Although laboratory employees performing daily work processes and conducting research often work with hazardous materials that pose their own set of risks, the exposure to ergonomic injury risk factors may often go unnoticed. Ergonomic risks for laboratory employees are the same as any office related work setting or any in general industry. When working for extended durations in with fume hoods, biosafety cabinet, using a microscope or a pipette, the risk for injury can increase when coupled with awkward postures and/or forceful exertion.
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Manual Materials Handling
Manual material handling (MMH) involves any action or movement requiring workers to lift, lower, push, pull, carry, throw, move, hold or restrain objects or equipment. Bending, stooping, squatting, kneeling, reaching and crouching may be involved in many manual handling of objects and/or tools. Manual handling tasks where excessive force is accompanied with awkward postures increase the risk for soft tissue injury, especially when performed for an extended duration and/or are repeated every few minutes.
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Animal handling and care at CSU presents a very unique and challenging set of circumstances from an ergonomics perspective. Because animal behavior can be unpredictable and movements unexpected, employees are faced with a number of difficult responsibilities. Employees who handle and care for animals are potentially exposed to heavy lifting and other types of forceful exertion such as forceful grasp or pinch grip to restrain or hold animals for treatment or to use tools and equipment to perform treatments or to administer medication. Awkward postures in multiple areas of the body can also be beyond ideal levels, stressing the joints, muscles and tendons and when combined with forceful exertion, increases injury risk. Repetitive motions or sustained awkward motions and postures can also be seen regularly and contribute to an increased injury risk especially when combined with other risk factors.
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