Reducing Repetitive Motion Injuries at Packing Stations
Repetitive motion injuries, like carpal tunnel syndrome, are a common concern for shippers operating packing stations. These repetitive motion injuries are one of the 10 most common causes of Workers' Comp claims. They cost employers in all industries $1.8 billion each year, according to the Insurance Journal.
What can shippers, especially high-volume e-commerce shippers, do to prevent these on-the-job injuries? We asked three Better Packages Senior Vertical Sales Managers to talk about their impact and discuss some of the solutions they suggest when they consult with customers about packaging station safety. The three experts are:
- Michelle Adams
- Rob Hoffman
- Marc Schaible
Why are these injuries so common among packing station workers? Our experts pointed to the use manual tape guns to seal packages. Particularly in a high-volume environment, these hand-held tape guns result in the overuse of a particular muscle or group of muscles. “An individual may experience repetitive motion injuries in pack stations because of their recurring gripping or grasping of tape guns in high volume packing environments. This can generate a lot of wear and tear on the hand, wrist and elbows. This results in injuries,” points out Adams. “We have learned from our customers that the most common injury is carpal tunnel syndrome. It often comes when workers use a hand-held tape gun that forces them to apply pressure on their wrists repetitively to use these sealing devices.”
Concern about these injuries is one of the biggest motivators for shippers to switch to electric water-activated tape dispensers. “We have developed programs for a number of customers that say this was a motivating factor in their decision to convert to electric water-activated tape dispensers, says Schaible. “They wanted to eliminate packer injuries in the hand and wrist due to the repetitive motions needed to use a manual tape gun.”
In many cases, changing to electric water-activated tape machines has a dramatic impact on worker safety. “In our experience these dispensers eliminate most pack stations injuries because the associate does not need to repeatedly pull, push and tear tape to secure a package as they do with a hand-held tape gun,” says Hoffman. Adams concurs: “The electric water-activated tape dispensers really do help eliminate carpal tunnel syndrome in pack stations because using them does not require consistent repetitive motions in workers’ hands, wrists and elbows.”
Many e-commerce shippers concerned about repetitive motion injuries have turned to Better Packages electric water-activated dispensers. “If a customer is concerned about repetitive motion injuries, we help inform them about Better Packages electric dispensers. These are used in 35 out of the top 50 leading e-commerce fulfillment centers,” says Adams. “We think that’s because Better Packages electric dispensers are the most reliable machines and improve employee safety by effectively eliminating repetitive motion in the hand, wrist and elbows.”
Schaible sums up the reasons that so many customers are eliminating repetitive motion injuries this way: “Water-activated tape dispensed through a Better Packages electric dispenser is the safest way to seal a carton. It reduces packer movements and fatigue over the course of a shift and therefore reduces the potential for injury.”
Learn more about using water-activated tape dispensers and water-activated tape.
Better Packages | Water-Activated Tape Dispensers and Tape
Better Packages offers a complete line of water-activated tape dispensers. Its parent company, Intertape Polymer Group, sells a full line of Central® brand water-activated tape, including reinforced and non-reinforced tape. In addition to providing products for packing stations, the companies help their customers analyze and solve their packing station challenges.
About Better Packages
Founded in 1917, Better Packages is a leading manufacturer of tabletop water-activated tape (WAT) dispensers used in carton sealing. Better Packages’ product line includes auto-dispensing electric machines that are used in high volume fulfillment centers, as well as manual dispensers. In the U.S., Better Packages sells through multiple channels that include industrial and packaging distributors and catalog wholesalers, as well as direct to end-user customers. Its distribution network consists of over 160 authorized distributors including Tier 1 shipping and packaging. Better Packages also has another 50 international distributors that service over 70 countries. Better Packages is a wholly owned subsidiary of Intertape Polymer Group (IPG), an acknowledged leader in the packaging industry. IPG sells a full line of Central® water-activated tape, as well as many other premier packaging products.