Eyes on Ergonomics
The technology behind cores, shafts, and chucks appears basic, but further inspection reveals a world of science aimed at efficiency, safety, and ease of operation.
ERGONOMICS HAS BECOME an increasingly important focus for package printing and converting companies. Also called human engineering, ergonomics is the science of "designing jobs and workplaces to match human capabilities and limitations," according to Sean Craig, product manager for Tidland. "Interest in this science has grown steadily, along with the rising number of workers' compensation claims for work-related, non-traumatic injuries or disorders involving soft-tissues (nerves, tendons, muscles, and supporting structures), known as work-related musculoskeletal disorders (WMSDs or MSDs)."
According to the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), MSDs account for 34 percent of all lost-workday injuries and illnesses reported to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. In addition, MSDs account for $1 of every $3 spent for workers' compensation—it's estimated that employers spend about $20 billion per year on direct costs for MSD-related workers' compensation.
Hence, ergonomics is important in reducing the number of on-the-job injuries related to tasks like lifting heavy objects—such as a shaft used in package printing.
"We have seen a large number of companies adopting ergonomics lifting limits that depend on a variety of factors such as the frequency, duration, and type of lifting, as well as individual variables such as age, sex, body type, size, etc.," said Courtney Donaldson, Goldenrod Corp. director of marketing. "The most common guideline we hear is that one operator should not be lifting more than 50 lbs., but this seems to be an informal limit. Some customers just want the shaft to be a certain percentage lighter than what they presently use and are trying to meet a certain level in order to justify the cost of a new lightweight shaft (i.e. if it's only 10 percent lighter, is it worth the expense?)."