Ergonomically designed work places increase motivation and improve concentration.
Michelle Jacobson (Edited by )
Everyone has individual requirements for the workplace. When planning work stations and storage, Hoffmann Group equipment consultants keep the whole work environment in their sights, incorporating factors such as lighting and employee height and size.
Support the body
Concentrating on work without getting tired requires a well-illuminated workplace with an optimized mix of lighting. Lighting influences biorhythms, so a balanced mix of direct and indirect light, workplace lighting, and daylight is perfect. For enough light, the ratio of translucent areas (windows, doors, and skylights) to the room surface area should be at least 1:10. Work that involves high visual requirements demands a 1:5 ratio. Using adjustable workplace lights for individual visual tasks avoids creating shadows. Light fixtures placed around the workspace according to their importance should be in reach and easily adjustable, preventing constant refocusing of workers’ eyes and keeping employees from frequently bending over.
Swiveling, perforated side walls on work benches let employees adjust the workplace tools at arm’s length, making them simple to grasp. Grip holders, tools, and visual information are always set at the same distance from the employee.
Relieve bones and muscles
Industrial workplace tasks are often done standing. Standing aids can compensate body weight up to 60% and are recommended when employees must stay standing in the same position for more than two minutes. Anti-tiredness mats placed in front of the workspace also help improve the circulation in the legs and relieve joints. On the mats, workers must keep making leg micro-movements to counterbalance their weight. Mats also collect dirt particles, decreasing the possibility of slipping. Further, the correct flooring surface can absorb noise and keep noise emissions low.
To prevent back problems, damage to posture, or alleviate tension in the shoulders and neck, employees should be able to adjust the height of their work benches or work stations. Choosing the right working height for the employee’s body size and height is as important as the workpiece dimensions. Work benches and work stations with electronically height-adjustable work surfaces are especially comfortable. In multi-shift environments, adjustable work stations with memory functions allow employees to set the optimal working height.
Employees who need to work at different places within a factory and still need the stability of a solid work bench can work more ergonomically with the Hoffmann Group’s electrically height-adjustable work bench with electrically retractable wheels that make it mobile. The station’s battery also provides a mobile power supply for electrical tools. For employees who move around a lot during their shift, the self-propelled, battery-powered work bench with electric drive can be moved forward or backward with variable speeds up to 4km/h with only one hand on the steering grip. The entire work station can be moved with minimal effort. Vise, tools, and other heavy objects are at hand, and heavy carrying is avoided, relieving back strain.
Personal protective equipment, tools
Personal protective equipment (PPE) greatly influences employees’ well-being, safety, and productivity. Safety shoes with a suitable damping system prevent back pain by absorbing jolts to the spine. Breathable, flexible gloves for assembly work should offer protection and grip so there’s enough feeling in the hands when handling oily parts. Work clothing also must offer high flexibility, movement, and suitable design. Comfortable, good-looking clothing will be used well and often. This is also true for protective equipment, company property, and tools.
Tools should be designed from an aesthetic and ergonomic point of view. For example, screwdrivers with rounded handles can transfer power more efficiently; tools with Santoprene grips lay better in the hands and prevent premature fatigue. Good grip is especially important for wet or oily hands. Special attention should also be paid to hand-held and hand-guided electric tools as they often transmit vibrations to the hand and arm and could cause circulation problems for the fingers and hands. Low-vibration tools and technical aids for vibration reduction also provide relief.
A well-thought-out system improves efficiency by ensuring that employees can orientate themselves quickly and always have the necessary tools quickly at hand. The Japanese 5S method – sort, set in order, shine (cleanliness), standardize, and sustain – allows employees to understand the work environment at a glance. Using 5S, the storage place for a tool depends on its frequency of use. Garant perforated panels can be customized using Garant Easyfix hooks and holders to provide uncluttered storage. Tool drawers feature e-shaped foam inserts with gaps in the shape of tools, offering a quick overview of any missing tools.
CAD software and simulations can support industrial work environment planning. The Hoffmann Group also offers a virtual tour of the premises using virtual reality (VR) glasses to give customers a better feeling for the space as well as some fun. The Hoffmann Group’s GridLine holistic setup tool uses a pre-defined grid to offer clear planning in setting up modern facilities. GridLine allows many combinations and extensions, and aesthetics and functionality can be guaranteed even when changes are made to the setup in the future. Good design lets employees feel good in their work environment and work productively.