Strain in factory workers can be a major concern because it can affect worker well-being, performance, and the quality of their work. Although the symptoms of these strains are mild, it doesn't mean they are not serious. They are not only painful for the workers themselves, but costly for business owners and can be even frustrating for the safety professionals.
What are the consequences?
Physical injuries, reduced productivity and absenteeism, safety hazards, and even mental health issues are some of the consequences factory owners may face if their workers are constantly put under strain.
What are the common causes of Strain in Workers?
It's always better to be aware and recognize when it's time to slow down. Read the 7 hidden causes of strain in factory workers so that immediate preventive measures can be taken.
1. Bad Posture
A person's posture tells you how they hold themselves upright against gravity. If a person has poor posture, their joints, muscles, and ligaments can be overstretched by improper movements. When joints of the body operate at mid-range, they are most efficient. But when joints are worked outside of the mid-range repetitively, the risk of MSD increases and results in back pain, workplace stress, and repetitive strain injury. This can lead to lost time, reduced productivity, poor employee health, low morale, and higher costs.
The human body is a complex machine that consists of muscles, connective tissues, and joints. Strains occur when a worker's muscle endures excessive pressure, repeatedly performs the same motion, or becomes stretched beyond normal capability. When you exert a lot of force, your muscles fatigue more quickly. This can cause muscle soreness (MSD). Overexertion can lead to many injuries, including back and neck problems, muscle strains, joint and tendon injuries, and even heat cramps.
3. Lighting in the workplace
In a light-deprived space, workers become less productive and experience fatigue. These issues can lead to problems such as poor posture and eye strain, which make it uncomfortable to spend long periods in the working space.
On the other hand, too much light can cause problems, too. It can cause glare headaches, which are caused by overexposure to light, and can lead to mistakes at work, poor quality, and low productivity.
4. Repetetive Motions
Whether a worker is measuring raw materials to be fed into a production machine, applying a protective coating onto objects, or constantly rotating a machine's handle, he may find himself doing the same hand movements repeatedly. Human beings are biological machines capable of doing many varied tasks. However, our bodies aren't meant to be working continuously in the same position, day after day, as machines do. Repetitive motions can damage the muscles, tendons, and joints. When a worker is not given enough time to rest and rejuvenate, inflammation will occur.
5. Poor work practices
When workers use poor work practices, body mechanics, and lifting techniques, they are increasing the risk for musculoskeletal disorders (MSD). These poor practices can make workers feel exhausted, which decreases their body's ability to recover properly. Employers often require employees to work overtime. If they are asked to overtime too much, they will get worn out and have more chances of accidents occurring.
6. Ignoring early signs
Many musculoskeletal disorders develop over time. At first signs of fatigue or discomfort, workers can recognize their early warning signs and use prevention tools and principles to prevent injury from occurring. When workers first notice symptoms of Repetitive Strain Injuries (RSI), they may not realize the severity of their condition. However, if they are left untreated, these symptoms can become chronic and cause extended periods of suffering.
7. Poor health habits
Musculoskeletal disorders are becoming a leading cause of disability across the world. Workers who engage in unhealthy habits such as smoking, drinking excessively, and being obese are at risk for developing musculoskeletal disorders as well as other chronic diseases such as heart disease and diabetes.
# Tips and Solutions
1. Use Automation
Given their basic competencies, there are certain situations where robots could be a boon for workers. They could, for example, reduce the amount of physical labor involved in certain jobs, such as moving a pallet full of goods or assisting human co-workers with repetitive and time-consuming tasks, such as pick-and-place operations.
2. Implement Ergonomics
Ergonomics helps in adapting the job to the workers. Workstations that are properly designed and configured can help prevent repetitive motion injuries, which are caused by overexertion. When your workers are having trouble getting everything done in a single day, adjusting their tasks so they don't have to move as much can help them get through their tasks more efficiently.
With so many different causes of strain, it's important to address them before they end up doing damage. Make it a point to observe your employees and listen to their complaints. If you can identify the source of the problem, you can take steps to correct the issue and reduce the hurtful strain on your workers.