Sheet metal workers are exposed to many conditions in the workplace that could cause harm or injury. Do you know how safe your shop is?

You may have very few accidents, but the long term health effects from repetitive motion tasks are hard to identify. Material handling injuries commonly occur with sheet metal workers; cuts from handling sheet metal or back injuries from improper lifting can be prevented by ensuring shop rules and regulations are strictly followed. On the other hand, repetitive strain injuries caused by performing a repetitive motion for long periods of time, frequent twisting or rotation of the body (to reach for materials), or leg and back pain (from standing too long or sitting improperly) need to be prevented by providing ergonomic workstations.

Ergonomic workstations improve safety and productivity, and reduce fatigue, absenteeism, and the number of sheet metal worker injuries.

Symptoms of repetitive strain injury include body pain, stiffness, throbbing, swelling, numbness or cramping; these types of injuries are often ignored or go unnoticed. Symptoms can get worse (or become irreversible) if workers do not seek treatment or if owners do not make changes in the workplace. Ergonomic workstations can reduce repetitive strain injuries and save costs by considering these 6 simple fixes.

How to Create an Ergonomic Workstation in Your Shop

1) Place anti-fatigue floors mats in areas where machine operators stand for long periods of time like at ironworkers or press brake machines.
2) Purchase chairs with ergonomic features like lumbar support, adjust-ability, and armrests.
3) Rearrange the shop floor layout; organize materials in ways that reduce the amount of frequent twisting by workers.
4) Create a job rotation schedule. Alternate the jobs your sheet metal workers do throughout the day. Create a 2 hour limit on tasks that involve repetitive motion of the neck, shoulders, arms, wrists, and hands every few seconds.
5) Enforce regular breaks and promote mobility breaks for workers to walk and stretch sore muscles.
6) Switch to updated ergonomic manufacturing machines. These machines are designed significantly reduce shop injuries and prevent long-term injuries.

The purchase of ergonomic machinery can provide the highest level of injury prevention but these products can also have a significant return on investment. The SafanDarley E-Brake Ergonomic is a press brake designed for bending small sheet metal parts with low physical impact on the operator. The machine is fully customizable with a range of ergonomic features and adjustments and offers both seated and standing options. Adding the E-Brake Ergonomic press brake to your shop will prevent painful injuries and also improve your production process. SafanDarley machines are 30% faster due to increased bending accuracy from their patented technology.

Your workers can get more done in less time, and reduce the amount of time they spend on potentially harmful repetitive tasks.

Watch this short video that highlights the features of the E-Brake Ergonomic press brake:


>Looking for ways to improve ergonomics on the shop floor? Visit the team at Westway to find fabrication machines that meet the needs of your shop and the health of your employees. 

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