A weblog dedicated to Ergonomics education, dicussion and debate. This emerging field has the power to transform industry, business and the lives of ordinary people for the better. The Industrial Athlete intends to encourage and document our profession's vision of an ergonomically-friendly future!

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

How To: Reducing Non-Neutral Elbow Postures

It's been a little while since the last installment in this ongoing series of non-neutral body postures, so today I have decided to focus on the elbow/forearm area. There are 2 main kinds of non-neutral orientation in the elbow/forearm area, and they are (1) Elbow/Forearm Rotation and (2) Elbow Extension.


Problem: The operator has to screw in or tighten a work object (e.g. using a screwdriver to insert a screw into a wall), exposing the elbow/forearm to repetitive rotations, fatiguing and eventually causing inflammation in the tendons of the lower arm.

Solution: Acquire a powered tool that will insert or remove screws mechanically. Valves should be maintained regularly to keep rotation forces to a minimum, should be engineered so that rotation is easy or unnecessary, or they should be made large enough that both hands and larger muscles can be used to activate/close the valve.


Problem: The operator has to acquire or manipulate a work object that is located far from the operator's position, forcing them to extend their elbows to complete the task.

Solution: Locate the work closer to the operator, eliminating physical obstacles that force the operator to extend their elbow. Work objects should ideally be located within 12" of the operator's position, and no more than 18" for occasional use.


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