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‘Brainstorm’ e-tool targets sprain and strain hazards

Photo: Washington State Department of Labor & Industries

Tumwater, WA — Preventing sprains and strains on the job is the aim of a new online tool from the Washington State Department of Labor & Industries.

Developed in collaboration with Oregon OSHA and the Oregon-based SAIF Corp., the Brainstorm Ergonomic Solutions Tool features a series of questions that focus on sources of ergonomic risk to help users explore different ways to make lifting, carrying, pushing or pulling safer. 

BEST gives workers an opportunity to come up with solutions, making them more invested in creating a safer workplace, Washington L&I says.

The tool examines how solutions can solve seven different sources of ergonomic risk – human, movement, object, process, time, tools and workspace – when lifting, carrying or pushing/pulling. When a task involves pushing and/or pulling, for example, the resource looks at how a change to the workspace or the task itself can enhance worker safety by asking:

  • Can you shorten the distance that objects are pushed or pulled?
  • Can you clear the path so that workers don’t need to push or pull over obstacles, up ramps or make frequent turns?
  • Does the floor have a hard surface with good traction?
  • If you’re sliding an object, can you slide it over slicker surfaces?

Each segment also asks what workers can do to reduce the impact of risk factors, along with encouraging brainstorm sessions for various solutions.

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