Prevalence of repetitive stress injuries in Watchmaking
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  1. #1
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    Prevalence of repetitive stress injuries in Watchmaking

    I know there's probably no actual numbers tracked specifically for watchmaking, but how many people here on the forum have suffered or suffer from some type of watchmaking related injury or pain? Are there a significant number of people exiting the profession due to neck, shoulder, back and eye issues?

    I know as a hobbyist I haven't spent the time I should setting up a proper work space, so I can end up in some pain after a Saturday afternoon of puttering at the bench. But, even with a proper ergonomic bench I still can see it being very difficult and physically demanding doing a 40 hour week bent over working on watches
    Last edited by OnlyOneMore; May 30th, 2019 at 20:17.
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    Re: Prevalence of repetitive stress injuries in Watchmaking

    Not a pro, but I found that most of my 'stiff and sore' issues after a few hours of watch work went away when I got a watchmakers bench that placed the work in front of my face rather than under it.
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    Re: Prevalence of repetitive stress injuries in Watchmaking

    All my watchmaking-related pain is emotional.

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    Re: Prevalence of repetitive stress injuries in Watchmaking

    Quote Originally Posted by phydaux View Post
    All my watchmaking-related pain is emotional.
    So Far...
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    Re: Prevalence of repetitive stress injuries in Watchmaking

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    Re: Prevalence of repetitive stress injuries in Watchmaking

    My coworker fell asleep at his bench while holding a tweezer and it went through his nose.
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    Re: Prevalence of repetitive stress injuries in Watchmaking

    Quote Originally Posted by OnlyOneMore View Post
    I know there's probably no actual numbers tracked specifically for watchmaking, but how many people here on the forum have suffered or suffer from some type of watchmaking related injury or pain? Are there a significant number of people exiting the profession due to neck, shoulder, back and eye issues?

    I know as a hobbyist I haven't spent the time I should setting up a proper work space, so I can end up in some pain after a Saturday afternoon of puttering at the bench. But, even with a proper ergonomic bench I still can see it being very difficult and physically demanding doing a 40 hour week bent over working on watches
    A very good question, and an aspect of watchmaking that is often overlooked. Some of the benches I see people using I honestly wonder how they can do anything they are so poorly set-up.

    I'll try to attach a couple of documents related to the ergonomics of watchmaking stations...hopefully this works with pdf's...

    DGUV Precisons-Worker.pdfProper Workshop Working Conditions SUVA-French.pdf

    One is in French, so if you don't speak the language you will have to translate it via Google or something. But it will give you an idea of the things to consider.

    For me personally, having a specific type of arthritis (diagnosed at 21, so been living with it for a long time), I paid a lot of attention to the ergonomics of my workstation. I was fortunate to do a lot of my training on those very nice adjustable height benches, so I was able to try different heights over time to find the one that created the least amount of fatigue. I custom made my own bench, and I have no trouble spending 8-12 hours at it working. Also in a previous life as an engineer, I arranged for and implemented the recommendations of many ergonomics assessments, and although I am no ergonomist, I did take some training in this area over the years.

    There's a lot that goes into designing a proper workspace, so things like lighting, the chair you use, and even the temperature in the room can make a huge difference in how well you can tolerate working for long periods of time. For example one of the biggest and best changes I made was to get an LED lamp for my bench. I had a very nice, bright fluorescent lamp that I had bought only a year earlier, but by the end of the day the heat put out by that lamp really added a lot to the room in the summer, even with the A/C on. Additionally, the UV put out by the fluorescent lamp was a concern, so I went LED and I would never go back. Not only does it fire up instantly, but it can be adjusted for output, and it barely kicks out any heat compared to the same light level of the old lamp.

    There are also working habits that can have a very positive or negative impact on your health. I try to take frequent breaks away from the bench, so to check emails, go to the cleaning machine (which is in a completely different area), etc. In many ways going against my old industrial engineering training of having everything close at hand helps from an ergonomic perspective, forcing me to get up from the bench.

    Above all, listen to your body.

    Cheers, Al
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    Re: Prevalence of repetitive stress injuries in Watchmaking

    Quote Originally Posted by phydaux View Post
    All my watchmaking-related pain is emotional.
    Don't forget financial.

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    Re: Prevalence of repetitive stress injuries in Watchmaking

    I have worked on over 4,000 watches. The first few years was bent over a kitchen table and everyday it hurt everywhere. I would spend 4+ hours everyday bent over then more time bent over working on the computer. Once I got my bench it all went away virtually over night, maybe because I was already well used to the pains. These days I don't spend a lot of time at the bench, a couple hours usually. I still love the fact that it is never exactly the same work every time and never gets boring. Yesterday it was replace a seconds staff, today was replace a set of hands and polish a case. If I had to do it everyday for 8 hours I'd make that a hard pass, it would drive me crazy. Luckily I make my own hours and work load.
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    Re: Prevalence of repetitive stress injuries in Watchmaking

    This reminds me ...when I went to pick up my height adjustable bench, on arrival, I was told, it was up two flights of stairs. After finally, getting it into my van, I started to drive home. After an hour, I had to stop as I'd injured my back and the pain was becoming overwhelming. It took over two months to be pain free! However, that's a good few years ago and the bench is a real asset. I've not had any back problems since, although I would like an electrical height adjustable version. :)


    Tom

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