When COVID-19 first hit, many “non-essential” manufacturing employees were either not working or working reduced hours. As these employees return to full time work, they may find their body has been deconditioned. Restarting work after reduced physical activity can put you at higher risk of developing musculoskeletal disorders (MSD).
If you’re feeling the fatigue when returning to work, try these tips from Occupational Health & Safety:
1. Review Workstation Inventory
Before beginning your shift, make sure everything is where it should be and that all your tools are working properly. If you notice anything off, report it to your supervisor before you begin work.
2. Review Standard Operating Procedures
It’s a good idea before returning to work to review your standard operating procedures. This will help you return back to the swing of things as well as reducing errors.
3. Reduce Non-Value-Added Activity
Take some time to reduce movement waste by changing your workstation layout, rearranging the tools and equipment or determining a more efficient way to accomplish your tasks. You may also need to use new methods to transport products between workstations to maintain social distance.
4. Proactively Communicate Physical Discomfort
If you experience physical discomfort, it’s important to notify your supervisor. By communicating these issues early, you can help avoid potential injuries for yourself and your coworkers.
5. Focus on Fitness and Well-Being
Take the time to take care of yourself. Stretching or working out at home can help your body better return to work. Jumping back into a physical job after months of inactivity can cause injury. Continue at-home workouts or daily walks.
6. Review Your Work
You can avoid motion waste by reviewing your work. If you don’t have time to review your work, you can ask your supervisor to add error-proofing stations.
7. Limit Job Rotation
Job rotation has the potential to increase workplace injuries and could lead to an increased spread of germs. Speak with your supervisor to make a plan to reduce job rotation.
8. Complete General Ergonomics Awareness Training
Learning about ergonomics can help you reduce your injury risk. You can complete general ergonomics awareness training or research it on your own. Your company may have an ergonomics team for you to join, where you can learn more information.
9. Complete an Ergonomics Self-Assessment
It’s a good idea to conduct an ergonomics assessment on your workstation. This will help you identify any risk factors in your daily tasks.
10. Identify and Report the Tasks That Require the Highest Forceful Exertion and the Most Awkward Postures
Along with your ergonomics self-assessment, you should conduct an analysis to identify the root cause of the high force or awkward postures present in your job tasks. You can then meet with your supervisor to brainstorm ways to reduce this tension.
11. Implement Engineering Solutions to Reduce Employee Exposure to Injury Risk Factors
With slower production, now is the perfect time to audit your workstation layout, equipment and processes. You can work with your supervisor to create engineering solutions that are high-impact and low-cost.
13. Take a Break
As you return to work, it’s important to fully utilize your breaks as you ease back into physical work. Your body may need more time to stretch and muscle recovery.
If you’re a manufacturing employee returning to work, follow these tips to reduce physical strain and discomfort on the job.
Strom Minnesota is an engineering and technical recruitment agency that specializes in high-skilled job candidates for highly technical positions. We facilitate contract employment, project staffing, temp-to-perm and direct hire opportunities. Industries served include IT, engineering, electrical engineering, mechanical engineering and manufacturing. We are affiliated with Strom Engineering, a national staffing and recruitment agency.