Machine operators may need to reach out, to lift things, or to move things from one space to another. Do you think it matters how tall they are?
If you’re not sure, try setting a heavy object on a shelf or counter that’s at a comfortable working height for you. Life the object up to a higher surface, then lift it back down and set it on the floor. Now try the entire sequence again, but start with the object six inches higher.
Working height can depend on the placement of the machine, the height of the equipment being used if any, the seat being used if any, the footrest if any, and the height of the individual. Rexroth found that 90% of workers in the average industrial workforce, male and female, fall into just four height ranges. It makes sense, given that all the other elements are relatively easy to adjust, to plan the workplace so that it can be adapted to all four height ranges.
Making changes can always lead to other changes, so be aware that adding a fixture to change the height of the equipment, for example, can cause the need for an armrest or for a tilted work surface.
Measuring individuals isn’t necessary if you keep the four height ranges in mind, but you can often see problems if you observe your workforce. Hunched shoulders, reaching back repetitively, or reaching up to lift objects can all be signs that your factory doesn’t take workforce height into account.
We specialize in legacy Indramat components, and sometimes they’re in situations that were planned for male operators, who are often taller than female operators. With more women in the workforce now, this can lead to discomfort.
It’s the kind of thing that’s easy to see once you start looking — but you might never notice until you make that effort.