Body & Mind
Office Ergonomics and Occupational Therapy
"OT practitioners provide a wide range of workplaceconsultative services, such as helping employers tocomply with the requirements of the American with Disabilities Act, evaluating and modifying tool and equipment design, anddetermining and reducing injury risk factors."
Polash is a garments owner. His workers' performance is not good. That's why he can't deliver his products timely. He noticed that his workers are suffering from different musculoskeletal problem (like neck pain, back pain, ankle pain etc) for bad posture during working time. He wants to get back his garments reputation. He consults with occupational therapist that is specialized in office ergonomics. Occupational therapist assesses the work environment and provides some recommendations.What is Ergonomics?
Occupational therapists play a great role in office ergonomics which includes appropriate measurement of machine, furniture and accessibility of work environment.
"Ergonomics is the science of matching work environments to fit the physiological, psychological, and cognitive capabilities of the worker," says occupational therapist Jill J. Page, an industrial rehabilitation consultant with Ergo Science, Inc., in Birmingham, Alabama. Occupational therapy practitioners recognize that they may not be able to entirely eliminate hazards in the workplace, but they can identify and minimize workers' exposure to them.
Practitioners provide a wide range of workplace consultative services, such as helping employers to comply with the requirements of the American with Disabilities Act, evaluating and modifying tool and equipment design, and determining and reducing injury risk factors. For workers who have had an injury, occupational therapy practitioners can help them to return to work faster, increase their comfort, and suggest modifications to regain productivity.
Occupational Therapy and Ergonomics
AOTA defines OT as "skilled treatment that helps individuals achieve independence in
all facets of their lives" including skills of work functioning (Gainer, 2008, p. 5). The Occupational Therapy Practice Framework: Domain and Process describes the profession of OT as contributing "to promoting health and participation of people, organizations, and populations through engagement in occupation" (AOTA, 2014, p. 266). Although ergonomics is involved with many professions, OT proves to be very capable of providing successful ergonomic programs for work industries (Bade & Eckert, 2008). Occupational therapists have the capacity
to be trained in providing effective preventative ergonomic programs for work industries due to their multifaceted background.
History of Occupational Therapy in Ergonomics
Occupational therapy has been involved with ergonomics in different capacities for
many years, but there is still much room for growth. Occupational therapy's involvement with ergonomics relates to when OTs assisted in developing industrial rehabilitation programs within mental health settings in the early 1900's (Gainer, 2008). This occurred after physically and mentally injured soldiers participated in vocational rehabilitation and work-evaluation programs in preparation to return back to work after World War I and World War II (Gainer, 2008).
During the 19th century is when ergonomics and OT were named. The fields of ergonomics and OT closely correlate in purpose, although they remain separate professions. Both professions require activity analysis, knowledge of disease processes, human physiology and kinesiology, as well as environment and equipment modification (Gainer, 2008).
What Occupational Therapist does?
* Design the furniture (Table, chair, computer table etc) including appropriate measurement
* Office entrance modifications (e.g. design ramp)
* Educate the patient about appropriate lifting techniques
* Educate the people about correct posture during working time
* Bathroom modification
Ergonomical office set up is essential for every worker. It safes from many disease. An effective ergonomical set up can:
* Reduce musculoskeletal problems which includes neck pain, back pain, knee pain, ankle pain, hand pain
* Reduce stress level
* Improve workers performance
When you spend hours at your desk every day, even the smallest features of your workspace-such as the position of your monitor or the height of your chair-can greatly affect your productivity and even your health. Here's what science says about the best way to set up your office for ergonomics and productivity.
Your workspace shouldn't wear you down every day, but that's what uncomfortable chairs, messy desks, and poor lighting do-even though you might not notice these things day after day. With a few adjustments, however, you can improve your working environment by consulting a qualified occupational therapist.