Manual packaging processes often require workers to stay standing in one place, doing the same movements over and over again for the duration of their shift. These repetitive tasks, especially when they cause the employee to work in unnatural postures, can lead to eventual injuries on the job. The most common issues caused by repeat motion in the packaging industry are muscle fatigue, musculoskeletal disorders, carpal tunnel syndrome, tendonitis, and back problems. Aside from harming the worker themselves, these health issues can also lead to significant loss of productivity caused by slower working speeds, accidents, and recovery times required for serious injuries.

One of the best methods for preventing workplace injuries and maintaining productivity is to implement packaging automation.

How to reduce the danger of repetitive tasks

The nature of modern packaging operations is that the same job needs to be completed over and over again. Taking advantage of economies of scale means moving a lot of products as quickly as you can. Many cases need to be erected, many boxes need to be loaded and unloaded, and many bags and other packaging needs to filled, labeled, and sealed.

Short of implementing automation, there are some training steps a workplace can take to reduce repetitive tasks and related injuries:

  • Avoid long reaches over 16”
  • Keep hands and elbows down
  • Avoid tilting the head forward more than 30 degrees
  • Avoid tilting the upper body forward
  • Change posture throughout the day
  • Take short breaks throughout the day

Even with this training, however, the fact of the matter is that some tasks just need to get done, and they can lead to discomfort and injuries. For those types of jobs, automation is the right solution.

Preventing workplace injuries with automation

For packaging processes that must be completed, and when training alone isn’t enough to avoid fatigue and injury, automation is the key. Here are some ways that packaging machines and tools can take some of the burden off of your employees’ shoulders for tasks that may lead to joint pain and other issues:

Automatic tape and label dispensers – always have the right length of tape or correct sized label without having to physically pull the tape or label off the role and measure the correct amount, both of which take time and can lead to repetitive motion and injury.

Automated labelers – a step up from label dispensers, automated label applicators dispense, cut, and physically apply labels to your boxes, bags, bottles, and more, minimizing the repetitive movements that your employee needs to make.

Automatic twist tie machines – applying twist ties over and over can lead to finger fatigue and joint pain. Twist tie machines automatically seal bags for you, helping you avoid awkward twisting motions.

Box sealers – both semi and fully automatic box sealers provide the exact right amount of tape and cut down on the amount of employee movement required to effectively erect and seal chipboard and corrugated containers.

At Packaging Tools, we provide these types of machines and others that allow you to implement simple, entry level automation that significantly reduces repetitive tasks. In addition to preventing workplace injuries caused by making the same movements over and over, our automation equipment also increases your packaging throughput and cuts down on material waste, reducing overhead costs. The result is an increase in profitability and employee well being.

If you have any questions about preventing workplace injuries caused by repetitive tasks, or about packaging automation in general, contact our team today.