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Eradicate RSI for good: Adjustable Workbenches and other Ergonomic Products

Posted on June 5th 2015 by Stuart.
Updated on: September 3rd 2015.

Prevent RSI with ergonomic Products

What is RSI?
Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI) is a general term given to the pain caused by overuse of muscles, nerves and tendons. If the initial symptoms are not dealt with in a timely manner it can lead to many debilitating conditions and in the worst cases permanent ones.

Overview
So your Employees have all the right tools for the job? They do? Ok lets assume they do. Despite these tools covering the mechanics of the job I bet your business still suffers from absences of crucial workers due to RSI (Repetitive Strain Injury) or WMSDs (Work-related musculoskeletal disorders).

This may be attributable to an often over looked area of your manufacturing plant.

For example, say your business started 10 years ago, no doubt over that time period specific job roles (eg. an assembly job in circuitry) have caused staff replacements more than once. No doubt you have had to upgrade and change worn tools (like spanners, screwdrivers or electrical tools) many times over. This is due to wear and tear. It works until failure.

Let me ask you, how do repetitive actions effect the human body?

Now let me ask you: how many times have you changed that workbench in the corner of the workshop? More often than not it is the overlooked product that causes RSI.

I’ll make an assumption that the different employees who have used that old workbench over the years haven’t been the same height and with the same reach. This is where RSI becomes a liability to your company because if Joe the welder has had to unnaturally bend to see his work properly chances are this is why he has recently developed a back problem.

While it may come as no surprise that a happy and well cared for workforce will be more productive it is quite interesting in our modern age (Last year roughly a 1/4 of all work absences were due to musculoskeletal conditions) just how many employees suffered the effects of RSI.

UK Manufacturing on the rise
Our manufacturing industry here in the UK is growing. Last year it grew quicker than any other industry sector. Creating new jobs is inevitable and allows for extra work contracts for your business.

The one constant is busy schedules. Having all this extra work can only be a good thing.

However to manage your increasingly busy workplace it forces the need to plan and organise down to the smallest detail to ensure constant health and safety standards are maintained and also that the workflow disruptions are kept to a minimum.

If you are the product buyer or if you employ the product buyer at your assembly plant I would fully agree that being frugal helps you to keep in business and balance the books.

Initial outlay for future gain
Providing excellent quality ergonomic products that are relevant to the job in the short term solidifies core values into the future (To use an analogy: you wouldn’t build a house on sand). The end result is a thriving business to be proud of on a national and international level. Taking visitors on tours around your business will be a pleasure not a chore.

Appearing capable and being capable only adds to your organisations credibility.

Logistical planning is tough to do right but we are here to provide you with investments (products) that will lead to continual large increases in ROI for your dynamic, growing business. The correct products will tick all the boxes in terms of health and safety too.

Workplace Products is a company that always pushes UK manufacturing (We never lose hope in our many UK career professionals). Therefore on a daily basis we manage our marketing and product manufacturing in tandem to ensure production plants and assembly lines receive our specialist goods in a timely manner. We also make sure that all planned layouts are executed in a cohesive manner, relevant to the business we are fitting for (You’d be surprised what companies are prepared to overlook to cut costs in the short term).

Common products should be replaced with Specialist ones
Every factory, warehouse, office space and storage area is different in layout. You shouldn’t compromise on your goals therefore why not consider products that can adapt to the work environment, the busy schedules and worker shifts?

Our company understands ever changing business models. Therefore investing in the right product from the outset may prevent the need for further expenditure in the future (May prevent having to replace products a couple of years after initial purchase).

RSI Stress busters
Adjustable Workbenches

Image showing how adjusting a workbench automatically improves posture

Setting the worktop at the right height promotes good posture. Never compensate for a bad workstation. It is very easy to form bad posture as a result.

The simple act of changing an old workbench to an adjustable workbench will prevent excessive bending and reaching. The more expensive models also have an electronic height adjustment system using arrows for up, down, left and right (Similar to a directional pad on a TV remote). Excessive bending and reaching can lead to a condition called Thoracic Kyphosis. Kyphosis is curvature of the spine that causes the top of the back to appear more rounded than normal. Back pain, stiffness, tenderness of the spine and tiredness. It can lead to more severe conditions if left unchecked. The basic idea of ergonomic Workbenches and Ergonomic seating is to keep the back straight.

Height adjustment types need to suit the job operation required.

Ergonomics can be achieved via Allen Key, Hand Crank or Electric Adjustment. The electric adjustment is the most convenient and most immediate option.

With height Adjustable Workbenches you only need one bench that can be easily raised or lowered to suit the needs of the current individual worker. Height Adjustable Workbenches are the back bone of the perfect workstation for shift work use. We advise to evaluate the job to see if extending arms are needed. They attach to uprights at the rear of the bench and can hold screens, small parts storage etc. The arm will put these items within easy reach without bending forward.

Anti-Fatigue Mats

Anti Fatigue Mats will prevent the onset of debilitating RSI conditions in the workplace.

Anti Fatigue Mats will prevent the onset of debilitating RSI conditions in the workplace.

Anti-Fatigue Mats come in all shapes and sizes but all generally serve the same purpose. When standing for long periods of time the legs and back become sore so people start to slouch, sway back or favour leaning on one side to dispel pain. With Anti-Fatigue Mats you have a comfortable cushioned base to take pressure off the feet as you move around on the spot. The human body never stays still when standing but this range of motion is kept to a minimum with matting that ebbs and flows with these movements. Again the idea is to keep good posture by standing straight. Any product that can be implemented to sooth the effects of repetitive work actions should be considered. Health and Safety Law calls for the “correct tools for the job” anyway, but the intention of this blog is to create awareness in accordance to what we can offer your business.

Ergonomic Office Chairs and Desks

Adjustable Office Chairs and Desks prevent RSI

Adjustable Office Chairs and Desks make all the difference in moral and well being. Cultivates productivity.

You would think that sitting down by itself would keep stress from the legs and back. Whilst it does give you a rest compared to standing, bad habits can start to form without you noticing. Its all about the posture. If you are leaning forward staring at a screen, firstly you will get eyestrain if you are too close but secondly you can still develop back pain that could lead to more severe conditions. So then, we would advocate investing in ergonomic office chairs with lumbar support. Lumbar Support is designed to keep you in a position that is comfortable and with enough padding in the right places to prevent tension and stress. Basically the firm but comfortable back of the chair ‘hugs’ the natural contour of the back. This holds you comfortably in place. Another added feature is that you can manoeuvre the seat into a more comfortable position via a lever. The overall effect will be a comfortable sitting position tailored for the need of the current user.

Certain Office desk brands have height adjustment settings to suit the individual.

Tips to correct/prevent bad posture
Bad Sitting Posture:
Do not perch on the front of your seat.
Sit back in your chair.
Re-arrange your workstation to achieve comfort.
Don’t slouch.
Move your chair closer to the desk.
Maintain contact between your back and the seat back.

Sit at the correct height:
Support your legs correctly (Don’t let them “dangle” or cross them).
Try a footrest if your arms are in the correct position but your legs still feel discomfort.
If your knees are higher than your hips raise the desk and chair height.

Armrests at the wrong height:
Shoulders should be relaxed while you work.
Don’t set your armrests too high as this raises your shoulders.
Don’t set your armrests too low because this causes leaning.
If your armrests are too high or too low invest in a chair with height adjustable armrests.
Avoid fixed armrests because when the seat height is correct often times the armrests hit the edge of the desk (Never overreach, lean or bend to suit a bad workstation layout).
Invest in a good office chair that allows the armrest width to change.

Screen too high or low:
The wrong screen height causes problems with your neck and back.
Set the monitor height so that the top of your screen is level with your eyes.
Put the monitor on blocks or use a monitor arm.
Make sure the monitor is stable.

Don’t look up and down too much when reading:
Position reading material in such a way as to keep head movement to a minimum (You should look into using a writing slope or document holder).

Support the Head and Neck:
Invest in an office chair with a neck rest so that between typing you can relax.
Every 20 mins or so try standing up and move about a bit to loosen up your body and keep it from “setting”.

Buy Anti Fatigue Mats:
If jobs entail standing for long durations invest in Anti Fatigue mats to cushion the feet and back.

After you have the perfect solution for your employees and business you will soon see the benefits of improving that old, cramped workspace into an ergonomic layout. Employee productivity as well as employee moods should improve. After all who wants to feel they come to work every day to be uncomfortable and awkward?

If it feels the right time for a change our advice is to change it as soon as possible.

UPDATE: We have just published an Industrial Workbench product blog with accessories. Please find that here.

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