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Selected Category: Ergonomics

Protecting Nail Salon Workers

Categories: Chemicals, Ergonomics, Service Sector, Women

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Last week, the New York Times published a two-part series highlighting what it characterized as exploitative employment practices and unsafe working conditions for nail salon workers, including exposures to hazardous chemicals. On the heels of the reports, New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo on May 11 ordered emergency measures in the state “to prevent unlawful practices and unsafe working conditions in the nail salon industry.”

High Prevalence of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome among Poultry Workers

Categories: Ergonomics, Manufacturing

Musculoskeletal disorders (MSD) of the upper extremities among poultry processing employees are well documented (Lipscomb et al. 2008; Cartwright et al. 2012). The combination of highly repetitive tasks, forceful movements and working in cold temperatures can increase risk for MSDs such as carpal tunnel syndrome, a disabling medical condition affecting the hands and wrists. In 2014, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) was asked to perform a Health Hazard Evaluation at a poultry processing plant in Maryland.

Prolonged Standing at Work

Categories: Ergonomics, Healthcare, Service Sector, Wholesale and Retail Trade

 

standingThe National Retail Federation forecasts that retailers and merchants will hire between 730,000 and 790,000 seasonal workers this holiday season.[i] Many of these workers, such as sales associates and cashiers, have little, if any, opportunity to sit during their work shift. Increasingly, workers across a variety of occupations are required to stand for long periods of time without being able to walk or sit during their work shift. For example, in operating rooms, nurses and doctors must stand for many hours during surgical procedures. In retail, sales associates spend a considerable amount of their work time standing without the ability to sit down.  Female associates who wear high heel shoes are at increased risk of developing musculoskeletal pain conditions.[ii] [iii]

NIOSH conducted a review of the literature to examine the risks of prolonged standing in the workplace. “Evidence of Health Risks Associated with Prolonged Standing at Work and Intervention Effectiveness” was published in Rehabilitation Nursing earlier in the year.[iv]  Based on the research reviewed, there appears to be ample evidence that prolonged standing in the work place leads to a number of negative health outcomes. The studies consistently reported increased reports of low back pain, physical fatigue, muscle pain, leg swelling, tiredness, and body part discomfort due to prolonged standing. There is significant evidence that prolonged standing at work (primarily in one place) increases risk of low back pain, cardiovascular problems, and pregnancy outcomes.

Thanksgiving Ergonomics: Reducing material handling injuries with engineering controls

Categories: Engineering Control, Ergonomics, Observances, Wholesale and Retail Trade

 

grocery3If you haven’t purchased your 20 pound Thanksgiving turkey or your 10 pound bag of potatoes rest assured employees at your local grocery stores are busy restocking the shelves each day with your favorite Thanksgiving foods. It‘s hard enough lifting those items into your cart but what about the workers who haul those tons of turkeys, pounds of potatoes, and stock the shelves with green beans, cranberries, and stuffing? Nearly 2.5 million cashiers and stocking clerks are at risk for musculoskeletal injuries that stem from overexertion in grocery stores. According to Liberty Mutual Research Institute, overexertion is the leading cause of workplace injuries and account for $14.2 billion in direct costs. In the grocery sector, overexertion injuries that lead to soft tissue injuries, A.K.A. musculoskeletal disorders, account for 41% of the injuries and lost work in grocery stores[1].

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