Re: Ergonomics & Automation

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From:Beckers <>
To:HistoNet Server <>
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Couldn't resist the opportunity to expound on my own experience with manual
bench work vs. automation.  Let me preface this with the fact that 3 weeks
ago I went under a surgeon's knife for a carpel tunnel release procedure. 
I hated the automated microtomes but now I would seriously consider them as
the discomfort, inconvenience and general hassle of dealing with CTS is
worse than a learning curve for an automated tome.  

I think the combination of being the only tech cutting frozens and manually
staining them for 2 yrs plus using squeeze bottles for embedding and
coverslip media took its toll on me.  Interestingly I used to cut volume
paraffin histo specimens for a local medical ctre and had no trouble with
my hands.  It wasn't until I took a position doing just frozens and manual
staining in low volume setting (Drs' office surgery) that I develop such a
severe case of CTS in both hands.  The right one was operated on and the
left may be next. Meanwhile my employer bought an automatic stainer and
hired a 2nd full time tech. Thank God!  

Let me just warn anyone who thinks this can not happen to you-it can even
if you are not cutting 8 hrs a shift-be aware of every physical task you do
as you never know how your individual body may respond esp to repetitive
motions and/or static positions.
I used to boo the inservices/conference titles on ergonomics and CTS or MSD
(Musculoskeleton Disorders) but now I am looking for these as I peruse the
offerings at state and national level histo meetings.

Hope this helps anyone in the field-novice or veteran.

Sincerely and safe cutting,

Sue Becker, HTL
Albany, NY  

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