TGW Ergonomics - TGW in the loop |01/2015 - Magazine - TGW Logistics Group
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TGW in the loop 01/2015

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TGW Ergonomics

TGW FEATURE

TGW FEATURE

TGW Ergonomics

TGW promotes health and safety: Ergonomics in the materials handling industry.
The properties and condition of workplaces have a considerable influence on the physical and mental health, not to forget the motivation of every single employee, as they typically spend eight hours a day on the job. Studies have shown that the most common reason for sick leave are musculoskeletal and connective tissue disorders which prompted TGW to address this topic together with industry experts: "We are happy to work with an innovative company like TGW, being able to introduce our experiences in ergonomics into the new order picking systems. Ergonomics is a particularly complex subject and we have intensively studied all fundamental aspects with TGW in order to design optimum work systems from an ergonomic point of view", explains Thomas Edtmayr from the Institute of Management Science of the Technical University Vienna. For TGW, the objectives are clearly defined: "Less discomfort, sustainabily higher performance, reduced error rates and a positive mood of the workers", says Eugen Baumann, Product Manager at TGW.

Workstation design as essential engineering aspect

Optimally designed workstations improve the health of every single worker and reduce the number of accidents and sick leave days which benefits the entire company. "Ergonomically designed work systems increase the economic work capability and reduce sick leaves", Jürgen Minichmayr, Head of Production Management at Fraunhofer Austria Research, says. "The workers' productivity and motivation can be positively influenced by ergonomically designed workstations in a sustained manner." Experiences and results of the Institute of Management Sciences at the Technical University of Vienna and of the Fraunhofer Austria Research institute are put into practice by TGW and used in the design of picking workstations.

Diversification as key to safety

To ensure the operators' safety, possible hazards must always be identified and eliminated. Ergonomic workstation design not only focuses on safe construction, technical protective measures and adequate design of surfaces, but also tries to avoid bad posture. "Monotony is the worst enemy of ergonomics, as it leads to operator fatigue and lack of concentration. Therefore, certain body movements should be integrated into the workflow. Diversified work is the key to safety", Product Manager Eugen Baumann is convinced. Colour design deals with topics concerning light reflections or ideal colour contrasts for best possible clarity and comprehensibility at the workstation. Information presentation focuses on the arrangement of information on displays as well as the natural inclination of the visual axis, individually adjusting heights, brightness and font sizes. Environmental influences play an important role, too. "The ability of the human eye considerably depends on the irradiance within the field of vision. The lighting considerably influences visual comfort and well-being", Minichmayr points out. Other external influencing factors include climate, air temperature and humidity as well as sound and noise. "Reducing the background noise is important for long-term health and well-being", says Minichmayr.

Flexibility for the operator

Workstations must be adapted to the individual abilities and skills of the operators. TGW solutions are based on a flexible design, adapting the tote and carton heights to the operators' body height, operating range and field of vision. Inclined order and source totes enable the operators to optimally see the contents and provide for ergonomic grasping movements. Inclined displays also support the natural inclination of the human visual angle and prevent reflections in the workstation area and on the displays.