Lab Comfort: Equipment improves safety (part 4 of 4)
Equipment is Key.
Comfort, unfortunately, is not always possible in some work environments, however, Victor V. of Milwaukee, WI seems to have found an easy position:
While it is not always possible to be as comfortable as one would like, due to the constraints of some PPE. Proper fitting of PPE, proper lighting, ergonomically fit equipment, and temperature control where possible decrease amounts of discomfort and distraction.
This puts the onus of comfort on the shoulders of the equipment being used by the laboratory worker. So laboratory managers are tasked with yet another set of parameters by which to choose equipment – ergonomics. When asked how they compare or grade eqiupment designs when two articles of equipment both claim to be ergonomic; a pattern emerges. As a Missouri native, I can buy into this ‘prove-it-to-me’ attitude (Missouri is the “Show Me” state, after all).
Pieter R (South Africa) – “Get the suppliers to demonstrate and try them both. ‘Ergonomic’ is often used to get some positive factor to put on the Ad Material because it is so hard to define.”
Gary S (Miami, FL) – “Equipment sales people will bring their wares into your lab to demonstrate proper use, cleaning, etc. Always ask ‘how is this ergonomic?'”
That's all well and good, but what about capital equipment? Most sales reps aren’t driving around with a fume hood, biosafety cabinet, or HPLC inside their minivan. Back to our participants:
Pieter R – “For expensive large items the demo can be arranged elsewhere such as at the site of a successful installation or at the supplier's premises. The key is: Do not believe them, say ‘Show Me.’ Presentations simply do not cut it.”
Elizabeth G – “It is not unheard of for people to visit other labs that have the recommended hood/cabinets/very large instruments to give them a ‘test drive.’”
Ergonomically Sound Equipment provides comfort, which leads to improved safety and increased productivity.
Pain and discomfort are the body’s way of alerting us to distress. We all need to be aware of this in the work place. How equipment, comfort, safety and productivity are linked needs to be clearly communicated throughout the organization.
Survey says: Comfort improves safety (Part 1 of 4)
Between May and June 2013, fifty-three (53) laboratory managers and professionals were polled on LinkedIn to gauge the importance of the correlation between comfort and safety. Of those respondents...