Speaking at the Cardinus Risk Management health and safety forum in January, two risk management professionals explained why ergonomic risk management in the laboratory needs to be handled using specialist training tools.

Andy Nicholson, health and safety consultant and managing director of Axis Ergonomics, said, “Because laboratory workers carry out a number of office-type activities, such as working with display screen equipment, there’s a temptation to think that traditional ergonomic training will do. I think this is a mistake. Laboratory work can be very different to office work and therefore requires its own specialist approach to ergonomics.”

Robert Brookes, Lead for GlaxoSmithKline UK R&D Ergonomics programme, said, “We do have staff carrying out fairly traditional tasks, and there are some simple manual handling activities carried out on GlaxoSmithKline sites. But the ‘big four’ laboratory activities are pipetting, use of microscopes, fume hoods and safety cabinets. You’ve seen the TV show Location, location, location, well for these laboratory activities the big problem is ‘duration, duration, duration’.”

Only an ergonomics training programme that looks at these specialist activities can provide the right kind of protection needed by laboratory workers, say the experts. Appropriate laboratory ergonomic risk management will help employers to comply with the law and can give a return on investment within 12 months. Mr Nicholson presented a case study to the Cardinus forum that showed an exercise at a healthcare company that paid for itself in a year, delivering a net intervention benefit of almost £19,000.

The Cardinus Risk Management health and safety forum was attended by laboratory health and safety professionals from across the country.

Jon Abbott, managing director – ergonomics and safety at Cardinus Risk Management, said, “We were very pleased to get speakers of Andy and Robert’s stature and that was reflected in the number of delegates who came along. And the feedback was so good we have decided to release an edited film of the presentations on YouTube to benefit health and safety professionals who couldn’t attend.”

You can see the presentations on the Cardinus Risk Management YouTube channel at http://www.youtube.com/user/CardinusRisk. It has not been possible to publish the entire presentations, these are edited highlights.

Laboratory Ergonomics Plus is an ergonomics risk management and training programme from Cardinus. The programme can be tailored to meet the needs of all laboratory-based businesses, from large multi-nationals to small and medium-sized enterprises.

Cardinus has been developing effective ergonomics programmes for more than 17 years. Its customers include many of the world’s leading organisations, central government departments and unions. The company has a dedicated ergonomics website at www.cardinusergonomics.com.

The Cardinus approach to effective ergonomics management is to apply simple programmes that provide a modular, adaptable solution. Workstation Safety Plus, the innovative online DSE assessment and e-learning solution, provides award-winning solutions that are fully endorsed by the International Institute of Risk and Safety Management.

Cardinus provides on-site and telephonic assessments and, when needed, will supply ergonomic triage and case management solutions.

For more information about Cardinus Risk Management, phone 020 7469 0200, email info@cardinus.com or visit www.cardinusergonomics.com.

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