Monday, July 16, 2007

Ergonomics and hand protection FAQs

Good information on ergonomically designed had protection ...

"Soaring medical costs and production losses resulting from repetitive motion injuries and related musculoskeletal disorders — including carpal tunnel syndrome — are inciting safety personnel to rapidly advance their consideration of ergonomically designed products that can reduce these types of injuries. Below are answers to common questions relative to ergonomics and hand protection products, their safety, performance, quality improvements and cost advantages.

Why is it becoming increasingly important to use hand protection products with an ergonomic design?

Individuals who do not use the proper hand protection for a specific task may end up working in an unsafe manner. Ergonomically designed hand protection can maximize worker protection while increasing productivity with the added benefit of reducing hand fatigue. Gloves made of cut-resistant yarns, for example, can be formed to the natural shape of the hand to enhance worker movement and allow the hands to bend and the fingers to flex more freely.

Workers handling parts in an auto body or boat assembly operation, for instance, must be able to grip small, oily parts without exerting extra force. When a worker does not have a secure wet grip, the person may change his or her posture to compensate or place more stress on the muscles and joints than would be necessary if the grip was adequate. This situation could indirectly lead to back injury or a musculoskeletal disorder such as carpal tunnel syndrome — especially if the worker is performing the task repeatedly.

Why are ergonomically designed hand protection products more “in vogue” now than in the past?

Like everything, the demand on products is increasing. Companies and their workers have more requirements relative to their safety programs and hand protection products than ever before. More stringent Occupational Safety and Health Administration regulations — and a growing number of lawsuits — require employers to provide safe equipment and a safe working environment. Most manufacturers now monitor lost work-time injuries and consider them a serious issue in terms of employee welfare and the company's bottom line. Employers want to know if the hand protection products and safety equipment they are providing benefit workers in terms of safety and productivity.

What are some features I should look for in ergonomically designed gloves?

Beyond protection, fit and feel (comfort) are always essential. If the gloves do not fit like a second skin and allow maximum flexibility, then other ergonomic benefits will have less of a performance impact. Proper fit and comfort are especially important for workers who suffer from arthritis or may not have greater levels of muscle strength."    (Continued via Reliable Plant)    [Ergonomics Resources]

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