A symptoms workers are vulnerable to for

A common injury that
occurs in the workplace in manufacturing is musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs).  MSDs are “injuries
and disorders that affect the human body’s movement or musculoskeletal system” (Ergonomic
Best Practices for Manufacturing).  Other
common names used for MSD are “overuse injury”, “repetitive motion injury”, and
“repetitive stress injury”.  According to
Matt Middlesworth, MSDs is the
largest category of workplace injuries and is responsible for about 30% of all workers’
compensation costs.  One of the symptoms
workers are vulnerable to for MSD is fatigue. 
When fatigue overtakes the body’s recovery system, a musculoskeletal
imbalance starts to develop.  The
musculoskeletal imbalance will continue to persist as long as fatigue continues
to outrun the body’s recovery system, which can lead to a MSD.  Middlesworth
states the major workplace ergonomic risk factors to be cautious of for MSD are
high task repetition, forceful exertions, and repetitive or sustained awkward postures.
 Luckily, Mark Middlesworth, founder of
Ergonomic Plus, has some ideas on how companies can reduce these workplace
ergonomic risk factors.  Middlesworth
states the risk of MSD in the workplace can be diminish by providing safe and
effective procedures, training workers on proper work techniques, and
encouraging workers to accept their responsibilities.  Also, workers should rotate workstations and
tasks to avoid extended periods of performing a task to reduce the chances of
fatigue.  Another solution Middlesworth suggests
is to have rest or stretch breaks because it allows the workers to increase
their circulation that is needed for recovery. 
Additionally, carts and dollies are beneficial because they decrease
forceful exertions.  Carts and dollies specifically
minimize lifting and carry demands and eliminates any reaching obstructions.  Likewise, workers should be trained on the
proper lifting and work techniques to help lessen the force requirements. 

To continue, MSDs that
transpire in manufacturing are generally caused by cumulative trauma disorders
(CTDs).  CTDs transpire due to cumulative
wear and tear on the ligaments, tendons, muscles, and nerves.  A few examples of
CTDs include carpal tunnel syndrome, back injuries, and tendinitis.  The workplace risk factors for CTDs to be
aware of are high forces, awkward postures, repetitive motions, and vibration
exposure.  Also, CTDs in
manufacturing can be connected with activities such as hand tool usage, manual
material handling, prolonged equipment operation, and awkward postures.  A solution to reduce the risk of CTDs is to
create an ergonomic process.  A
successful ergonomic process can reduce injuries, such as back injuries and
carpal tunnel syndrome, and achieve quality and productivity gains.  In order for an ergonomic process to reduce
CTDs, a long-term process, which relies on continuous improvement, needs to be
planned out.  For this process to be
successful, it is important management is devoted to the process, provides the
necessary resources, and participates to assure its success.  Similarly, there are elements that should be
included for an effective management commitment. 

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            To
begin, the company needs to issue a policy statement.  The policy statement should include ergonomic
efforts are the organization’s goals of sustaining and upholding a safe and
healthy work environment for all employees. 
Also, full cooperation is expected from the work force to work together
to make ergonomic improvements.  Equally
important, lead roles should be assigned to people who are known for accomplishing
tasks, and ergonomic efforts need to be given priority with other cost
reduction, productivity, and quality assurance activities.  Second, meetings should be held between
supervisors and employees where discussions about the policy and plans for
execution are allowed.  Third, concrete
goals need to be set to address specific operations.  Lastly, resources need to be committed
throughout the entire process.  For
instance, do not be afraid to get help from outside experts to consult with on
issues that company is struggling with when attempting this process.

            In addition, another typical injury that
occurs in the workplace is manual material handling.  Manual material handling is “the principal source of compensable
injuries in the American work force, and four out of five of these injuries
will affect the lower back” (OSHA). 
The risk factors of manual material handling are lifting heavy loads,
carrying bulky loads or loads far away from the body, frequent lifting, bending
the trunk, twisting the trunk, static loading, and pushing or pulling.  All of
the risk factors that were listed increase the chances of a back injuring taking
place.  Some solutions that companies
can use to reduce these injuries are lifting aids, lift assist devices, and
transport devices.  Lifting aids are used
to lift, tilt, and/or turn materials. 
Lifting aids do not eliminate the need to handle material; however, it
aids in locating materials which allows minimal trunk flexion and
reaching.  Likewise, lifting aids reduce
the forces on the spine and the risk of a back injury occurring.  A couple examples of lifting aids are
powdered and spring-loaded lift tables.  Meanwhile,
the purpose of lift assist devices is to lift materials to diminish work
exposure risk factors of manual material handlings.  Lift Assist Devices greatly minimizes the
forces on the body by using mechanical means, such as electrical, hydraulic, or
pneumatic, to provide the lifting power. 
Some devices companies should look into buying are hoists, cranes, manipulators,
and vacuum lifters.  Moreover, transport
devices reduces the risk of injury by providing the force through mechanical
means or eliminating the need to manually handle the material at all. The
transport devices that companies should think about buying are carts,
conveyors, tugs, powdered dollies, and forklifts.  Ohio recently
had sixty-five manufacturing companies receive lift assists, lifts aids, and/or
transport devices and achieved the following results after an average follow-up
period of 214 days.  Ohio results found the CTD rate (per 200,000 hours) decreased from 9.8
to 4.9 which resulted in a 50-percent improvement.  Ohio
also found, “the days lost due to CTDs improved from 110 days per 200,000 hours
worked to 36.2 – a 70-percent improvement” (Ohio).  Ohio displays how acquiring these devices for
the workplace have been beneficial in the CTD incident rate decreasing and days
lost due to CTD improving, too

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