Working Smart 2: Not Enough Hands

awkward-saw-position1-300x300_mediumDo you ever find yourself in a situation where you are trying to balance getting the job done quickly vs. getting the job done safely?

Maybe it’s carrying a bulky item from one location to another only to forget about the door that you have to open or a flight of stairs you need to go down. Sometimes it’s a heavy piece of material that you are working on that could really use an extra set of hands. And sometimes…it may be that we think we are a mythical character in a red suit that can carry a world’s worth of toys at one time.

One of the most important things to recognize when we get spread too thin is that musculoskeletal risk is only one of the hazards. Rushing and trying to do too much can easily result in slips, trips and falls or hand injuries (crushes, pinches, and cuts).

For tasks where you find yourself trying to hold onto something with one hand and reaching and working with the other, look at solutions like pipe stands, saw horses or height adjustable carts or tables. These can all provide stable support and will allow you to focus on the work at hand.

If you find yourself contorting your body to hold and manipulate a piece of equipment while working on it with the other hand, look at solutions like simple jigs or devices that can rotate and hold your equipment in place while you work on it.

Recognize these hazards by thinking ahead. Remember – being proactive is one of the central themes of ergonomics.