The Ergonomics of Forklift Operations

Ergonomics refers to the study of product design as it relates to human performance, and is concerned with designing tools and equipment to specifically fit the human body, increase work efficiency and improve mental and physical well-being. When it comes to forklifts, operators often maintain the same sitting positions and perform repetitive motions for hours at a time.

As a result, the effects of poor design can lead to injuries or illnesses as quickly as within a few days or weeks. That’s why assessing your work equipment and environment to detect potential ergonomic concerns should play an important role in your overall safety program.

As you evaluate your workplace ergonomics, keep in mind the following 3 benefits of providing ergonomic solutions to your workforce.

  1. Fewer Injuries
    Poor posture, limited visibility, or sustained muscle and skeletal stress are often unnoticed risk factors. Educating your employees about ergonomics can bring about greater self-awareness and encourage early reporting of ergonomic concerns that have simple solutions. For example, improving the layout of a workstation or the seats and controls of a forklift can dramatically reduce the number of repetitive stress injuries. Moreover, a safer workplace also means lower costs. A telling statistic reveals musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) account for one dollar out of every three dollars spent on workers’ compensation.1 Using adapted tools and correct workstation design can help you limit these costs.
  2. Improved Staff Morale
    It’s easy to recognize that employees feel a greater sense of engagement and loyalty when they see firsthand that their employers care deeply about their safety. Demonstrating concern for worker safety signals respect and shows that you value their contributions to the company. In the long run, higher engagement means higher morale, reduced turnover and reduced absenteeism.
  3. Healthier Bottom Line
    By reducing muscle, skeletal, back, and eye strain, an ergonomic workstation becomes far more efficient. Posture and reach improvements can allow workers to accomplish more tasks during a shorter period and with less exertion. Reducing the stress and the number of motions throughout the day can also reduce fatigue, which can cut error rates. These adjustments not only sidestep frustration, but have a direct impact in increasing your revenue. Optimizing employee performance means capitalizing on all your revenue opportunities.

For more on how to identify, rent, or purchase lifting equipment designed with ergonomics in mind, reach out to the materials handling experts at Liftow.

1. osha.gov