Category Archives: Employee Engagement

Assess Your Posture: How your posture reveals your emotions and more

 

Most of us can hear the echoing voices in our minds of our mothers and grandmothers,  “sit up straight”, “stand up straight”.  They were right.    The collection of data, we call research, begins to tell a story behind what our grandmothers said regarding posture.  As psychology and human factors continue the climb ladders of research and understanding, postures convey more than a good or bad habit.  Postures reveal your emotions, perceptions of yourself, and certainly, how others perceive you.

Posture helps good or negative memory recall

Research: a learning curve that helps to shape how we think, do, and act.  Research is a type of cell phone, many individuals rely heavily upon it, and would be in a quandary without it.   History of mankind continually exposes that the peoples of the world had considerable amounts of knowledge about many things; there was no research to substantiate it.  We now rely on great historians to support the knowledge of the past.   Much of human knowledge can be considered “common sense”:  do not walk and then stop in front a fast-moving vehicle if you want to live.  Much of human knowledge also has varied parameters of opinions and conjectures, creating confusion in decision making for some.  In the case of posture and different memory recalls, research does affirm erect posture will elicit better memory recall of good memories in contrast to slouching posture will recall a higher percentage of depressing memories (Erik Peper, PhD, BCB, et al., 2017).   Many of us, when we stop and think, can relate times of trouble, we might remember slouching, almost an attempt to hide our faces.  When assuming that posture, those unhappy and troublesome memories are easier to recall.

                TAKE HOME POINT

When experiencing troubling times, sit up and stand up erect.  Use your memory to facilitate positive changes that are often required when traveling through those valleys.

5 Postures, 5 Emotions

A very interesting study conducted by a group of researchers at Psychological Sciences, University of California, Merced, CA, USA, (Eric A. Walle, et al., 2017) used actors to portray 5 emotions: joy, sadness, fear, anger, and disgust.   An interesting point is the study used photoshop to remove the actors’ heads and changed all photos into the same grey color as to remove as much outside influence.  The focus was to only view the body, without the facial expression, as facial expressions, in past research reveal inconsistencies (Allison Winters, 2005).  Anger, fear, and disgust were the most often chosen, 79%, correctly by the participants that viewed the photos.  Joy and sadness had variations yet were considered to still have statistical significance.

 

Postures do display our internal emotional state, without looking at the face.  I venture to say most of us have watched people moving about and we automatically perceive something about that person.

TAKE HOME POINT

There is always someone watching you.  If you are planning an interview, an important meeting with the organization’s decision makers, a first date, your posture is talking when your lips may not be moving.

First impressions are your posture.

Postures in the Form of Exercise Movements

Yoga, Tai Chi, Qigong have a common thread: static and dynamic postures that are specific in length of time a posture is held, the sequencing of the posture, and the movement that takes place shifting from one posture to another.  As a physical therapist and provider for employee injury prevention, these forms of “exercise”, are remarkably familiar.   The fourth common thread that yoga, tai chi, and qigong have, as compared to exercise equipment, is the mindfulness that is integrated into these forms of exercise.  History shows that these types of body and mind exercise movements are to bring the body and mind together to create a harmony of the two.  Harmony brings on homeostasis, which, in turn, allows a calm emotional state of being, safety, and facilitates physical healing. American western thinking wrestles with this concept from gyms to medicine: the body and mind are separate, even though the human body and mind are one (Budiman Minasny, 2009).  Body work therapists are very familiar with this concept as emotions from the past are often elicited when performing bodywork on a client (Bruno Bordoni1, et al., 2014).

 

Salient to these types of mind-body exercise, is the relaxation response created.  Fascia, a large organ that is the holding matrix in the body is only just beginning to surface with research that correlates and upholds the mind and body as one.

 

“The number of receptors in the fascia far outnumber those in the muscle and around the joint [55,56]. Within these mechanoreceptors, the majority of input comes from the interstitial receptors that are intimately connected to the autonomic nervous system. Stimulation of these intrafascial mechanoreceptors leads to an altered proprioceptive input to the central nervous system, which then results in a changed tonus regulation of motor units associated with this tissue. The result is relaxed, freer moving and more pliable tissue.”

Meditative Movement, Energetic, and Physical Analyses of Three Qigong Exercises: Unification of Eastern and Western Mechanistic Exercise Theory

Penelope Klein 1,*, George Picard 1,2, Joseph Baumgarden 1 and Roger Schneider 2

 

Also, in conjunction with how fascia behaves and is directly linked to the central nervous system is how this tissue, when moved properly reduces inflammatory responses and assists with DNA repair, (Penelope Kline, et al., 2017).   New theoretical models of how the mind and body are connected are a frontier for physical, emotional, and healing capabilities of the human body.

            TAKE HOME POINT

  • Emotions directly affect your posture
  • Practicing mind-body exercises evokes the body’s relaxation response that facilitates stable emotions, allows for the body for physical healing, and increases physical stature and abilities

 

What has this to do with Safety in the Workplace?

 

Postures can certainly reveal our emotions internally.  If we can allow ourselves to learn, recognize, then change, our emotional stability will preserve us from accidents at work, home, or sport.  Changing your posture via some of the topics discussed, will also have a direct affect on your peers at work and family, not to mention your emotional stability and well-being.

 

Well-being ranks high in organizational surveys.  Most of us, in our American culture, are facing exceedingly more stressful situations, out of our control.  In the workplace, it is important for our emotions to be stable; not the yo-yo, the ups and downs, from a look, a word, added assignments, we are now thinking this is our new normal.  No, it is not your new normal.  How we change by being proactive will change us and others in a positive manner.

References

Allison Winters, M. (2005). Perceptions of Body Posture and Emotion: A Question of Methodology. The New School Psychology Bulletin, Volume 3, No. 2,.

Bruno Bordoni1, et al. (2014). Skin, fascias, and scars: symptoms and systemic connections. Journal of Multidisciplinary Healthcare, 2014:7 11–24.

Budiman Minasny, P. (2009). Understand the Process of Fascial Unwinding. INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF THERAPEUTIC MASSAGE AND BODYWORK, VOLUME 2, NUMBER 3,.

Eric A. Walle, et al. (2017). Postural Communication of Emotion: Perception of Distinct Poses of Five Discrete Emotions. Frontiers in Psychology, 0.3389/fpsyg.2017.00710.

Erik Peper, PhD, BCB, et al. (2017). How Posture Affects Memory Recall and Mood. Biofeedback, Volume 45, Issue 2, pp. 36–41.

Penelope Kline, et al. (2017). Meditative Movement, Energetic, and Physical Analyses of Three Qigong Exercises: Unification of the Eastern and Western Mechanistic Exercise Theory. Medicines, 4, 69; doi:10.3390.

 

Surface Electromyography: the AI to transform optimal movement and worker injury prevention!

Surface electromyography, Semg, has been in existence for a number of years. It is recently now gained attention and respect of many professional sports teams, college teams and others that wish to hone in on why they are moving they way they do.  Abnormal movement can be created by a host of issues that most often are not occurring at the location where your pain or weakness is experienced.  Using Semg can determine muscle firing patterns and aberrant firing patterns that you are not aware of.  Here is an example of someone that works in packing for export, and moves 75 lbs of 4’ x 8’ pieces of plywood several times a day.  NIOSH would probably look down on that, however, this is the reality of many industries that export via trucks, and shipping containers.  This is a fact of life, yet, if one can move better, than less risk of soft tissue break down and injury will occur.  AND, the worker’s physical abilities will remain strong as they age.

By simply using a different and effective techniques, this worker will not have to use as many of his muscle firing capability, thereby, his fatigue rate will lessen dramatically in addition to the aforementioned reduction of several risk factors that are common in physical industries.

And the wonderful aspect of using Semg is that there is no limit on what can be found that the human eye, camera, ergo assessments will never pick up. 

WHAT IS THE SIGNIFICANCE OF CHANGES?


Below we determined the percentage of decreased muscle activity from simply changing how the worker moves the awkward plywood.  The percentages are outstandingly wonderful for the worker.

Every sensor demonstrated a dramatic improvement via less muscle activation to perform the same job, just a different way.

Call us at 803-275-7675 to have us help you create a safer work environment!

https://www.physicalperformancesolutions.com

Beginning the journey to move at your desk every 15 minutes means quality and pain free!

Remote working from home: Posture, Ergonomics, Exercises: a series on more choices when you are at home SERIES 2 : YOU CAN EXERCISE WHILE WORKING AT YOUR DESK

SERIES 2 :  YOU CAN EXERCISE WHILE WORKING AT YOUR DESK

To recap the first series on working from home, we focused on the chair.  If the equipment you will be using for extended periods of time doesn’t fit, you will be sore, achy and miserable.  And, this is not the goal.  Monitoring height and placement of a keyboard and mouse are as important; that will be in another series.  So, we must think, humans are meant to move and not be sedentary.  The voluminous amounts of research that reports the deleterious affects metabolically, physically and emotionally are almost scary to think of what we are doing to ourselves.  There is no one to blame but yourself.  If you are reading this, then the likely hood that you desire changes that can fit into a hectic lifestyle that you may not have the ability to control well are high.   This short paper is only to begin to introduce to you the idea, developing the commitment and carry through, as many of us want the change, but never seem to get there.  So, the concepts you will learn are:

  • You never arrive nor attain – you are always in a state of arriving and changing. 
  • Routine is in the commitment of daily.  Yes, daily.  No days off to speak of.
  • Moldability is the ability to adapt to time, internal awareness of yourself, (physically and emotionally), and change what you do and how you do it that day.
  • Your imagination is your own limitation.  Learn to build from concepts about yourself, your capabilities to build a tool box with the learning you might garner here.
  • True honesty about yourself.  Only you know about you.  And, most of the time, it takes a life time learn about ourselves – the reason why human factors is such a difficult area.  We don’t know ourselves like we think we do.

THE 15 MINUTE OR LESS RULE

Our company performs a lot of surface electromyography (Semg) on employees and clients.  Why?  This information allows us to visually see how the muscle that the sensor is on is working.  Years of research now shows that muscles fatigue rate can be faster or they can mis-fire secondary to a multitude of reasons.  What is consistent in 99% of people we use Semg on is that the muscle show patterns of fatigue well before the person is even slightly aware of any fatigue, soreness, stiffness, or other physical symptom.  Our data shows that muscles begin to show changes around the 13 minute mark of static positions, repetitive motions, or heavy lifting.   The question now becomes whether the fatigue is good or not good.   This requires the professional to understand how to read and interpret the findings.  In our case here for the person that spends many hours at a computer,  upper trapezius and spinal erector muscles fatigue quickly.  More so in women than men.  Forearm extensor muscles also fatigue prior to 15 minutes from use of the keyboard and mouse.  PPS has not tested, but the data is out there that the gluteal muscles we sit on for such long periods of time begin to lose their speed of firing.  Yes, the gluteal muscles work because we are standing and walking, but at a slower rate and not as many muscle fibers fire.  This now adds to the complexity of why so many people have joint and tissue problems.  Other muscles must take up the slack that other muscles are not performing.   Mind you, all of this is taking place and you are not aware of it.  It is something that you don’t feel, until so many changes have taken place, joint problems, pain patterns set in. 

What Happens Every 15 Minutes?

You must find a timer that will reset every 15 minutes.  When the timer goes off, you will change your posture, and perform one exercise and one stretch.  It will be in the developing of this repertoire that will make you successful.  The success will come in various positive adjustments:

  • You are now consistently consistent with the 15 minute protocol.
  • Instead of noticing that right upper trap trigger point at 2 hours, you don’t notice it until later in the day, followed by not at all!
  • Your stamina is increasing, which, means you are increasing in strength.
  • You may not be as irritable, because now you are accomplishing much more than the work you are employed to do, but at the same time, you are exercising, a commodity that is a necessity not a novelty. And the quality of work produced is better, because you are better focused on work than that tight low back or sore lateral elbow.
  • Interacting with the family is not a chore now.
  • This list is endless.

STRETCHES

We are not rubber bands, rather an intricate closed loop system that interacts and makes adjustments 24 hours a day.

You know, we are not rubber bands and don’t “stretch” like we think. Yes, there are many elastic components in our body; none the less we are not rubber bands.   Our tissues actually slide, glide, through and around each other that creates the movement.  And our tissues are very well connected, like a forest of spider webs after a light misty rain.  When you “stretch” you are encouraging tissue gliding to its fullest capacity.  In the beginning, stretching is often frustrating, because we are now very aware of how tight and adhesed our tissues have become.  Using the 15 minute rule, you will see changes quicker.    THE MOST IMPORTANT RULE WITH ANY STRETCH IS THE QUALITY OF THE MOVE AND ALWAYS TO NO PAIN! 

Quality ensures the optimal movement and the NO PAIN says you are not being aggressive, which, can damage tissues  you are attempting to become more flexible and strong.

EXERCISES

Any exercise holds the same truth:  Quality not quantity and to NO PAIN.   Exercises serves many purposes:

  1. Build strength
  2. Build stamina
  3. To optimize movement patterns

The number 3.) is where you will be taking your best guess, as there is no professional to watch, guide, and teach you the correct movement from the wrong movement. This is a kinesthetic exercise as well. You must think about the movement: how does it feel, and where? Is one side easier than the other? And watching YouTube may not give you the answer, because you are not that person you are watching.  You have a different life history, different medical or physical abilities or challenges, and certain different tissue adhesions.  So, here we will make the beginning easy and have more writing on what is and is not the way to perform an exercise.   And do not hesitate to contact us so we can help through video conferencing.

FOREARMS / UPPER TRAPEZIUS / NECK

How often we take for granted a part of our body until we cringe at the thought of picking up something small.  Much of the time it is due to the forearm tissues being so adhesed that the smallest of function required causes pain.

This is especially useful for that nagging “knot” at either side of the base of your neck.

When stretching, you can use them as a slow movement or hold for 5 – 10 seconds. Holding a stretch for longer periods of time, slows down the speed of the muscle firing ability for a while. Not a bad thing after a work out. But during the day, using these as slow movements helps to restore normal firing patterns in addition to the all important tissue gliding.

LOWER EXTREMITY

Make sure you do hold onto something. You will gain better benefit and not have to cheat which dramatically lessens the desired affect. Performing in standing also helps to stretch out the front hip flexors that become so very tight when sitting.
This is an overall “go to” for your back, trunk, shoulders, upper extremity! In this picture the model’s back is slightly rounded. That is an option. Another option is to maintain as straight of a spine and bend (flex) from the hips only. This feels Great! And is wonderful for increasing range of motion of shoulders, thoracic extension and relieves pressure of low back.
Here is learning to perform a better quality squat. Because most individuals lose range of motion in their hips, the low back must now become more mobile. And, the lumbar spine a a stability joint even though it has many moving joints! So, here begin with your arms not as high as seen in the picture. Do not plop onto the chair, but very lightly and slowly feel the material of your clothing touch the chair. Upon rising you must squeeze your glutes hard, for those are the muscles that truly allow you stand. Not so much your quads and spinal erectors that so many of us have now habitually learned and cannot tell what muscles we are using. This paper is designed not only to get you moving at your desk, but to educate you as well, so now you will know why certain focal points and methods are fundatmental.

This should suffice for now as you begin this new journey! Please contact us and let us know you are doing and any questions we can address in later postings!
info@physicalperformancesolutions.com
Business Cell: 803-275-7675

Remote working from home: Posture, Ergonomics, Exercises: a series on more choices when you are at home

SERIES ONE:  YOUR CHAIR IS THE FOUNDATION FOR A BETTER POSTURE

The ability to change your posture yet maintain a good posture when working at a computer for extended time periods is like good real estate:  location, location, location!  Without going into extreme details, good and changing postures maintain optimal joint alignment, uses various muscle groups for sustaining of different postures, that ultimately reduce those nasty trigger points on either side of the base of your neck, low back stiffness, and other stiff joints.  Most often we sit in chairs at work, that have rollers on them, side arms, and some handle mechanisms to change the height or tilt of the chair.  And if the chair you use does not help you when at work, your physical complaints begin to over ride your ability to focus on tasks at hand.  In many organizations, you may not have a choice of the chair that is good for you.  Now that you may be working from home, your choices and adaptations expand immensely.   For an example:  at work you would like to sit on an exercise ball, but the company policy is no exercises balls to be used as chairs secondary to liability reasons.  At home, you can certainly use an exercise ball as a choice. 

Lets begin with the “I don’t have a chair with wheels, and that would certainly be nice to have.”  Find one or two chairs, that will fit several postural changes and attach furniture sliders on the legs by attaching them with sticky backed Velcro.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is sliders-300x225.jpg
Furniture sliders work well on carpet and are easily attached to legs of most chairs.

   This way the sliders are easily removed.  Placing sliders on the legs allows to push the chair around without too much friction and resistance.  If your home office space is hardwood or tile, use the thick felt pads and attach them in the same manner with Velcro. 

At home, you can make most chairs fit for changing your posture frequently, thereby reducing over fatigue of postural muscles.  The key component is when changing your posture, work in a stretch or a 15 second exercise.  All which helps to “reset” muscle firing patterns and to normalize postural muscle firing rates. 

So, you have picked out a few chairs.  The next step is to figure out which one or two will work better for you.  The chair is a piece of equipment that can determine your pelvic position.  This is important to determine optimal pelvic alignment first.

GOLD:  The Position of Your Pelvis is the Foundation to How the Rest of You Aligns!

I wrote a piece before about good posture in sitting, and, I think redundancy builds in the habit; so let’s review how pelvic alignment really aligns the remainder of your spine that includes your head.  Your pelvis, made up of 3 bones on the left and right side of your body connect to your sacrum, the triangular bone at the base of your lumbar spine.  All together these bones form a bowl shape.  Your hips are also apart of the pelvis.  The red circle surrounds this pelvic region.  The picture to the right shows the person in what is called a “posterior pelvic tilt”.  Nothing wrong with that, but this tilt of the pelvis is actually dictating how the spinal bones will align traveling to the head.  This posture creates a domino affect to the rest of your torso, including your shoulders.  And, with prolonged static postures, as is common in computer tasks, the muscles associated with posture begin to behave abnormally, that you cannot detect.  By the time you detect muscle soreness, fatigue, headaches, or joint stiffness, this abnormal muscle firing and firing patterns have been going on inside of you for a long time. 

Current ergonomic postulates state that the hips and knees should be at a 90 degree angle for proper sitting postures at seated work stations.  Yet when hips are flexed at 90 degrees, the pelvis is more apt to be in a posterior position.  The many individuals will correct by increasing the pelvic tilt to an anterior tilt that increases lower lumbar disc pressure.  All of this information, still very basic, may appear to be too detailed, yet it is in the understanding of your position, that will empower you to do and correct properly.

The picture to the left has the hips in more of a 100 degree angle, which, is good.  Now begin to look up the spine: The red line shows the true plumb line.  So, in this picture, the person is leaning back slightly, which increases shear force on the sacrum, increases a forward head and rounded shoulder posture.  I would not use this picture as a good visual for seated posture.     

Learning from Visuals

Since most of us have difficulty “feeling” where our body’s are in space and understanding and feeling a correct manner verses what we are used to doing, (usually not correct),  and if there is no professional to truly help you to discern and self correct, then good visuals are another method.  Since this paper is to talk solely on the chair, the above are pictures that can help you to learn an optimal posture that you can sustain.  Let me repeat here again that sustain static positions are the worst repetitive motion, therefore sitting for long periods of time at a work station, say, longer than 15 minutes, reeks havoc not only on the musculoskeletal system, but metabolically as well.  Use some of the short visual basics as choosing and using a chair to your greatest advantage!

If you ever have any questions, feel free to reach out to us!

info@physicalperformancesolutions.com

PH: 803-275-7675

Getting Beyond Low Hanging Fruit

How Accountable is Your Organization?

Employee health and safety professionals understand the importance of safety in the workplace.  They know that safety comes in all shapes and sizes.  Yet, when bad decisions are made by management regarding safe procedures such as lock out tag out, what are some of the possible outcomes? Well, this:

OSHA case study: How some companies still flout safety to gain economic advantage

In this OSHA case study, luckily there were no severe injuries.  But what was just as detrimental was the non-verbal but loud and clear message to the employees: “We don’t really care about you.  It’s about how fast the product can be produced!”

Robotics assist in many ways.  One way is to reduce possible awkward positions and sustained awkward positions of employees. When dangerous short cuts are imposed like the one outlined in the OSHA case study— allowing employees to climb into the robotics cage with the robot still moving—what else is an employee to think?

Couple the OSHA case study with this one, posted in the same timeframe in EHS Today:

SLC 2018: Engaging the Workforce Is a Key to Health & Safety Excellence

In this article, Dr. Fulwiher makes excellent points and suggestions.  Our take home, since this is what our organization tends to witness, is this statement of Dr. Fulwiher’s:

This requires a transformation in the leadership of the organization, be it a for- profit or nonprofit, understanding the need to become more transformational and less transactional.” 

This is very true, as most top executives and middle managers are truly only focused on the output in the long run.

People DO NOT CARE how much you know
until they know HOW MUCH YOU CARE

So many articles continue to revolve around this mantra.  And it is true, isn’t it?  So, what can supervisors, employees, and middle managers do to demonstrate this at work and also outside of work?

  • Take an extra 45 seconds to dialogue with any colleague, co-worker, and more importantly, someone you do not know well.
  • When conversing, look them in the eye and notice the color of their eyes. Most of us don’t look at those we’re talking with in the eye.
  • You can smile when talking.  Even if the conversation is a critical point, smiling shows that you do care, and also places the other more at ease.

We should not need classes on this. However it appears that  we do, since there are books, audio tapes, seminars and lectures that all focus on how to become more attentive, genuine, and accountable.

Accountability Starts at Every Level—
in Your Organization and in Your Community

We hear, read, and experience for ourselves the disappointment and frustration when someone is not accountable for something they said or something they said they would do.  We know what it feels like, and we would love the unaccountable people in our lives to become accountable.  Unfortunately, it’s beyond our power to change someone else.

Therefore, the only way to experience change is to change ourselves.  This is what life is about: change.  How can we become our highest selves,  and how can we truly begin to treat others the way we would like to be treated?  Here’s a way to begin in your professional life:

When at work, be accountable.  What does this really mean?  Your “yes” is “yes” and your “no” is “no.”

In a meeting, if you are asked to participate in a project, or asked to assist someone with something small in their project, don’t say, “I’ll see what I can do.”  Either say “yes, I will,” and give them the date by which you’ll provide the information, or say “I can’t,” and provide a reason why.  This is where your accountability starts.  Becoming more direct, detailed and authentic will yield better outcomes in all of your interactions, whether with your supervisor, peers or employees.

As a role model of accountability, you can then begin to challenge your co-workers and colleagues in this area, as well as coach those you supervise to adopt this revolutionary mindset and value.

 

Employee Morning Stretch Program

Why Your Morning Stretch Programs May Be Waning

Employee Morning Stretch Program
Many organizations have some type of morning stretch program prior to the work day.  They are often led by employees volunteering to lead the program.   We consistently observe at various companies that many employees do not participate in the program.  When asked why, the reasons are varied and some examples are:

  • “Stretching isn’t for me.”
  • “I don’t like it.”
  • “I do this at home.”

Such generalized statements led us to think:  Why?  We gathered some of these employees and asked them if they would help us in finding answers.  What we determined is that many employees do not participate because:

  • They know their range of motion is very limited and they’re embarrassed;
  • They’re overweight and consequently cannot perform the stretches, and again are embarrassed, or
  • They think that stretching will re-aggravate prior surgeries or injuries.

Morning stretch programs should be designed specifically for these individuals, but are not.  Allowing the morning stretch program to falter and die is a disservice to the employee.

Organizational managers and top executives can’t be focused on output and EBITDA alone.  Remember, it’s the assembling employee that IS your means to achieve your output.   If the employees are not educated and motivated to increase their physical abilities, the output will be continued accidents, inconsistent quality, longer output times and employee injuries.

If your stretching program is going through a similar decline, rather than scrapping the program welcome wellness companies in to revamp, teach, educate and motivate and continue to evolve the program.  Stretching—proper, individualized stretching—requires professional education and in-person guidance.

Targeting the audience of employees that are very reluctant and may need this the most in order to prevent soft tissue injuries at work or outside of work takes a gentle touch, the right stretches, and a cheerleader’s loving enthusiasm to get them to stay the course.

The benefits of treating musculoskeletal discomfort before it becomes injury.

The Benefits of Reducing Musculoskeletal Disorders (MSDs) Through Better Movements, Postures and Tools

The Benefits of Treating musculoskeletal discomfort before it becomes injury.
Let’s be realistic: many organizations’ production/manufacturing processes and equipment will not be changing to “fit” the worker any time soon. And even if they were, workers will still become injured. Why? Soft tissue adhesions will continue to happen due to work station alignments that can’t be customized to individual workers. MSDs will result in individuals due to historical injuries that are difficult to record, track or know about. “Proactive” ergonomic changes such as reducing steps or reducing how many times someone handles materials can inadvertently cause other worker injury risks. For example, changing the work requirement from walking to static standing can be absolutely debilitating.

What’s left out of so many employee health and safety or ergonomic programs is a a focus on the individual. A blanket ergonomic program can correct many problems, but ultimately one size fits one. A proactive program to analyze and correct poor movements for individuals as well as overall has many benefits.

Such as:

  • Focusing on and correcting poor movements ultimately reduces costs. By proactively preventing and reducing MSDs, companies save approximately $1 out of every $3 in workers’ compensation costs. By continuing to focus on and correcting poor movements everywhere in the company and reducing the MSDs, indirect costs also go down, which can be up to 20 times the cost of one reported injury. If an average cost of an MSD episode without surgery costs $12,000.00, indirect costs will be dramatically higher!
  • Correct human movements boost productivity. Posture and movement solutions improve productivity by reducing muscle fatigue, especially towards the latter half of the work day. Optimal movement patterns need less muscle exertion, resulting in better efficiency of movement and a better quality product produced.
  • To emphasize, correct human movements improve product quality. Non-efficient movements lead to fatigued workers. This creates two issues: 1), increased risk for an injury due to lack of concentration, and 2), decreased quality of product made. The latter now delves into indirect costs rising.
  • Proactive programs to resolve movement-related discomforts create better employee/employer relations. Employees do notice when their employer takes action to foster their health and safety. And they certainly know when they feel better! And feeling better directly as a result of an employer-sponsored, employee-centric program builds a sense of satisfaction, loyalty and commitment of the company as a whole to build better products and to stay happily engaged in the process. Less employee turnover means less dollars spent on the hiring process and re-training. Less job-related fatigue and discomfort means less time away from work, less shifts that have to be covered, less disruption overall.
  • Early symptom intervention programs cultivate better safety practices. Safety is obviously a core value these days. As proactive care programs permeate a company’s culture, they increase all employees’ education on health and safety, demonstrate the value the company places on its employees, and improve employee self-esteem. It’s not the product or your customers that is your most important asset. It’s your employees. And caring for them in this way has an exceptional ROI.
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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Control-Define-Measure-Analyze-Improve

Inconsistent with the Application of Your Processes?

CONSISTENT APPLICATION OF YOUR COMPANY PROCESSES WILL LOWER RISK OF WORKER INJURY

We use the word “consistent” a lot. It’s an adjective that can describe attributes in humans, animals, machinery, work tasks, decisions, and so on.
In general, businesses strive to be more consistent: with tasks, communication, routines, and the use of company processes. Sometimes, however, we don’t realize how the inconsistent use of those processes is actually increasing the risk for a worker injury, soft tissue injury, or work accident. Any of these outcomes obviously hamper productivity and increase costs in multiple areas. That’s not at all what we hoped to achieve with our processes!
Here’s an example: you’re in a hurry, pressured to complete a job. You’ve made a decision to change out a drill on a workstation. Harmless, you think. The workers know how to use all types of drills. So, to speed things along, you opt not to consult with the ergonomics team so they can ascertain how the new drill will impact that work station ergonomically, even though you know you’re supposed to. The whole process will take too long, and this drill is necessary at this work station immediately. One week after making that decision, a worker sustains a low back injury from using that new drill. The awkward posture and torque value with the body in such an awkward position created a lumbar strain, causing the worker to lose days from work.
The financial costs? Take a look at this table and run a quick mental calculation:

The costs of Inconsistently applied processes

Expensive! No?
In any facet of life, consistent action yields consistent results.
In business, the performance of a process allows us to know if the process itself is working or not. Consistency in performing or following processes or standards allows for the measurement of the efficacy of those processes. Are they working as planned? If they’re not, the steps are ordered enough to locate mistakes and correct them. Without order and follow up observation of the performance of the ordered steps, chaos and speculation result, without a solid determination and direction toward improving outcomes.
Another important aspect of disciplining ourselves to be consistent in a work process is that it develops a type of responsibility. “Accountability,” the new buzz word, is really taking the responsibility to do those things that seem mundane. Sometimes these are such small things that we fall into the pit of thinking they couldn’t possibly matter in the long run. When too many individuals have convinced themselves to take that approach (unbeknownst to each other), multiple problems arise in the very process that was designed to assist us in identifying problems and solving them.
Anything worthwhile takes time and self-discipline. Many processes can appear to take too long, or to hamper productivity or work flow. However, Lean programs and Six Sigma show time after time that when the process is followed, results are more reliable, and answers can come faster. From the overall vision and mission of a company down to the simple tasks in a production line, all come together. Happy end users, happy employees. It’s a win-win proposition. So, the next time you’re tempted to skip a step in a process, think again. It has a bigger impact than you know.

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.