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Ergonomic Assessment

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Pipetting Safety

Manual rotary microtome use in histology laboratories requires performing a repetitive twisting of the wrist and palm.  In the course of one day, a laboratory technician may use between 40 and 50 cassettes or blocks a day, hence turning the microtome wheel for at least a 1000 time.  This is not only repetitive work, but turning microtome's wheel also requires force or forceful exertion.  Other repetitive microtome-related functions such as replacement of specimens and use of trimming wheel increase the probability of acquiring MSD.

Associated Risk Factors:

Microtome work involves additional stress on the wrist, elbowand arm of the lab technician including
  • Awkward and static posture of the lower back.
  • Twisting and of the wrist and palm contact pressure in the carpal tunnel area.
  • High repetition.
  • Awkward and static posture of the neck and head.

Preventive Measures:

Place microtome on appropriate workbench (appropriate height). Take into consideration the way work will be performed (standing or sitting).
If sitting is required, make sure the workbench allows enough clearance for leg and thighs.
Use only adjustable chair or stool with built-in foot and arm rest.
Make sure sharp edges are not an issue.
Protect wrists and forearms from contact pressure. Pad sharp edges.
Use less force when turning handwheel.
Take frequent small breaks from microtome work every 20 minute.
If economically feasible, replace manual rotary microtome with an automatic one.

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