Greenlee Partners on Tool Ergonomics Study with Knoxville Utilities Board

Greenlee, part of Emerson’s professional tools portfolio, is helping municipal utility workers in Knoxville, Tenn. learn how they can benefit from ergonomic health and safety on the job.

Greenlee, an industry leader in tools with applied ergonomics, spent several days in the field with Knoxville Utilities Board (KUB) employees studying how they use utility tools in natural gas, electric, water and wastewater projects. As part of the research, KUB members had sensors placed on key pressure points on their bodies. This helped to scientifically measure each user’s energy and form output when working with different tools in various application scenarios.

“We’re showing people literally what their body is going through with every lift, turn and bend they do during the workday,” said Ryan Berg, director of product management, Greenlee for Emerson. “You can talk about how a certain tool is designed to deliver less strain on the body, but it’s not until you see the data from the sensors that it makes sense. We can show the energy each person is exerting and talk about how performing a task differently or using another tool or method could prevent harm to the individual.”

This quantitative data is helping KUB add to its existing ergonomics strategy by showing employees how new tools and work processes have a long-term effect on their bodies.

“In the past, we’ve looked at all the potential for ergonomic improvements, but we’ve not had any measurable data. This is the first time we’ve had real measurable data or have looked into specific tools and tasks to pinpoint our biggest issues and find a feasible solution,” said Hayden Sparks, safety specialist, KUB. “It’s important to understand how our employees use tools and which tools they prefer so that we can give them a better process and better tools to increase their longevity. We want them to take care of themselves in the long run.”

The KUB field study results are an example of how ergonomic considerations can enhance employee health and safety efforts by showing how the impact of tool selection and other practices in the field can make a big impact. These enhancements can help improve productivity, decrease injuries and save money over time. Greenlee is dedicated to optimizing and enhancing applied ergonomics in tool design to make work easier and safer for trades professionals.

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