From September through November, Saskatchewan's Occupational Health and Safety Division (OHS) will be conducting inspections of manufacturers in Regina, Saskatoon and a number of rural locations.
The inspections are part of an injury prevention project between WorkSafe Saskatchewan, the Safety Association of Saskatchewan Manufacturers (SASM), and the Saskatchewan Association of Chiropractors.
Workers in manufacturing occupations are at high risk for back and shoulder injuries. According to the Saskatchewan Workers’ Compensation Board 2014 Annual Report, labourers in processing, manufacturing and utilities had the fourth-highest total number of injuries; welders and machine operators had the fifth-highest.
To reduce injuries and improve production, employers should look to remove forceful exertions, unnecessary repetitive movements and improve worker posture, said SASM.
Workers often have the best solutions to ergonomic problems. SASM suggests asking the people doing the job for suggestions. Nobody spends more time thinking about ways to make the job better than the person doing it, the association said. Often workers have great solutions to common workplace problems.
Just because something is called "ergonomic" does not make it safe to use. Often an "ergonomic" tool can be a hazard. Use tools and equipment that make the job easier and fit the worker properly.
And a safe workplace can prevent absenteeism and turnover and increase employee morale, said SASM.
"Workers who don’t feel sore when going to work are much less likely to call in sick or look for a new job."
It's important to keep in mind that not all workers are the same. Workers of different heights need different work station heights.
SASM recommends telling employees that work shouldn’t hurt. If they are often in pain at the end of their shift, something is wrong with the tools they are using, the number of times they are repeating a motion or the force, strength, posture or effort it takes their body to do a job.
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