Personal Ergonomics - April 26, 2013
Greetings from Gemini Energy Services! Here is the latest issue of our Bi-Weekly Safety Newsletter, and thank you for taking the time to check it out.

The wind industry is filled with hazards and the purpose of this newsletter is to share useful information, refresher training and safe work practices to our subscribers so that we can raise the bar for safety throughout the industry.  This week's topic focuses on Personal Ergonomics.

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Best regards,
The Gemini Team
What is Ergonomics?

 

What is Ergonomics? Ergonomics is the science of matching tools and tasks to the work environment. In other words, ergonomics tries to make your job fit you, rather than making you fit your job. The purpose of ergonomics is to reduce or eliminate injuries and illnesses that can result from stress on muscles, nerves, and joints. These types of injuries have been common to workplaces for a long time, but safety standards concerning them are new. If OSHA finds that poor ergonomics is a threat to employee wellbeing, it can cite a company for violating its duty to provide a safe and healthy workplace.

 

A variety of ergonomically-related injuries take place and a variety of terms exist to describe them. The most common terms used are musculoskeletal disorders or cumulative trauma disorders (CTDs). They are also known as repetitive motion or stress disorders. Whatever they're called, they account for approximately one-half of all reported workplace illnesses each year. These are technically called "illnesses" because the problems generally build up over time, rather than being the result of a single event, as in the case of an accident.

 

Physical problems from cumulative trauma: These usually involve pain and damage to muscles, tendons, and nerves in the back, neck, shoulders, wrists, hands, and elbows. Discomfort can be mild and periodic, or long lasting. Typical ailments include: Tendonitis, "Tennis Elbow," Trigger Finger, lower back pain, Carpal Tunnel Syndrome which causes hands and wrists to tingle or become numb, and Reynaud's Syndrome which causes fingers to become white.

 

Disorders can be caused by making the same motion over and over, staying in one position too long, or working in awkward positions. They also result from working with tools that don't fit the body, using a great deal of physical force, and exposure to long periods of heavy vibration.

 

How to Avoid Discomfort

Ergonomically related disorders occur to all types of workers, from laborers to office personnel. You can often help yourself by learning and practicing basic ergonomic principals. There are many ways to reduce or eliminate the disorder; here are a few:

  • Use two hands instead of one for a task --to reduce excess demand on a single muscle group.
  • Use tools that are right for the job and proportioned for your body.
  • Use power tools instead of manual tools when possible.
  • Take frequent breaks from repetitive motion tasks.
  • Avoid repeating awkward movements or holding yourself in awkward positions.
  • Wear protective gloves that reduce pressure or tool vibration on your fingers.
  • For computer use--keep the screen 12 to 18 inches from your face and just below eye level.
  • Position the keyboard so that your wrists are straight and your elbows are close to your body.
  • Change positions, stretch often to improve blood circulation, and take breaks regularly.

Gemini Energy Services is the premier independent service provider to the wind industry.  Safety is not just a philosophy at Gemini; it's our defining characteristic.  Whether Gemini technicians are driving to the project site or working on energized equipment in the hub, we strive for zero injuries.  Our proactive safety initiatives, which incorporate safety indoctrination, tailgate safety meetings, ongoing Personal Qualification Standards (PQS), a safety incentive program and completion of thorough Job Site Assessments, have resulted in an unblemished safety record.  We are confident that our colleagues in the wind industry share our commitment to safety and a zero-injury workplace.  

 

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