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Loss Control Insights for Public Sector

Easy Ergonomic Improvements

Disclaimer regarding the cost of bad ergonomics mobile view

Your municipal workforce faces a wide variety of ergonomic hazards because of the wide variety of work they do. Taking some time to make ergonomic improvements can help prevent injuries and increase productivity. Here are some ideas and great examples we've seen.

Just Add Wheels

Casters and carts make it easier and faster to move large objects, reducing the risk of injury. Commonly available solutions include:

  • Barrel carts for 55 gallon drums
  • Tank carts for moving welding tanks
  • Bucket dollies for five gallon buckets

Avoid Heavy Lifting

Use a mechanical aid to reduce lifting and holding heavy items. You might want to try:

  • Truck-mounted hoists for lifting manhole covers
  • Mobile storage racks for sand/salt spreaders
  • Modified floor jacks to hold grader bits during removal/installation

Make Smart Replacements

You don't have to outfit employees with all new equipment at once. Instead, keep ergonomic considerations in mind as you replace old or outdated equipment. Choose tools that are lighter, produce less vibration or require less force, such as:

  • Lightweight, reduced-noise weed trimmers with adjustable soft-grip handles
  • Low-vibration hand tools
  • Sprayers with nozzle locks to avoid repeated squeezing

Bring Work Closer to the Employee

Getting employees closer to the task at hand reduces extended reaches and awkward postures that can cause discomfort and injury. Simple fixes include:

  • Mechanic seats to reduce kneeling and squatting during vehicle maintenance
  • Adjustable height work benches (or even a stack of pallets)
  • Portable work platforms for street sign maintenance

Let Employees Help Themselves

Ask employees about the tasks they find most tiring or painful, then ask if they have any ideas for making the task better. You might be surprised what they come up with. You may even be able to build the solutions with your own personnel, shop and on-hand materials such as angle iron, tubing, pulleys and casters.

Other Ideas

  • Store frequently used or heavy items on shelves between knee and shoulder height for easier lifting.
  • Stage deliveries of lumber, gravel and other materials as close to the point of use as possible to avoid unnecessary handling.
  • Use aerial lifts instead of ladders, which can be heavy and awkward to move.
  • Transition from conventional garbage trucks to models with articulating arms.

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