Laboratory staff is often engaged in manual work that causes repetitive strain injuries (RSI) over time. RSI symptoms include pain, numbness, and tingling in the hands and fingers that limit your ability to grip everyday objects. This can unfortunately have a long recovery period, affect your life quality, and work ability.
One of the most common causes of injuries in laboratories is manual pipetting. It is therefore important to follow the right ergonomic procedure.
Tips to prevent repetitive strain injuries
Here are some of the things you can do to take better care of your body when performing manual pipetting:
Do not rotate your wrist but keep it in a neutral angle (handshake posture)
Keep elbow near a 90° position to minimize stress to the elbow, shoulder, and neck
Keep forearm in a 45° rotation angle to minimize carpal tunnel pressure
Stand/sit up straight
Shift your weight regularly
Use as little pressure as possible when handling the pipettor
Use a pipettor that fits your hand size
Avoid long sessions and take breaks if possible
If you are diagnosed with an RSI, there are several treatment options, including medication, physiotherapy, and even surgery in some cases. At the very minimum, it is necessary to modify the work activities that led to the injury.
Avoid repetitive strain injuries altogether
Fortunately, there are also many automation solutions on the market that can free you from manual pipetting altogether, or maybe just take over part of the workload if you prefer. Either way, it will increase the throughput overall without any RSI safety hazards.
Aside from improving health and safety, lab automation will reduce human errors, increase accuracy, and make sure that operations are not put behind schedule due to injuries.
Today, there are automation solutions to fit almost any laboratory, enabling everybody to take better care of their staff and put welfare on top of the agenda.
One solution for user-friendly and flexible automation is the flowbot ONE. Discover its unique features, that will improve laboratory safety.