with 100 different-sized cartons a day.
The solution is simple. When the conditions of work change from order to order, provide a working surface that can make up the difference. We’re talking, of course, about Tilt Tables.
The Ergonomic Hazards of Working with Large Packages
The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health lists the following ergonomic risk factors:
- Bending, twisting, or assuming other awkward postures.
- Repeating the same motion over and over.
- Moving or carrying heavy loads.
- Frequent contact with hard or sharp edges.
- Maintaining the same position over time.
While order packers might be exposed to any or all of these during a given shift, they’re at particular risk for the first two items on this list. Without an ergonomic solution in place, workers have to bend and reach to pack a large shipping container. The same is true of unpacking them.
Tilt Tables bring work closer to employees, preventing reaches that, over time, might lead to musculoskeletal disorders.
Matching the Work to the Worker
When you design an ergonomics program for a material handling facility, you’ll soon discover a frustrating challenge. Sure, work should be kept within each employee’s natural comfort zone. But what about the work that’s always changing location?
The taller you stack a load onto a pallet, the higher you’ll have to reach (unless you use a Self-Leveling Mobile Lift Table, which you should, but that’s a whole other subject). The same principle is at work in order packing and receiving. The work you do changes the location of that work.
Tilt Tables cut the Gordian knot by empowering employees to adjust both the height and the angle of their work as they go. That’s powerful stuff. By adjusting both the height and the angle of a working surface, staff can keep all work close to their bodies. With Tilt Tables, they can finally say goodbye to uncomfortable reaches.
Of course, there’s more than just comfort at stake. Half of the adults in the United States struggle with some sort of musculoskeletal disorder, the type of injury caused by poor ergonomics, reports the U.S. Bone and Joint Initiative (USBJI). The annual cost in lost wages and treatment tops out at around $213 billion.
Prevention could reduce those numbers, channeling some of that lost cash into your business. Try adding Tilt Tables to every work station. Your order packers — and investors — will thank you.
“Ergonomic Guidelines for Manual Material Handling.” CDC. National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2007. PDF. 26 June 2016.
“One in two Americans have a musculoskeletal condition costing an estimated $213 billion each year in treatment and lost wages.” USBJI. United States Bone and Joint Initiative, 1 March 2016. Web. 26 June 2016.