Your factory workers are your income. How quickly they move, their mood, their physical abilities, all directly influence how much money your company will be making at the end of every work day. They are the most significant machinery you will ever invest in, and keeping them working smoothly and efficiently is just as important as the maintenance on your largest operations instruments. This is where factory ergonomics comes into play. Considering the daily physical impacts on your employees, are they well-oiled machines, or slowly withering from stress, overuse, and poor maintenance?
THE BENEFITS OF ERGONOMICS
Ergonomics is the study of how a person’s body interacts with its environment. In a factory setting, this can include tools, work stations, equipment, standard operational procedures, and the actual tasks involved in the job. A strong dedication to assembly ergonomics is the most influential step you can take towards improving your business practices. Here’s how:
- Improved Productivity– By streamlining the work process of redundant or uncomfortable motions and positions, a task becomes more relaxed and simpler to complete. This results in harder, more efficient work by removing unnecessary stress on the body. Workload, visibility, and body movements all have a hefty impact on productivity, and should be factored into catering a task to the person completing it. This small adjustment will often result in more precise and waste free labor.
- Cost Reduction– Musculoskeletal disorders (MSD’s) are one of the leading causes for worker’s compensation claims. These MDS’s are often a direct result of over work, improper movement, and physical stress, and can result in high cost for a company if not prevented with factory ergonomics in mind. Immediate safety costs are important, but long term costs can often be much higher.
- Improved Product Quality– Reducing physical and mental stress factors on the assembly line allows for more focused workers who can last longer on the job. If an employee is distracted by fatigue, pain, or mental distress caused by noise pollution or an overly turbulent environment, an important step in the production process could easily be over looked. Secure fastenings, even printing, straight cuts: these are the hallmarks of a high quality product.
- High Employee Retention– Everyone will always choose to work for companies that take their needs into consideration. If you work hard for them, they’ll work hard for you for as long as they can. Utilizing factory ergonomics to provide your employees with a safe, easy to use work environment leads to a reduction in truancy and employee turnover and increased morale and involvement.
- Safety Culture Creation– A commitment to assembly ergonomics creates a workplace environment that places worker safety as a top priority. When workers perform their tasks with safety in mind, their performance, mood, and company loyalty all see vast improvement. A solid safety culture empowers its people with the knowledge that each task is being completed with their welfare in mind.
TAKING THE ERGONOMIC STEP
After deeply considering the benefits of ergonomics in a factory setting, the next step towards increased employee health and safety is an easy one. Though many regard the implementation of assembly ergonomics as difficult, costly, and near impossible to measure, these road blocks can easily be turned into building blocks. Once the cost of maintenance is compared to the cost of repair, ergonomic benefits are unquestionable. You wouldn’t pause for a moment at a daily maintenance schedule for your factory equipment and machinery, so why not treat your most valuable tools with the same care and respect? Because when you put your people first, the entire company benefits.