Category Archives: Employee Health and Wellness

3 WAYS A COMPANY CAN DEMONSTRATE COMMITMENT TO ITS MOST VALUABLE ASSET

I have been reading lately more and more articles on LinkedIn and other sites about what is truly most important in a company.   Oleg Vishnepolsky, CTO of the Daily Mail and Metro.Co.Uk posted an interesting experience that gave opportunity for thinking and changing his actions titled, “Your most important assets are not your clients, it’s your loyal employees.  If you take of your employees, they will take care of your clients."  Then there is Brigette Hyacinth, writer and author about working relationships in companies, who posted on LinkedIn a similar topic, “Why You Should Put Employees, Not Customers, First!”   Great articles to remind us that employees are individuals with high value.

And while this topic is not new, why are there so many articles and books on this topic?  It is obvious that there is a truth behind the saying, “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care." This is an excellent company mantra.  For employees are, at the very least, two things to a company:  1) a company’s largest operating expense, and 2), a company’s largest and most valuable resource.  It is, therefore, critical for company executives to be the leaders in the manner they treat employees directly under them, as well as initiating programs that are powerful in the statement of how much a company cares for their employees.  The business we’re in—preventing employee injuries through a multitude of proven methods—is a demonstrable way to say to all employees that the company cares.   The benefits are two sided and valued by all recipients.

You may be able to visualize how the company can and should demonstrate outwardly their appreciation of employees, yet need a few easy methods to begin to institute and grow that care.   Below are three methods that can be used that will send a strong message to your employees about company commitment to them.

  1. Develop and start a strong daily stretch and movement routine. 

Companies that already have morning stretch programs in use, take stock.  It is quite possible that revamping and improving the program is in order.  For companies that have never started a morning stretch program, this method will be a welcomed employee experience.

Why?  Morning stretch and move programs provide not only physical flexibility and protection against injury, but daily educational moments as well.   Executives and managers can use this time with employees to improve their knowledge of physical movement and  fitness.  Not all individuals will have the same knowledge base, and this is an opportunity to bring everyone on the team to the same basic level of understanding.

  • For educational background, our bodies really do not stretch the way we may think of when the word “stretch” is used. Yes, there are elastic components in the tissues, but, overall, the tissues inside the human body slide and glide over each other. In addition, static stretches—the most commonly used type of stretch in many morning routines—should be replaced with what is known as dynamic stretches, or in Physical Performance Solutions parlance, specific movements.
  • Research shows that static stretches used prior to highly repetitious or ballistic movements can actually slow down the muscle firing process in the body for a short period of time.
    • To turn a static stretch into a dynamic stretch, make the stretch more of a movement rather than holding the end position.
    • This type of movement increases the blood and oxygen flow throughout the body, therefore mimicking larger movement patterns that maybe similar to the movements used in the work station.
    • Also add movements that are the opposite of what is used in the workstations. Why? For example, if gripping electric drills all day is a common task, the forearm muscles, both flexors and extensors, become fatigued well before the worker notices fatigue or stiffness. Teaching workers how to move body parts in the opposite direction helps to encourage and facilitate the tissue glide that is normal in the body.
  • Develop and encourage employees to use these movements all throughout the workday. Research in this area repeatedly shows that altering movements is beneficial to tissues of the body in maintaining a proper tissue motion.
  1. Institute a mentoring program for all employees.

In physical labor positions, many employees would like to step up and have the opportunity to expand their skills, yet feel that it’s not possible.  Starting a mentoring program at this level is just as important as mentorship programs that may exist in management or elsewhere in the company.

Mentorships here can take on many forms and be kept simple.  You might consider a reverse mentoring program.   An example of reverse mentoring can be an employee mentoring a production manager on the assembly line.  Managers aren't doing the work, so they may be missing some important elements that the frontline worker can see.   More importantly, the relationship between a mentor and mentee is something that can foster respect across departments and job titles:  a benefit that money can’t buy.

Another example of reverse mentoring is to couple an older employee with a younger employee.  These methods help to increase the knowledge base across the workforce and build mutual respect.  This reverse hierarchal mentoring is also shown to increase trust, understanding and engagement across departments and across a company’s entire organizational structure.  Additionally, reverse mentoring is a positive method for gaining an accurate pulse of the culture of the company.

Developing a mentorship program:   A H A moments:    Agree,   Hunger,  Appreciate

  • Agree. Each party needs to define their goals. What are the expectations? Both individuals need to agree to these and any additional rules as the mentorship program is designed.  Defining goals and expectations ahead of time helps the two to help each other gain the knowledge each one would like to gain.  This helps to increase communication skills for both parties and certainly increases the work relationship.
  • Hunger. To learn! At certain times, even the mentor will become the mentee.  Especially in reverse types of mentorship programs, both parties are learning new information as they share their ideas and concerns.  All of this helps satisfy each participant’s hunger to grow.
  • Appreciate. Appreciation comes from the new knowledge and perspective that was shared. As I mentioned earlier,  no one cares how much you know until they know how much you care.   In mentorships, the building of new relationships builds a new level of acknowledgement and appreciation.  That appreciation can result for many reasons.  The salient point is that more individuals within the company now have a greater depth of awareness—interdepartmentally, intra-departmentally, and across the company’s organizational structure as a whole.  Engagement will increase for the company as a whole.  And, as a whole, the company will succeed! Because more and more employees will be on the same team.
  1. Utilize specific employee surveys.

Employee surveys are not new.  Most medium to large companies use employee surveys to gain insight on what is important to employees in aggregate and also to address specific areas of concerns for individual employees.  We suggest a specific type of survey that will be used to impact the first two suggestions we’ve laid out here:  morning stretch and movement programs, and mentorships.   Via integrating the responses from this more specific survey, these two well-known methods can evolve, stay fresh, and engage employees, thereby becoming a true demonstration of the company’s appreciation of and care for its most valuable asset.

Serving the textile industry

Press Release: Physical Performance Solutions Now Servicing the Textile Industry

Serving the textile industryFOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

May 8, 2018

Contact:  Lori Peacock, Physical Performance Solutions, LLC
lpeacock@physicalperformancesolutions.com
803-716-9167

Physical Performance Solutions Now Servicing the Textile Industry

Aiken, SC – Physical Performance Solutions, LLC announced today that it has added textiles to its growing list of industries served. The company offers Early Symptom Intervention programs to resolve employee discomfort before more serious injury, pain or cost accrues for employees and the companies for which they work.

“Although the textile industry is unique in what it does, employee discomfort can be found in just about any industry,” said Lori Peacock, president of Physical Performance Solutions. “Our proven, comprehensive process will bring relief to textile employees and employers alike.”

Physical Performance Solutions provides onsite services that analyze, diagnose and treat employee health issues before they escalate. Analysis may consist of interviews with employees, observation of workstation layouts and uses, job rotation review, and hands-on examination of muscle movement.

“Our mission is to pursue and utilize the best means available in technology, manual therapies, and movement re-training to empower our clients,” Ms. Peacock added. “We will always provide superior and customized attention to all of our clients so that they in turn may achieve their own missions.”

Industries currently served by the company include food processing, aerospace, automotive, and electrical component manufacturing.

ABOUT PHYSICAL PERFORMANCE SOLUTIONS
Physical Performance Solutions, LLC, based in Aiken, South Carolina, is a leader in evidence-based biomechanics, offering cutting edge, cost effective and proactive strategies for reducing worker discomfort and injury in manufacturing and corporate environments. Our “one solution fits one” approach ensures the highest quality care for individual employees while dramatically reducing risk and safety issues for their employers. Learn more at www.PhysicalPerformanceSolutions.com.

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Your Time in the Gym Can Be Bad for Your Health!

Your Time at the Gym, on the Bike or on Your Horse Can Be Bad for Your Health

Your Time in the Gym Can Be Bad for Your Health!Finally, data analysts and orthopedic surgeons have gotten together to conduct a study of cervical injury across the United States, with a particular focus on sports-related injuries.  The findings of the study were presented at the 2018 Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS).

Guess what?  Football is bad for your neck! No surprise there.  In sporting related neck injuries, the study found that football leads as the most common cause of neck sprains in men.

But unexpectedly, the study revealed that the most common cause for cervical fractures in men is cycling injuries.  The study’s lead author J. Mason DePasse, MD, orthopedic trauma surgery fellow at Brown University, stated that “the biggest takeaway was that cycling is the number one cause of neck fractures, which suggests we may need to investigate this in terms of safety."

For women, weightlifting and aerobic exercise were the leading causes of cervical sprains, along with trampoline and cheerleading.  Cervical fractures for women occurred primarily during horseback riding, followed by cycling and time in the pool diving or swimming.

The study was conducted using data from the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System (NEISS) database. The database is managed by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and collects information on emergency room patients from 100 U.S. hospitals.  27,546 patients who sustained a neck injury during a sporting activity were identified in the database by using data analytics to sift through 50,000 specific cases.

"Cervical spine injury is a substantial cause of morbidity and mortality, and, as far as injuries go, one of the more devastating injuries that we as orthopaedic surgeons can treat," said lead study author J. Mason DePasse, MD, orthopaedic trauma surgery fellow at Brown University.

From 2000 to 2015, the study found that neck sprains increased 66% during weightlifting and aerobic exercise.  The very things we’re doing to keep us strong and healthy turn out to be a major cause of pain and debilitation.  Take those injuries into work with you, and your woes will likely be compounded.

So, what can you do to reduce your chances of sustaining exercise-related neck injuries and pain?

  • According to Harvard Health, maintaining core strength is key. "If your core muscles aren't strong, your neck and shoulder muscles will be overworked," according to Dana Kotler, instructor in physical medicine at Harvard Medical School. "Once you strengthen your core muscles, everything falls into line a little better. It has an effect similar to adding a pillow to support your back." Also, we are now learning that muscles will remember incorrect firing patterns, which create movement dysfunction patterns. This dramatically increases risk for injury - even during exercise.
  • Harvard Health also recommends creating awareness of and correcting your posture when performing any exercise to avoid neck pain and reduce your chance of injury. Checking your posture when performing particular tasks at both home and work can help, too. To be redundant, posture patterns are movement patterns too. It is actually more important to focus on increasing your posture awareness to correct movement patterns that improve your flexibility and create better muscle firing patterns than your exercising. If you are exercising incorrectly, you are inadvertently increasing your risk for soft tissue injuries, including joints. Health care professionals trained in this area are your target contacts to help you to correct posture and movement pattern dysfunctions.
  • A study conducted by Denmark's National Research Centre for the Working Environment found that using three particular strength-building exercises using weights—shoulder shrugs, upright rows and reverse flies—can reduce neck pain by 80% in less than three months, according to Prevention. The other side of the coin is that too many of these exercises that isolate muscles without looking at the whole leads to shoulder movement pattern dysfunction. Some of the problems with "exercises" is that we are looking at parts instead of the whole system: the body.
  • Lastly, each of us is aging. Whenever you engage in a sporting activity, keep in mind that your body is changing and a different approach to exercise may be required over time. But, please!  Don’t stop exercising!  Your cells are aging, too, and a recent study in Preventative Medicine concluded that high levels of physical activity help curb and even reverse cellular aging as well as sarcopenia, or muscle loss.
Professional Early Symptom Intervention

Early Symptom Intervention (ESI) & Its Benefits

What is Early Symptom Intervention, or ESI, and how can both employers and employees benefit by focusing on it?

Waiting too long to address an employee discomfort issue is no doubt a contributing reason to why organizations find themselves trying to cover missed shifts, dealing with FMLA forms, watching their employees suffer, and blowing budgets.

Whether it’s the employee’s delay or our own, the outcome is the same: pain that finally insists on being dealt with, often at great expense to all involved. Continue reading

Static Sitting and Correct Posture

To Fix Forward Head Posture, You May Need to Look at Your “Ass”ets….

My name is Kim Romaner, and I’m the blog editor for Physical Performance Solutions.  Today I’ll be interviewing CEO Lori Peacock on correcting Forward Head Posture, or FHP.

I have to admit that I’m conducting this interview on a somewhat personal basis, because many years ago I had a pretty bad car accident that left me with a bunch of neck and back issues. I also work on a computer for a great portion of my day (maybe you do, too!), and I find myself constantly correcting my posture as I realize that my shoulders have slumped forward, my chin is up and my head is back, which is absolutely the worst posture in the world for me.

I’ve read an enormous amount of material, online and off, on how to correct this, but it didn’t really work for me on a consistent basis until Lori straightened me out. 

If you or someone you know is struggling with neck and back pain, then take a read. I’m sure you’ll find it helpful.

Two Wrong Chair PosturesKim: Hi, Lori!  Thanks for taking some time to talk today.

Lori: Always a pleasure, Kim!

Kim: So, as you know, my neck hurts quite a bit due to a long-ago injury combined with my daily work habits.  I sit a lot, I use a computer constantly, I might be set up ergonomically well or not, etcetera.

Lori: Welcome to 99% of the world! They’re now saying that sitting is the new cancer; that is, cancer risk dramatically increases the more time you spend in a sitting position. This is, unfortunately, the case for many, and it’s a challenging problem to solve.

Kim: It has been for me.  The “experts” say that you need to keep your head in a neutral position.  My problem has been, I couldn’t ever really tell when my head was in a neutral position.

Lori: Most people can’t. Learning to feel what your body is doing does not come naturally to most people.  And for one person it will feel one way, and for another, a different way.  This is one of my pet peeves about reading all of the how-to’s on the Internet and watching instructional YouTube videos.  Many people learn to perform the wrong, unintended move.

Kim: So, I read online that I’m supposed to push my chin forward and back in an exaggerated way. How does that help?

Posture Appearances are Deceiving

 

 

Lori: Well…resolving a forward head posture doesn’t necessarily begin with the head.  We need to look at the whole body first.  All things being equal, and the individual does not have a skeletal challenge, such as ankylosing spondylitis, and no other “issues” that would limit reducing a forward head posture, then, when sitting at your desk, the first thing to check and possibly correct is your pelvic alignment.

 

 

Desk Posture-2 Wrongs and 1 Right

If someone is sitting with a 90-degree hip flexion angle, their pelvis is not in a neutral position, but rather more into what is commonly known as “posterior pelvic tilt.”  A seated posterior pelvic tilt mal-aligns the spine and actually increases a forward head posture.  Therefore, increasing the hip angle, by placing the knees slightly lower than your hips, without leaning back, increases the hip angle and there an individual can learn to know their “neutral pelvic” alignment.

Once the pelvis is in a position to allow for optimal spinal alignment—close to when you are standing—then you can work on your forward head position.

Now, to speak to where you read that tucking your chin is a good exercise to correct a forward head posture; well, maybe yes, maybe no.  In the clinic, most individuals do not know how to correctly perform a “chin tuck.”  They lower their chin, rather than pushing the chin back.  This is a kinesthetic type of exercise where you need to internally feel the difference between the two movements, then pick the chosen movement.

And, I repeat that what I am saying is never a blanket statement for all individuals.  The word “individual” is the key elemental word.  All of us may not be able to perform the “chin tuck” as many Internet sites explain due to past injuries or disease processes.  Remember how you told me that you have numbness in your right fingers?

Kim: Sure do.

Lori: That’s a symptom that can be worsened by overworking the neck or moving it in a particular way if the tissues are not capable of that movement at that time.  Having said that, pain in the shoulders and upper arms can also result when we don’t correct our posture and sustain these aberrant postures for long periods of time, as I know they do for you when you overuse your neck.  Remember, static postures are the worst repetitive motion!

Kim: Yeah, sitting at the computer all day is the worst!  Although I have to say bike riding for long periods can do me in, too.

Lori: Right!  Same kind of thing. We don’t want to illicit these types of symptoms while trying to solve the problem!  That’s going backwards.

Kim: I’ve heard you speak before on how “one size fits one.” I may have to find the correct position for my head using a different methodology than someone else with different issues, right?

Lori: Absolutely.  And I love to repeat myself – we are individuals with different DNA, different life experiences.  Our tissues are a direct reflection of that; therefore, what may work for someone, may not work for you.

Kim: Any tips on how someone can check for a neutral head position themselves?

Lori: One tool you can use is what I call “the poor man’s biofeedback.”  If you can, practice sitting correctly in front of a mirror to learn what a proper neutral pelvis may look on you.  From there you would follow your spine to your head.  Then observe and feel what that looks like.  There is no easy fix.  Attempting to change years of life in one week is unrealistic.  So, change your mind and begin to enjoy the process of “relearning!”

Kim: Great tip.  Never thought of checking how my pelvis is aligned to be a part of a forward head position.

Lori: Again, this is a whole body thing.  The head must sit on a stable and correct surface for it to be correct.  Someone with experience can help you get to the right position so you know how it feels in one lesson, really.

 

Enhance Your Culture of Caring for Employees

A Possible Component to Your “Culture of Caring”

A recent EHS Today article by Janice Berthold of Heffernan Insurance discusses the ways companies have reduced workers’ compensation insurance claims by demonstrating care for their employees in various ways.

It’s not difficult to argue that companies should care for the people they employ, and any attempts to demonstrate true care are to be lauded. What corporate leaders may not know is how the work their employees do every day affects them.

Does the line worker talk to her boss or her boss’ boss about the pain in her hands, or does she keep it to herself? Is she missing sleep because of that pain, endangering her own safety both at work and at home, and also while traveling between the two? Is her dire need to keep her job stopping her from taking time off to go see a doctor and care for herself, or even to visit the on-site nurse?

All those things might possibly be true, are relatively hard to discern without very candid conversations, and are therefore often dismissed instead of being pursued for resolution.

As a company leader, if you are seriously dialoguing with your employees, you may already have put in place some solutions which have been helpful, and for that, you should be congratulated. Here’s another strategy that may prove fruitful for you: it’s called “on-site pre-injury discomfort mitigation,” or, early intervention.

Through on-site delivery of expert discomfort/pain mitigation treatments consisting of advanced ergonomic assessment, movement retraining, and targeted massage therapies, employees can pause, receive personalized treatment, and return to work refreshed; hence, less physical and mental fatigue, and a better ability to focus on job tasks.

Providing employees with a regularly scheduled on-site resource that helps reduce their discomfort makes them feel cared for because they are being cared for! Employees look forward to that special day or two of the week when they know they will receive their treatment and relief.

Although it sounds costly to implement, this strategy pays for itself many times over through cost reductions related to workers’ compensation claims, and is a boon to the on-staff occupational nurse seeking innovative ways to reduce health and safety issues.

If you’d like to find out how implementing an on-site discomfort mitigation program would benefit your employees and your company, give us a call at 888-716-2777.

The Internet is Not an Expert on Your Body

When dealing with pain, it’s very tempting to turn to the ubiquitous oracle known as Google to find a solution. And there certainly is plenty of pain advice to be had on the Interwebs!

Just visit Google.com’s home page and type “pain in…” and suggested searches instantly appear: “left side,” “right arm,” “right side….” All you have to do is click and away you go to receive a plethora of interpretations, possible diagnoses, and suggestions for treating that pain.

Some of these information providers are well-known experts, such as the prestigious Mayo Clinic.  How can you argue with the Mayo Clinic, right? There are plenty of less equipped providers of advice, too, from entities whose business models are often focused on the revenue generated from the ads they serve around their health content.

Lastly, there are the forums, where everyday people dealing with pain share long stories—mostly of the horror variety—about their myriad symptoms and what each contributor has personally tried in order to treat themselves.

The problem is, even with the most experienced of these web-based sources, the people and learned professionals providing the information have never seen your body.  They have no idea of your history.  They don’t know what kind of work environment you find yourself in all day long.  They’ve never seen you move.

If you’re experiencing shoulder pain, for example, is it due to the fact that you have a job that requires repetitive motion, and that puts daily strain on your shoulder?  If that is indeed the explanation, but you’d also had a pretty bad car accident a few years ago that caused upper body injuries, do you think the treatment for you should be the same as for someone who’d never experienced such a traumatic physical event? What about if you had previously been diagnosed with arthritis?  Or played baseball on a regular basis?

The Internet doesn’t know you.  Choosing an Internet-provided solution to your pain can be not only pointless, but detrimental to your health or wallet.

For example, let’s say you’re experiencing that shoulder pain. A few websites report that you could have bursitis, tendinitis, arthritis, or even a fracture.  Well, you’re pretty sure it’s not a fracture.  You think that would hurt a lot more. So, you begin to treat yourself for inflammation, probably with ibuprofen or some other anti-inflammatory drug, and maybe you ice it.

A few things can happen.  You were right, the problem is resolved, and as long as your gastrointestinal tract has handled the drug well, the pain disappears and no ill side effects result. Hopefully, it will stay gone.

Or, you try all of that, and the pain persists.  You up the anti-inflammatory and the icing, add some heat, maybe you even stop playing baseball on Saturdays, but although the pain seems a bit more tolerable it doesn’t go away, and now you’ve got a raw stomach from all of that ibuprofen as well.

Or, despite all of your best attempts to apply all that Internet advice to yourself, the pain becomes even more intense.  You end up having to take some time off work to visit the doctor and possibly to recover from an injury that has been worsened by inappropriate treatment.

None of this Internet diagnosis and treatment advice takes into account that you are the only you in existence.

What the Internet can’t do is make a sophisticated diagnosis of your pain that includes the historical, environmental and other factors that make you a unique human being with a unique human body.

Your body deserves better.  Turn to a pain resolution specialist first instead.

Correct Movement Patterns Reduce Soft Tissue Injuries

Movement pattern changes occurs in all of us.  Whether you exercise or not, are an elite athlete or couch potato, it does not matter, all patterns of movements change.  The reasons vary greatly with every individual.

This applies at work, whether a desk job or a more physical job as in assembling, material handling or construction.  Those of us involved in medical safety often witness this:  a worker comes to the nurse's office and says, "all I did was the same lift I have done for as long as I have been on that job.  I don't know what happened.  I just know my back hurts now and I can't lean forward without back pain." A soft tissue injury has occurred, that can cost companies hundreds of thousands of dollars with even one incident.

The key to reducing this type of injury begins by watching movement patterns before a worker reports an injury.

By correcting a dysfunctional movement pattern, the worker can now perform his or her specific tasks with a decreased risk of injury.

Correcting movement patterns is a skill well known and practiced in the physical therapy realm and sports arenas. Physical therapists as well as other qualified health professionals analyze movements and movement strategies; something that they are skilled at doing.  Combining this salient skill with  treating soft tissue adhesions, whether post trauma, postsurgical or problems of insidious onset, yields extremely positive results in reducing soft tissue injury - preferably before the injury!

And reducing soft tissue injuries goes right to your company's bottom line.

 

 

Static standing has debilitating impact on the body.

Humans Are Built to Move: Effects of Static Standing OR Sitting

In the past few years, many of us have heard or read about the new “Silent Killer”: prolonged sitting. The deleterious effects of sitting are reducing quality of life by dramatically decreasing physical abilities and increasing onsets of various disease processes.

The effects of static standing

The effects of static standing or sitting can be quite deleterious.

In manufacturing, however, the opposite may be taking place: prolonged static standing.
This is a common posture in assembling, the food industry, and other labor jobs. Many assembling plants are looking to minimize footstep movement and reduce the number of times product is handled to decrease risk of physical injury from too many lifts, as well as increasing efficiency of work tasks.
The goals of decreasing worker injury while increasing efficiency, productivity, and ease of tasks are excellent in and of themselves. However, the flip side to this can be that there are now jobs that have the worker in prolonged standing postures instead.
Prolonged standing also has its negative effects on the human body and is well documented (Tu¨chsen, 2005) (Omar2, 2011). Static standing causes pooling of the blood in the lower extremities and increases muscle fatigue due to the prolonged co-contraction of muscles for erect standing. Both of these create discomfort or pain in the feet, legs, lower back, neck, shoulders and hips (Isa HALIM1, 2012). Research is also showing that prolonged standing doesn’t just mean standing still for long periods; the combination of standing and walking without ample opportunities to sit is included in the detrimental effects of static standing.
If a worker is standing the majority of the time with little movement, there are some low cost ideas to resolve some of the concerns associated with static standing (Improved Ergonomics for Standing Work -- Occupational Health & Safety, 2003):
1.) Develop an effective job rotation and maintain it.
a. When designing the rotation, the movements of the job tasks must be carefully reviewed to ensure that the jobs don’t require similar movements. For instance, one job station may require more fine motor skills of the fingers with the neck and head posture flexed. The next job station may not have the flexed neck and head posture as the task requires raised arms, yet will still require a fair amount of fine motor skills of the fingers. These two job stations may not want to be considered in a back to back rotation. The amount of time spent using fine motor skills and the amount of force required to accomplish those tasks will be key components in deciding how close together those two work stations will fit in a job rotation.
b. Consider the time a worker will spend in a work station. Many companies are trying to limit workers in a job station to one hour. This is especially for tasks where awkward postures or highly repetitive movements are involved. And, although this limited time rotation may appear to decrease the overall productivity in the assembly line, metrics needs to measured: quality of product, worker soft tissue complaints, days off from work and worker morale, are just four metrics to measure before and after.
c. Get input from employees that have actually worked the various jobs and tasks. Workers offer valuable information and insight into the nuances of tasks that can be overlooked or viewed as insignificant to those who do not perform those tasks.
2.) Delegate as much autonomy and ownership to the worker and work station as possible. For example, provide sit-to-stand stools that will allow workers to choose when to change postural positions. Adding a foot rest is also an excellent option. These ideas are not new, nor are they expensive, but are sometimes forgotten solutions.
3.) When standing or walking on concrete for entire shifts, proper shoes, insoles or floor mats are highly important. Standing/walking on hard surfaces increases muscle fatigue, which in turn can cause changes in gait and how the foot strikes the ground. Over time, various discomforts, from foot pain, ankle pain, knee, hip or back pain can result. Therefore, spending the money and effort on good shoes with proper insoles can help to offset some of these types of complaints and potential problems.
4.) Offering onsite first aid massage that is specific for restoration of tissue gliding. Most people are unaware of relatively new evidence that our tissues glide and slide over and around one another rather than stretch like rubber bands. Techniques such as first aid massage assist to restore better movement patterns and synchronicity of muscle groups.

Bibliography
Improved Ergonomics for Standing Work -- Occupational Health & Safety. (2003, April 1). Retrieved from Occupational Health and Safety: https://ohsonline.com/Articles/2003/04/Improved-Ergonomics-for-Standing-Work.aspx?p=1[11/10/2015 12:48:36 PM]
Isa HALIM1, A. R. (2012). Assessment of Muscle Fatigue Associated with Prolonged Standing in the Workplace. Safety and Health at Work, 31-42.
Omar2, I. H. (2011). A REVIEW ON HEALTH EFFECTS ASSOCIATED WITH PROLONGED STANDING IN THE INDUSTRIAL WORKPLACES . International Journal of Recent Research of Applied Sciences, 14-20.
Tu¨chsen, H. B. (2005). Prolonged Standing at Work and Hospitalization due to Varicose Veins: a 12 year prospective study of the Danish population. Occupational Environmental Medicine, 847-850.

Risk Factors for Injuries in the Workplace

Tissue Adhesions and Dysfunctional Movement Patterns Can Be Risk Factors for Injuries in the Workplace

Many institutions publish excellent guidelines on identifying risk in and around the workplace. For example, the Health and Safety Executive, a UK government organization concerned with the health and safety of Great Britain’s people at work or in the community, is one of the thousands of websites that use a digital platform to inform.

Information given out on these professionally managed websites regarding risk factors for work injury or accidents acts as a “filter.” Filtration is a process that separates the impurities, or risks, from the good of the process. So the question is: what are you trying to catch in the filter of your risk management?

For example:

The above pictures are a minute representation of postures workers assume during their work hours. Often these awkward postures either must be sustained to maintain accuracy of the work involved, or moderate force is also required in these types of positions, or workers must routinely get in and out the awkward positions throughout a work shift.

The same is also true regarding awkward postures for professional sports:

Although many of the assumed postures do not result in an instantaneous injury, the body can develop tissue adhesions that will eventually affect how tissues move and muscles behave. The end result will be stiffness, soreness, edema, discomfort, limited joint motion and tissue flexibility, and of course, pain, unless corrective measures are introduced prior to an injury.

In addition, different workers performing the same job tasks, will need to perform them differently due to their varied body types, strengths, and existing movement pattern dysfunctions. One worker is slim without difficulties in joints. The second worker is older and has been a physical worker their entire adult life. This person is carrying extra weight in the abdomen, which now increases the difficulty of squatting. Instead they must stoop over, thus dramatically increasing a risk of low back or possibly hamstring injury.

When you speak with workers on this topic, you may very well hear something like: “I don’t have any trouble moving like this. I always do and I never feel any pain.” Comments like this reveal that the worker doesn’t understand that he or she is just one more stoop away from hurting his or her low back. And, of course, it may not be at work. This scenario can play itself out in a home setting as well. The end result is an injured worker, and the time and cost now associated with finding help until they recover.

Risk Management = Proactive Movement Correction

Thanks to sports, we now know, through current research and publications in peer reviewed literature, that tissue adhesions, contusions, and other seemingly small innocuous injuries lead to movement dysfunctions: changes in how tissue moves and how voluntary muscles act (Hui Liu a 2012).

In light of this, even though a workstation has been ergonomically re-designed, a worker with muscle movement pattern dysfunctions will not “self-correct.” The body, when placed in a better posture or position will still require retraining (Peter Kent1 2015). This is conducted after going through movement screens and tissue adhesions are beginning to resolve (Richard W. Willy 2012) (Cook 2010).

This is one of the reasons why Musculoskeletal Disorders, MSDs, continue to reign high in worker’s compensation claims. Risk design is important not just for ergonomic reasons, but for movement patterns as well. This is an area that very few organizations, from industrial manufacturing companies to dental offices, assess. Specific and highly trained skills are necessary to determine what is to be filtered in the process of a risk assessment.

When we get together for a risk assessment of a work area, think of what you would like to filter.

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Works Cited

  • Cook, Grey. 2010. Movement: Functional Movement Systems: Screening Assessment and Corrective Strategies. Aptos CA: On Target Publications.
  • Hui Liu a, William E. Garrett b, Claude T. Moorman b, Bing Yu c,*. 2012. "Injury rate, mechanism, and risk factors of hamstring strain injuries in sports: A review of the literature." Journal of Sport and Health Science 92-101.
  • Peter Kent1, 2*, Robert Laird3 and Terry Haines. 2015. "The effect of changing movement and posture using motion-sensor biofeedback, versus guidelines-based care, on the clinical outcomes of people with sub-acute or chronic low back pain-a multicentre, cluster-randomised, placebo-controlled, pilot trial." BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders 2-31.
  • Richard W. Willy, PT, PhD1,*, John P. Scholz, PT, PhD2, and Irene S. Davis, PT, PhD3. 2012. "Mirror gait retraining for the treatment of patellofemoral pain in." Clin Biomech 1045–1051.