There’s a reason why a multitude of options and accessories are offered for equipping an ergonomic workstation: no two operations or processes are the same. Likewise, no two associates are the same either. That’s why, when specifying a workstation to help maximize associates’ productivity while minimizing their risk of injury, it’s important to follow a few key guidelines to ensure the equipment will improve the work environment.
Aside from bearing in mind that ergonomic workstation design is not a one-size-fits-all endeavor, the first thing to note is that the final product will likely incorporate multiple, modular items working together as a system to ensure optimal worker ergonomics. Before selecting those components, consider the following:
- How much overall space is available in the area where the workstation will be located?
- What strain-related activities will occur at the workstation, such as bending, lifting or reaching?
- Who are the individuals who will be using the workstation?
Based on the answers to those questions, select the types of options or accessories that help reduce the manual activities and physical strains associated with the task. These might include:
- Custom surface depth or width
- Different surfaces (metal, roller bearing, laminated, electrostatic dissipative, butcher block)
- Electric, height-adjustable surface to accommodate different sized workers
- Task lighting
- Modular cabinets and drawers positioned in the optimal reach zone
- Tilting and/or rotating surface
- Peg boards
- Casters and levelers
- Parts bin bars
- Power sources
- Monitor or tablet display arm
By taking the time to consider the work process and planning to fit the task to the worker — instead of the worker to the task — the final ergonomic workstation design will reduce associate fatigue and workplace-related injuries while maximizing productivity, accuracy and quality.
Want more recommendations for improving the ergonomics of your workforce? The members of the Ergonomic Assist Systems & Equipment (EASE) Industry Group of MHI recently discussed the topic in MHI Solutions, in the article “Ergonomic Workstations: It’s Not a One-Size-Fits-All Approach.”