Want to work healthier, faster and cheaper? It's all about ergonomics

If you spend hours standing or sitting at work, it is vital to ensure that your work surface is the right height. (Image: Daniel Smyth, via Unsplash)

The right posture makes things easier — literally: When you set up your workplace in an ergonomic way, you work more efficiently and healthier. In this edition of ToolNews, we will use specific examples to show you just how this works and how ergonomics can even save companies money.

Your shoulders have been tensed for over an hour. If only your desk was a little taller! Not to mention the lighting. Although the ceiling lamp shines brightly from above, your work surface is still not getting enough light, and you can barely see the individual parts to be assembled. Fortunately, you get everything finished quickly and the components can be passed on to the next station. But wait, where did that tap go? No matter, best to just get a new one directly from the warehouse.

"This example essentially describes the opposite of an ergonomic and efficient workplace," says Reto Gruber with a smile. And he should know, because as Consultant Lean Management at Brütsch/Rüegger Tools, Reto Gruber has been facing the challenge of optimising processes and workplaces in companies for years. "With Lean Management, we help customers create a company culture that promotes faster processes while minimising material waste, absences and duplications. In this way, the company saves time, material and thus a lot of money."

Fact check — What does digital ergonomics mean?

We talk to Raphael Müller, Head of Industrial Solutions at Brütsch/Rüegger Tools, about ergonomics in the digital age.

What does "ergonomics" mean to you?

I look at this topic from my professional perspective and relate it accordingly to digitalisation and the automation of processes. For me, ergonomic working means getting the right data and information quickly, which helps you work efficiently. However, for this purpose, data must not only be collected, but also processed and interpreted. We at Industrial Solutions support all kinds of companies.

How can your customers benefit from this?

We help them introduce digital ergonomics in their own operations. We bring together the best solutions for their physical needs, namely the organisation of tools, with the systems for data processing. In this way, production in the customer's operations becomes smarter and more agile. Which, after all, is very much in the spirit of digital ergonomics.

You can find more information about what Industrial Solutions has to offer here.

Everything aligned correctly

Did you know that poorly designed workplaces not only cause pain, but can also lead to high costs? According to SUVA, it is a matter of setting up one's own work environment in such a way that no excessive physical strain is caused. Excessive physical strain is one of the most common causes of musculoskeletal disorders. And these, in turn, are the reason for around a third of all days of absence. This can be prevented by ergonomic workplaces.

The graphic below shows the main points you must pay attention to when working at a screen or microscope:

Image sources: SUVA Pro

The SUVA designs demonstrate that ergonomics are about so much more than just comfort. Reto Gruber agrees: "Those who have adjusted their own workplace correctly protect their health and can work without pain for a long time." Ergonomics is therefore also important to reduce absences due to illness, to promote the work-life balance of employees and thus to contribute to greater well-being within the team. "The management team should therefore take a keen interest in ensuring that its employees are able to work ergonomically."

Ergonomics is also about the correct lighting. We have always taken an interest in this topic, so we have summarised our findings in this guide.
Heinz Weber
Key Account Manager Industrie
Waldmann Lichttechnik GmbH

You can download the comprehensive and practical ergonomics guide from Waldmann Lichttechnik for free here

Ergonomics guide

Ergonomics can be learned

But where should companies start? Brütsch/Rüegger Tools supports companies in taking the first step and then accompanies them along their "ergonomic journey" with expertise and the appropriate products and services. To start with, Reto Gruber and his team take a close look at the customer's operations. "We pay particular attention to the 'classics' such as incorrect working height, poor lighting conditions and noise." Once these relatively obvious ergonomic weak points have been identified, the next step is to uncover any ergonomic weaknesses in the workflows and processes. "We benefit from the fact that we are very familiar with the working methods of manufacturing companies and are thus able to look at the bigger picture," explains Gruber. For example, a lack of tool management could lead to a loss of material and time, which in turn could jeopardise deadlines and lead to hasty actions — which may put safety at risk. "This is just one small cog in the overall process that needs to be considered." Reto Gruber and his team use their experience, knowledge and expertise to help companies identify and correct such weaknesses.

This is just one small cog in the overall process that needs to be considered.
Reto Gruber
Lean Consultant
Brütsch/Rüegger Tools

Because the topic of ergonomics is so important, Brütsch/Rüegger Tools regularly holds seminars on this subject. At the Learning Centre for Ergonomics and Workplace Design (LEA) in Urdorf, participants learn things like where the greatest ergonomic weaknesses arise — and how to motivate management to make the necessary changes. "The fact that ergonomics pay off economically in operation is always a key argument," says Reto Gruber, who leads the training sessions at the LEA.

Ergonomics: How Brütsch/Rüegger Tools can help you

As a leading Swiss tool partner, we have compiled some interesting product examples from our catalogue that help improve ergonomics in the workplace. Our specialists will be happy to answer any questions you may have and to provide you with further advice.

The Mantis brand is known for ergonomic stereomicroscopes that boast a wide range of applications. The latest generation of Mantis products is the result of continuous research and development programmes that combine optical innovation with more than 50 years of experience in microscopy. The microscopes can be adjusted to each person and are also suitable for working with glasses.

Kanya's flexible workplace systems are perfect for setting up ergonomic workplaces. The height-adjustable work surfaces allow you to work while standing or sitting, and can be precisely adapted to your height. Back and neck pain are a thing of the past.

Does your production department need more storage space for tools? Then the Klink suspension consoles are just what you need. These can be easily attached to existing furniture to create order and increase flexibility.

You can find more practical ideas for ergonomic working in our ToolShop.

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