ergonomic tools

The Science Behind Ergonomics

by Andy on November 18, 2010

Ergonomic Chair“Ergonomics” is a term that we hear quite often in the workplace, but what does it actually mean?

Ergonomics comes from two Greek words: “ergon,” meaning work, and “nomoi,” meaning natural laws. It is the science of designing equipment and workplaces to fit different user needs by matching the job to the worker, rather than vice versa. Ergonomics individualizes workers’ capabilities and limitations within the workplace, and tailors equipment and workspaces accordingly.

The most serious ergonomic risk factors are found in jobs that require repetitive, aggressive, or lengthy exertions of the hands; continual heavy lifting; or extended sitting in static positions. Jobs with multiple risk factors are more likely to cause musculoskeletal problems such as carpal tunnel syndrome.

So what are the benefits? The primary advantage of ergonomics and work environments is the long and short-term safety of employees. This ultimately reduces costs by lessening the amount of money that may otherwise pay for worker’s compensation. Ergonomic tools such as screwdrivers and wire cutters also help improve efficiency in the workplace by simplifying everyday tasks, which in turn increases productivity.

Interested in making your workspace or home office more ergonomically-friendly? Ergonomically designed chairs are a good place to start!

Photo courtesy of www.seating-ergonomics.com.

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Hand X-Ray Here’s some food for thought:

Each hand is made up of 29 major joints, 29 major and minor bones, 34 muscles which move the fingers and thumb, 48 nerves, 30 named arteries and at least 123 named ligaments.

With the complexity of hands, it’s important to take a few simple steps to protect those assets.

Ergonomic tools protect wrists and hands from injury and even fatigue. Other benefits of ergonomic tools include:

  • Increase efficiency…complete the task with less effort or less time
  • Boost capabilities…do things traditional tools wont let you accomplish
  • Benefit from natural wrist position
  • Reduce the chances of a repetitive stress injury such as carpal tunnel

Wiha Inomic Tools Wiha recently came out with a few insulated tools which are ergonomic with a specialized handle and the head is mounted at a 23°offset angle. The Wiha Inomic tools are available in diagonal cutters, long nose pliers and combination pliers. All three allow you to work with your hand in a natural position.

Chemical Resistant GlovesGloves such as ESD-safe nitrile gloves protect product but gloves also protect hands from cuts, chemicals, hot circuit boards and other hazards.

Vinyl, latex and nitrile typically offer some sort of ESD protection so they’re often used for working with static sensitive devices. These gloves are thin enough for the almost bare hand dexterity needed for detailed board work. Vinyl, latex and nitrile gloves can also be found in the medical field and other applications where the hands need protection from non-hazardous liquids, bacteria, etc…

Cotton gloves protect against snags and abrasions and can also keep hands warm if the gloves stay dry. Cotton gloves can be lightweight for sensitivity or heavy enough to protect hands from hot circuit boards.

Neoprene gloves protect against chemical burns/corrosion as well as abrasions and cuts.

There are countless other options for glove materials; technology continues to make gloves tougher but thinner, more comfortable and more effective, higher quality but less expensive, etc…

To get the best protection, make sure you choose the right glove for the application.

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