Preventing cuts and lacerations in the workplace

Cuts and lacerations account for nearly 1/3 of all workplace injuries. But, a significant portion of all cuts and lacerations in the workplace are preventable by following some simple guidelines. It sounds simple and should be common sense but we’ve seen too many people over the years that lost significant work time due to easily preventable cuts and lacerations.

Before using a knife, make sure it is sharp and in good condition. A dull knife is more likely to slip and cause an accident. If the knife has any damage, do not use it.

Do not use a dull or blunt blade – harder to cut in a straight line with a dull blade and it can encourage the use of too much force.

Do not use too much force – greater chance for it to slip or go off target while at speed which can increase the severity of the laceration

Always cut away from your body and any other people nearby. This will help reduce the risk of accidental cuts or injuries.

Pay attention to what you are doing. Distractions can lead to accidents, so stay focused and avoid multitasking while using a knife.

Make sure the blade and handle are appropriate for the job – ergonomics are important

Use cut resistant gloves – accidents do happen and cut resistant gloves can help to minimize the damage

Keep the right knife handy – keep the appropriate tool close to where it will be used so that people aren’t encouraged to use the nearest blade that they can find out of convenience

If you are not confident in your ability to safely use a knife, do not hesitate to ask for help or guidance from a more experienced colleague.

Simple Steps To Reduce Work Related Musculoskeletal Injuries

Sounds too easy but employers can help reduce musculoskeletal injuries by making sure that potential employees have an honest idea of the actual physical demands.

Not generic demands that don’t give candidates a solid mental picture of what will be asked of them. Let them know what they need to be able to do, how frequently they need to be able to do it, and the setting in which they will be performing their physical tasks.

Don’t get in the trap of writing that the job requires employees to be able to lift “50 pounds” or “25 pounds” – it might give a false impression of what is expected. Do they have to lift 50 pounds once each day or is it a frequent demand, multiple times per day? Are they lifting it from floor height or shoulder height?

Post offer testing can reduce the risks even further. Post-offer physical abilities testing can help compare a new hire candidate’s physical abilities against the validated physical demands of the position. It allows an employer to make sure that the candidate is able to meet the demands. If they don’t meet the demands, the offer of employment can be rescinded.

Give us a call. We can help you reduce your work related injuries.

June Is National Safety Month

What is your company/organization doing for National Safety Month?

This is great opportunity to look at your work place to make changes that reduce the risk of injuries.

From ergonomic walkthroughs to material handling classes as well as job safety assessments and office/industrial ergonomics assessments, we can help you reduce risk of injuries for your employees.

Give us a call.


NJ Ergonomics is proud to be able to support public risk managers in reducing the risks to public employees who are responsible for the day to day operations of public entities.

We have worked with local and county entities to help improve job descriptions by measuring the essential minimum physical and postural demands for many different job titles – from police and road crews to sanitation workers and buildings and grounds employees. Defining the essential minimum physical and postural demands allows these public employers to reduce risk through post-offer pre-employment physical abilities testing as well as providing more accurate job descriptions to help guide physicians and physical therapists when providing care and treatment to injured workers. These improved job demands also help risk managers and department heads find appropriate modified duty positions based on both an employee’s current abilities and temporary restrictions from treating physicians.

We have also helped public employers reduce risk by providing ergonomic suggestions for task performance. Sometimes, these suggestions are as simple as changing the locations of supplies on shelves to help employees lift using biomechanical advantage by placing heavier objects within their power zones. Other times, these suggestions may be in the form of equipment or process changes that improve job task safety or reduce the physical demands of a task.

Our services help public risk managers and department heads meet those functions by providing a unique eye to a job environment with our background in functional capacity evaluations. We’ve seen the different ways employees can be injured in different environments and we bring that knowledge with us as we scan and identify risks while providing objective information about the essential minimum physical and postural demands of assigned job tasks. Providing solid, objective information on the physical and postural demands can help risk managers and department supervisors better analyze the risks when bringing an individual back on modified duty to ensure that the employee is able to complete assigned tasks safely while allowing them to remain a productive member of their team.

Contact us at (732) 796-7370 to set a time for a complimentary review of your current job descriptions or e-mail us at

Friday Five – 6/9/17

The Friday Five is a set of five links that I have come across this week that pertain to ergonomics, occupational health, safety, human performance, or human factors.  For whatever reason, I found them interesting, but they are provided with minimal or no commentary and are not meant to be endorsement for a given product or research paper.
These links were generated during a PubMed search on the terms: ergonomics workplace and ergonomics musculoskeletal

Love et al.  look into the ergonomic issues associated with home health care workers and what can be done to reduce the risk of injury.

Ceshi et al. examine the impact of exhaustion, workplace demands, and workplace resources affect decision making and the subsequent impact on performance.

Pandalia et al.  investigate usage of a Composite Lifting Index to assess risk of low back pain in material handling tasks.

Chen et al. looked at the psychophysical limits on lifting a weighted box between younger and older female workers.  Women between the ages of 50 and 63 years old chose weights that were approximately 24% less than the younger co-hort (between 20 and 32 years old).

Antonucci et al. examined the effect of drill bit wear on vibration and task performance.  Drill bit wear creates an increase in the vibration of the drill and increases time to complete task performance.  Antonucci et al. recommend instituting drill bit replacement protocls for when drill bits become worn.



Friday Five – 4/28/17

The Friday Five is a set of five links that I have come across this week that pertain to ergonomics, occupational health, safety, human performance, or human factors.  For whatever reason, I found them interesting, but they are provided with minimal or no commentary and are not meant to be endorsement for a given product or research paper.

These links were generated during a PubMed search on the terms: applied ergonomics

Lee et al. investigated the position of two different wearable sensor systems on the posture of construction workers while performing assigned tasks in a laboratory.  As those who have worked with motion capture devices know, placement of these sensors is everything in terms of collected data.

He et al. look at using Google Glass to monitor eye blinking in drivers to determine signs of drowsiness.  Distracted driving is something that we’ve hit upon in other posts.  Technology such as this may be able to go along way in helping drivers to recognize when they are too fatigued to drive safely.

Schmidt et al. investigated a different way of dealing with fatigue during long drives through the use of a cooling device to help improve alertness.

Armstrong et al. reviewed the impact of two paramedic services transitioning to a powered stretcher to help reduce injuries related to patient transport.  This appears to be a cost-effective solution with a reduction in injuries during patient transport.

Hlavenka et al. investigated the effect of neck posture during lifting tasks on both lumbar spine posture and activation of trunk musculature.  They indicate that a retracted neck posture may help to lower the risk of pain and injury during lifting tasks.


What Not To Do Wednesday – 2/1/17

worker trying to kick wood into a chipper in an unsafe and unprotected way (how not to use a wood chipper)
BBW345 worker trying to kick wood into a chipper in an unsafe and unprotected way (how not to use a wood chipper)

It seems like it should be a “no brainer” to not use your feet to help push things into machines that shred materials, but it happens.  Approximately 50% of those injured when using a wood chipper are sucked feet first into the machine.  The Bureau of Labor and Statistics tracks injuries and fatalities for many occupations.  Statistics for the last several years indicate about 100-130 non-fatal injuries occur while operating wood chippers with fatalities typically in the 5 to 10 per year range.

Wood chipper injuries can be reduced with some simple rules:

  • When you are working to clear a clogged chute, make sure that the machine if fully shutdown before opening the machine up.  A worker in Maine was fatally injured when he attempted to open a chipper before it was fully shut down.
  • Make sure to operate chippers in teams of at least two individuals.  These team members should be close enough to monitor each other, in the event that the machine needs to be shutdown.
  • Load smaller pieces on top of larger pieces – or use larger branches to push the shorter branches through the hopper.
  • Put twigs and other small branches directly into the truck instead of running them through the chipper.
  • Stand to the sides (specifically the side with the shutoff controls) of the hopper when feeding materials rather than in front of the hopper.


What Not To Do Wednesday

The internet is full of lots of information.  Some helpful, some esoteric, some entertaining…but, in that portion that is questionably entertaining, there is still some useful information.

What Not To Do Wednesday’s are going to be an opportunity to share some of those viral videos, images, and stories that despite the craziness still have some lessons to be learned.

This week’s video has gone viral since it hit the webs at the beginning of the week.  Nobody wants a nest of stinging insects near their garage.  There are many different options available at your local hardware store to get rid of these annoying houses for the scary, stinging insects.  There are even professional exterminators who excel at doing this safely.

We do not recommend using the solution seen in this video.

There’s many reasons that this is a bad idea:

  • While this gentleman is taking his own well-being in his own hands, he is putting the person who filmed him at risk for aggressive yellow jackets that may escape his grip.
  • This is a prime example of less than best practices when using a ladder.  In both reaching for the nest as well as when he shows the crushed nest, he leans well outside of his base of support – in fact, you can see the ladder shaking multiple times during this video.
  • He makes an aggressive movement in reaching for the nest which could have resulted in a fall.
  • His barehands put his hands at risk for stinging injuries.

It shouldn’t have to be said, but don’t try this at home or work.

The Entymology Department at the University of Kentucky provides a comprehensive list of strategies for dealing with different types of stinging insects and their hives.  Interestingly, they mention that yellow jackets can become very aggressive when disturbed and that sometimes a professional is the best person to handle this situation.

What Not To Do Wednesday will be a regular feature on this blog going forward.  I hope that it will become both an educational tool for those that read the blog as well as a resource for those of you who provide safety lectures when you need to illustrate a point.