The impact of poor ergonomics is well documented; it can result in an increase in worker down time and claims against workers compensation insurance. Just as important is the impact that it can have on worker’s day-to-day activities. Outdated tools, such as pistol-grip barcode scanners, mean workers may be doing unnecessary heavy-lifting and disrupting workflows.
MSDs: the leading cause of lost or restricted work time
According to OSHA, work-related MSDs (musculoskeletal diseases) are the most frequent cause of lost or restricted work time. An MSD is just a scientific term for repetitive task related injuries like tendonitis, carpal tunnel syndrome, or even muscle and tendon strain. These are terms you probably wouldn’t think about much until you experience an MSD personally. It can impact your life, your work productivity, and even prevent you from playing your favorite sports.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) in 2013, MSD cases accounted for 33% of all worker injury and illness cases.
For workers in warehouses and distribution centers these injuries can mean time away from their job and livelihood. According to the Northeast Business Group on Health, employers spend more on MSD’s than any other condition. The indirect costs of MSDs are even higher and include absenteeism and presenteeism, disability claims, overuse and misuse of pharmaceuticals, and behavioral health treatment totaling $100 billion/year.
“Employers spend more on musculoskeletal disorders (MSD) than on any other condition or chronic disease…”
Preventative measures take many forms
Preventative measures are the best course of action. This is because surgical and non-surgical treatments have varying degrees of success and may take month or years of treatment. It’s important for organizations to actively evaluate repetitive tasks in their work environment to help prevent MSDs. When safer alternatives are available it results in reduced worker downtime and helps prevent the onset of life changing injuries.
Injuries may be brought about by repetitive activities like improper use of a mouse and keyboard. The ergonomic strain that accompanies repetitive lifting and gripping of objects is also an issue. A perfect example of this: using a traditional handheld scanner. A wearable barcode scanner is a great alternative because, just like wearing a watch, it’s always at arm length when you need it. There’s nothing additional to reach for, nor to grip, and nothing heavy to lift. You’re also untethered from a workstation or powersource which offers natural mobility and a greater range of motion.
A traditional scanner can weigh up to 10 times as much as a wearable scanner. The MARK family of wearable barcode scanners from ProGlove are the thinnest and lightest weight available. Over the course of a shift that traditional scanner can be the equivalent of lifting an additional 1.5 tons compared to the weight of the MARK wearable. To put that in perspective: it’s the weight of a compact car. ProGlove offers a wearable barcode scanner solution with a 95% worker approval rating, and hundreds of the world’s top companies choose ProGlove scanners for the ergonomic benefits. When frontline workers can move about more easily and naturally in their workflows operations managers can expect fewer injuries and higher productivity.