As we age, we lose muscle mass, which reduces the strength we had when we were in our 20s. Heavy lifting, working in low, awkward positions, and static postures can all be initiating factors for workplace injuries. Being able to position work tasks into the power zone, between your knees and shoulders, is ideal for reducing the risk of injury. For older workers, the power zone is closer to waist height.
Bringing the work higher and closer to waist-level is preferred as it increases productivity and can reduce worker fatigue. Some tools that can help include:
- Pallet jacks can lift your project up from the floor, reducing the need to bend over
- Adjustable workbenches can be raised to fit the employee’s natural working level
- Tables with Lazy Susans allow you to rotate the work with less potential for overreaching
- Other mechanical devices to help with lifting, pulling, gripping, and opening can greatly benefit worker productivity
These mechanical aids can help the aging workforce and even the younger ones, reducing the time spent with material handling and reducing the potential for overexertion injuries.
If your work is usually sitting at a desk as you work on a computer or paperwork, consider using an adjustable workstation table that can rise to a standing height. Alternating from sitting and standing positions can help your work posture throughout the day, reducing fatigue. Every opportunity to keep from remaining in a static posture will help, giving your body a break.
WR members can find more information on this topic here.
Rick Means, Director of Safety and Education, is available to help members draw up safety plans and suggest topics for safety meetings. Contact Rick at 360-943-9198, Ext. 118 or [email protected].