I am frequently asked to recommend a piece of equipment to assist with addressing an ergonomics need. I do not mind helping out, but please consider a few things before you ask for help.
As I am an independent consultant, and giving out free advice on specific issues does not pay my bills, so before you ask, please consider these questions first: Does your electric utility give you power for free? Do your doctor, plumber, lawyer or electrician work for free? Do you work for free?
The other aspect is please don’t ask me to recommend or validate a piece of equipment for a task or process I have not seen or had the opportunity to analyze. It is just not good practice, or appropriate.
As far as tilting at “ergonomics windmills,” I have performed tens of thousands of assessments of processes, workstations and tasks around the world. I cannot count the number of times I have seen expensive equipment, purchased to address an ergonomics issue, sitting idle in a corner collecting dust. This occurs because someone went off tilting at “ergonomics windmills” as they “threw equipment” at issues. Their hearts were in the right place, but not the processes.
The result usually leaves nearly everyone frustrated and the underlying ergonomics issue unresolved. Labor is ticked off because they (most likely) were not adequately consulted. [I have been asked to intervene in labor disputes because of “how” management made an ergonomics-related change.] Engineering and safety are ticked off because they “had the answer but no one listened.” Operations and accounting are ticked off because they have to explain to the higher-ups why they spent the money but no one is using the equipment. Long term, it will often be much more difficult to achieve effective interventions here, and elsewhere, because the right steps were not taken. Ergonomics is not something people can simply “do.” Good Ergonomics requires assessments, training and analyses by qualified professionals.
We have an amazing team of Ergonomists who know the right steps to take, and who can help your company make better decisions and be more successful with your ergonomics effort. We also have an amazing team of other Safety Professionals who can help you with Process Safety Management, Machine Guarding, Industrial Hygiene, Hazardous Materials Management, Property Protection, General Liability, and other needs. Contact us today for help!