Re: Ergonomics & the Histotech

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In a message dated 04/07/00 06:32:58 GMT Daylight Time, 

> Do you divide the embedding, cutting, coverslipping, 
>  writing slides and other goodies that kill your hands.
We don't have "specialists" who always do one one job. As far as I can, I 
ensure that each of my colleagues can do all jobs in the lab. We rotate 
blocking out (embedding) beteween 5 of us (upto  2 hours per day), 
coverslipping between 6 of us (we now have a Shandon Consul, which is 
marvellous), 6 people can cut (rotarys'), 3 do so at any one time. Whilst we 
cut for about 4 hours per day (average 180 blocks per day and rising, ie 
3/180 per "tech") there is a paid 30 minute break in this 4 hour period as 
well as an unpaid one hour lunchbreak in the middle of the day and a further 
20  minute paid break mid afternoon -the British must have tea at about 3 
pm!- (tongue in cheek). Everybody gets a week off cutting and routine work 
when they rotate into the imuunocytochemistry lab (hard on the brain, easier 
on the hands?). Slides and cassettes are machine generated. I'm such an 
enlightened boss I even allow collegues to take the weekend off too.

I know that it is possible to get strain injuries from cutting, as easily as 
from typing, but I personally don't know of any "techs" in the West  Midlands 
who have repetitve strain injuries (but then, I don't get out much :>) ). 
Reading posts from Histonet seems to reveal an awful lot of my North American 
colleagues in particular with this problem. It can't be that we Britons are 
made of sterner stuff. Is it the amount of work expected from collegues in 
North America? Perhaps its a numbers thing - are there more of you than us? 
Or maybe its the system - do you cut non-stop for more than 4 hours per day? 
Is it simply that our lab rotates work and rests colleagues who complain of 

I look forward to being educated.


Glyn Woodward

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