Why Ergonomics is a Strong Solution to Productivity Concerns

blacked-outErgonomics is not a new concept. However, its implications are even more impactful and relevant today than ever before. This is especially true in manual material handling (MMH).

Take a look at the problems manufacturers face regarding MMH. The labor force is older than it’s ever been. The baby boomer generation is taking longer to retire, bringing the average age of workers to 41, and 25 million people in the workforce are over 55. This number will only continue to grow.

Of course, staying on the job longer is beneficial because applicants aren’t exactly lining up outside of manufacturers doors. Millennials aren’t interested in labor jobs; they’re far more excited about technology and making a difference. The overall pool of younger skilled workers who want these jobs is continually shrinking.

That’s not all – the workforce isn’t just getting older, but also heavier. More than 30% of people in the US are obese. Being overweight, which is often accompanied by being unhealthy, impedes the body’s ability to do work in MMH. People wear out more quickly, are more prone to injury and illness, and they take longer to recover.

So what does all this have to do with ergonomics and productivity?

The workers described above are the majority of the workforce, and they have a heightened need for ergonomics just to work safely. Tasks like bending, twisting, pushing, and pulling – to name a few – will wear on their bodies more quickly and more severely.

This alone will impact production levels. Work is slower and more labored, and as the body fatigues, mental faculties suffer, too. In the mmh.com article “Materials Handling Ergonomics: Minimize the Strain” by Sara Pearson Specter, chairman of the Ergonomic Assist Systems & Equipment (EASE) Council Jim Galante is quoted:

“I recently spoke with the head of risk management at a major insurer who said that for the first time in company history their payout for these claims exceeded their intake. He said they could not continue to carry those clients unless they implemented more ergonomic solutions within their workplaces.”

It is not just in cases like these, however, that ergonomic solutions are certain to skyrocket productivity. Galante is further quoted in the MMH article:

“If you have an ergonomic issue in your process, it can be directly associated to a production inefficiency—and for many, enhanced productivity often helps to justify the investment in more ergonomically designed equipment.”

The best news about advancements in ergonomic solutions – and there are many – is that by nature, they foster more productivity. The features that minimize strenuous activity also bolster efficiency. It makes sense that if you make the work easier and safer, more can be accomplished.

In our next article, we’ll cover some of the most up-to-date ergonomic options for manufacturers. These can range from brand new equipment and processes to add-ons for existing equipment. Load Mover Inc. builds battery-powered tugs that provide an ergonomic and efficient means of pushing and pulling. The equipment is perfect for any MMH worker, especially one with limitations caused by age or weight. Find out if our equipment will benefit your workforce: 952-767-1720 or info@loadmoverinc.com.