How to Prevent Repetitive Strain Injury With Pallet Stackers

Manufacturing employee holding an injured wrist

Repetitive Strain Injuries (RSI)—what are they, how do you address them, and what can you do to stop them? 

In a previous blog, we discussed the dangers associated with typical warehousing jobs. Today, we expand on that discussion by examining the effects of Repetitive Strain Injuries (RSI). An RSI is a potentially debilitating condition resulting from overusing the body to perform a repetitive task, such as reaching, lifting, bending, and twisting. These injuries can be amplified in manufacturing environments.

Fortunately, we can combat those effects with the right palletizing equipment and rotating engine stands. Let’s walk through the proper response and treatment plan:

Preventing Health Risks With Automation 

Neck and Back Pain

Neck and back pain usually stem from the conditions of the work environment as well as poor habits you may have picked up along the way. A few causes of your pain could be:

  • Sitting or standing for long periods: It’s easy to feel strain on the vertebrae when forced to stand or sit in an upright position for long periods. Operators may need to twist the body to combat this stress, but those motions may cause extra muscular strain. 
  • Whole-body vibration: Whole body vibration is the vibration, shaking, or jolting of the body transmitted through a supporting surface. This injury typically occurs when having to sit in a forklift seat, on the floor, or against a backrest.
  • Poor posture: Poor posture sneaks up during long hours of monotonous tasks in the same position. 

How to solve these problems: 

It’s best to automate the working environment. Consider a mobile compact palletizer. These automatic material-handlers don’t leave the body shaking at a high-speed or forced into an uncomfortable position for long periods of time. Engineers and managers can program the machinery to perform all the heavy lifting. The best part is that there’s no danger, because no one has to operate the system from a driver’s seat. 

Shoulder Pain

Muscles and tendons can get stiff and sore, especially when having to spend a lot of time behind the wheel of a forklift. Steering, operating the hydraulic controls, and repetitive motion are common links to shoulder strain. Another major cause of concern includes overhead lifting. This is a typical issue for engineers. They are constantly having to hold and rearrange heavy objects in place during repairs. 

How to solve these problems:

Two tools that significantly reduce shoulder mobility are automatic palletizers and rotating engine stands

Knee Pain

The lower body absorbs uncomfortable pressure when forced to stand for most of the day, and the strain intensifies when having to operate warehouse machinery with constant bracing motion. Knee pain is one of the most significant side effects linked to this activity. 

How to solve these problems:

Aside from wearing a knee brace, it’s best to consider automation in the workforce. These tools help prevent constant bending and stretching, which leaves less strain on the bones and joints. And if one does decide to add manually operated machinery to the facility, ROI has plenty of options to keep employees sitting in a position that reduces stress on the lower body. 

Whiplash Injuries

Aggressive acceleration and stopping can cause whiplash injuries. If you work in a high-speed, labor-intensive field, you may be at risk for the following symptoms:

  • Neck pain
  • Stiffness
  • Headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Difficulty concentrating

How to solve these problems:

To avoid whiplash injuries, modify the start and stop functions of all machinery. Start by programming material-handlers to turn at a smooth speed limit. Rotating engine head or an automatic palletizer won’t cause excessive turn motions. This equipment turns toward the body to help minimize physical adjusting.  

Fatigue

Fatigue is a serious hazard for anyone in a warehouse setting, especially for those trusted to operate machinery. Some of the signs of fatigue include:

  • Lack of energy
  • Muscle weakness
  • Shortness of breath
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Impaired decision-making
  • Reduced alertness

How to solve these problems:

With automated machinery, you won’t be exerting as much physical labor on a daily basis. Tools such as mounting heads, conveyors, and load transferring equipment help transport products from point A to point B in an efficient, effortless manner. This eliminates strenuous activity, helping employees conserve more energy for other aspects of the operation.

Other Prevention Tips

  • Educate the team on proper posture techniques.
  • Encourage the team to take regular breaks.
  • Install enough water stations in easily accessible areas of the facility.
  • Supply employees with ergonomically optimized office equipment.
  • Lead exercise sessions with strength training, stretching, and aerobic activity.
  • See a doctor when or if you start noticing pain.

Eliminate Repetitive Strain Injury With the Help of ROI 

ROI Industries is committed to the health and safety of the workforce. Our experts engineer top-quality material-handling equipment for a variety of manufacturing environments. It’s time to make operations easier with tools that won’t deplete the team or budget. Let’s work together to find the right equipment for the right price. 

Contact us to get started with a free consultation.