No pain, DOE Joint Genome Institute gains coveted ergonomics prize with 'Shake 'N Plate'

WALNUT CREEK, CAEmerging from a record field of 28 finalists representing many major multinational companies, a team of scientists and engineers from the U.S. Department of Energy Joint Genome Institute (DOE JGI) and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) won the 2007 Ergo Cup. DOE JGI's "Shake 'N Plate" instrument took the prize for the "team-driven workplace solutions" category at the 10th Annual Applied Ergonomics Conference March 12-15 in Dallas, Texas. The internationally recognized Ergo Cup, presented by the Institute of Industrial Engineers, provides opportunities for institutions to highlight successful ergonomic innovations.

"Ergo injuries are preventable," said Steve Chu, LBNL Director who serves as lead University of California National Laboratory Director providing oversight for DOE JGI. "Most injuries are due to incorrect habits in daily activities or not paying attention to the warning signs your body is sending. Ergo injuries do not suddenly occur. There are almost always precursors. So I am particularly encouraged by the vigilant efforts on the part of DOE JGI to have recognized the trends and sought to proactively address them."

"Ergonomics is a serious concern at the DOE JGI Production Genomics Facility," said Eddy Rubin, DOE JGI Director. "DOE JGI has worked hard over the past several years to raise awareness about these issues and in response has designed and instituted many improvements in our high-throughput DNA sequencing process to alleviate activities that may put our production-line staff at risk."

The winning innovation, "Shake 'N Plate," is a simple device designed to alleviate upper body fatigue associated with bacterial culture plating. Operators were manually processing stacks of 22 cm x 22 cm gel-filled plates weighing up to 7 lbs. The hand grasp forces and total weight during long processing times made this an unpleasant and fatiguing task. The "Shake 'N Plate" is a lightweight sheet meta

Contact: David Gilbert
DOE/Joint Genome Institute

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