Products | Press Release -- November 30, 2009

For Immediate Release

Repetitive Strain Injuries: Three easy ways to reduce the risk of operator related trauma According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), repetitive strain injuries are the nation's most common and costly occupational health problem, affecting hundreds of thousands of American workers, and costing more than $20 billion a year in workers compensation. Flexible Assembly Systems has recently launched a series of products to help solve these worker injuries. Manufacturing companies often forget how many injuries can occur from a repetitive motion, especially those that include the use of torque screwdrivers. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, nearly two-thirds of all occupational illnesses reported were caused by repeated trauma to worker’s upper body (wrist, elbow or shoulder). One common example of such an injury is carpal tunnel syndrome. These injuries can easily be minimized or avoided by implementing some basic ergonomic rules-of-thumb. "There's a common misconception out there that all torque screwdrivers are the same, but in reality there are some pretty amazing differences when you start comparing the different models available. We're starting to see a lot of tool manufacturers make a strong push towards tools with an emphasis on ergonomic performance," states Eddie Silverberg, CEO of Flexible Assembly Systems. He adds, "There are scientific studies confirming that improving operator comfort actually helps improve productivity and efficiency". Mr. Silverberg proposes three important torque screwdriver specs that manufacturing companies need to think about to improve an ergonomic environment: 1) Low Tool Weight: Ideally, a worker should be able to operate a torque screwdriver with one hand. Therefore the weight of the tool, especially for repetitive use, should not exceed 1 kg (2.2 lb.). A tool balancer combined with a workstation arm is also highly recommended. Manufacturers can help reduce operator fatigue and increase productivity and comfort by placing a frequently used tool within easy reach. 2) Easy Tool Position: There are 3 main choices for tool position: Inline (straight), pistol grip, and 90 degree right angle. The tool position and orientation can play a huge roll in reducing repetitive injuries and ensuring operator comfort. It is always recommended that that a complete evaluation and assessment of the work area is performed. This will help in the selection of the appropriate tool orientation. 3) Low Torque Reaction: Torque reaction is the force or a "jerking" motion an operator  can feel in the hand, wrist, and/or arm when a torque screwdriver reaches torque. Torque reaction is a major ergonomic concern. Torque reaction arms will reduce the torque transfer from the tool to the operator by 99.9%, which is why it is extremely important to implement in repetitive operations where torque reaction may occur. Flexible Assembly Systems has been working together with firms requiring light-assembly solutions since 2003. The compan's product list is extensive, and includes Electric Screwdrivers, Assembly Tools, Robotic Assembly, Automotive Tools, Torque Testers, Torque Products, Bits and Fastener Systems, Workplace and ESD Systems, and Material Handling Systems. For additional information, contact: Eddie Silverberg, President Flexible Assembly Systems 800.696.7614, x250

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