Advanced Ergonomics

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In this unit lesson, we discuss the concept of controlling ergonomic risk exposure with proper work design. Back injuries are still commonplace among workers who perform manual handling tasks, such as workers in retail/grocery stores, the airline industry, and warehouses. However, Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) does not recognize back belts as an effective method of preventing back injuries. Please discuss why you think they are still used so prevalently among workers in these industries.

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ALSO PLEASE REPLY TO ANOTHER STUDENTS COMMENT BELOW 

MATTHEW:

Oh the story of the back belts. I have had many arguments with managers about back belts and their use in an occupational setting. I tend to agree with OSHA on this and do not believe that back belts are able to provide any proven elimination of lower back injuries according to NIOSH publications. It would be my preference (as well as OSHAs) to put engineering or administrative controls in place to reduce the hazard. Engineering controls can include mechanical lift assists, changing heights of material storage, or eliminating unnecessary bending or twisting through work station design. It is also incredibly important to train employees on correct lifting techniques. Implementing a behavior based safety program is also helpful. When employees are able to observe other employees lifting and make suggestions/corrections to each other in a positive environment safety will thrive. Sometimes I have also felt like back belts have given employees a false sense of security- they feel as if they have extra support and can lift/do more than they are able causing further injury. 


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