Courier Ergonomics

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The page below is a sample from the LabCE course Medical Courier Safety. Access the complete course and earn ASCLS P.A.C.E.-approved continuing education credits by subscribing online.

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Courier Ergonomics

Couriers routinely have to transport many tubes, cups, bottles and other items many times each work day.
OSHA tells us that our jobs have to be both safe and comfortable and not cause pain or stress to the body.
You must alert your supervisor if any part of your work is uncomfortable or causes you pain. They will not ignore your comments.
Ergonomics is the science of adapting the job AND the equipment AND the human to each other for optimal safety and efficiency.
The purpose of following good ergonomics practices is to avoid a musculoskeletal disorders (MSD), which is a condition where injury occurs to the musculoskeletal system over time due to trauma. These can be avoided with good ergonomics practices.
When ergonomic issues are ignored, the following injuries may occur:
  • Back strain and muscle injuries
  • Muscle strain and injury to the hands or arms
  • Leg injuries
  • Foot injuries
  • Tripping and falling with injuries
  • Dropping and breaking specimen tubes and/or other containers
As a courier you need to be ergonomically aware of the following:
  • How to lift by using your legs and arms.
  • Know your weight limit on lifting. Ask for help when you need it.
  • How to bend without putting strain on your back and legs.
  • Use a cart or a dolly. Many facilities provide folding or collapsible carts for their couriers.
Carts serve a dual purpose for couriers. They eliminate the need to juggle multiple items and to carry heavy loads to or from the lab or the courier car.
Carts also enhance company and courier efficiency. A courier may be able to make one trip in place of two or three.