Category Archives: Product Quality Management

Yes = Yes, No = No. There is No Maybe

ACE your communication!  How to Recognize, REFINE, Resolve Colleague and Team Expectations and Communication Challenges

Lori: “Brad, can you email me that information by this Friday, so the project can be completed?” 

Brad: “I am so busy and will not be at work tomorrow.  I’ll see what I can do.”

This is a common communication exchange in everyone’s life.  Should Lori expect the information from Brad she asked for by a specific date?  Yes?  No?  Whenever we communicate answers that are ambiguous, such as, “I’ll see what I can do”, “I am not sure…”, “I think I might”, “Let me get back to you”, we are not communicating very well.  The above short examples are open ended without any definitive answer in response to the person asking the question that requires a definitive answer.

These forms of communication often lead to frustrations between co-workers, doubts of co-workers, and the typical office gossip between co-workers.  All leads to further break down of communication and work productivity.

  How can someone’s ambiguous response be properly delt with that shows respect, confidence, and  demonstrate the satisfied interdependence for that co-worker; or team?  Whether you are working in a team situation, work closely with specific colleagues, or need to collaborate with someone you do not know yet, the principle of agreed communication expectations is foundational. 

 

Agreed Communication Expectations = ACE

The concept on agreeing on expectations in communicating is not new, not a new religion, not groundbreaking for the 6 o’clock news.   Yet, this topic continues to be written about in books that are on best sellers’ listings.  There still is Dale Carnegie’s best-selling book, “How To Win Friends and Influence People”, published in 1936 with over 30 million copies sold worldwide. This book is one of the best-selling books of all time. According to Wikipedia,  it was number 19 in 2011, on Time Magazine’s list of the 100 most influential books. And there are  Dale Carnegie Communication classes now offered.  Another best-selling effective communication book, “Crucial Conversations” by Kerry Patterson, Joseph Grenny, Ron McMillan, and Al Switzler, another New York Times best seller with over 3 million copies sold.  With hordes of e-books, Kindles, Audible and the good old fashion book, combed with living in a society where technology is at our fingertips on our phones, laptops, pads, and desktops, why is communicating with each difficult?  The title of the blog, Yes = Yes, No = No is the giveaway to agreed communication expectations, or ACE.

How ACE Works

The timetable to start effectual communication is anytime: anyone can require this principle, reinforce this principle, retrace this principle in a chronology of communication with another.  Setting and agreeing on communication standards that includes updates, reminders, and to be able to speak up to another when the communication is not clear without being rejected, (as we are all subject to not stating clear thoughts!), that builds the success of communication, which, builds the productivity, respect, and admiration for one another.   Below are 2 examples of how two or more people can agree on terms of communicating without the feeling of misunderstanding or that feeling of ambiguity of whether the expectation will be met or not.

 

EXAMPLE 1

Agree that responses to requests need to be a “Yes” or “No” answer

Of course there are instances when a simple “Yes” or “No” needs to be accompanied by negotiating a different timeline, or amount of information that was requested, or some other difference where the two, or group, can agree and then rely on.  Ultimately you need to answer a “yes” with the appropriate delivery times, or “no, but I can next week, on such n such a day”.

You Cannot be “Just meat and potatoes” for responding to others

If you are the individual supplying the request, and you think you may need more time or cannot supply the entire bulk of information,  then state just that and state the reasons why.  This is where you cannot be that “Just meat and potatoes” person, meaning that short answers or quips is what you are about and that is how you communicate.  When at work, often, you do need to fill many gaps with proper reasonings to others, so they are informed of your request for change of date of requests or amount of information you can provide.   We must take into consideration that in large organizations,  the same department is also divided into silos.  Signifying that just because you have certain knowledge, another team member, or co-worker will not.  We cannot assume others have the same internal knowledge, no matter how trivial, that we have.

 

EXAMPLE 2

Repetition Builds Collaboration Confidence

I remember when matriculating for my physical therapy degree, most of the younger students would whine and complain about hearing the “same thing again”.  What they did not understand was that information repetition was building their ability to use that same information in a variety of ways.  Working situations are no different.  Ensuring that everyone is supplied and has responded to either requests, or changes of information, or changes in timelines are vital for not just the success of a specific project; it builds the success for better working relationships.    People that work well together will accomplish much more and more efficiently.

TAKE HOME                                         

Agreed

Communication

Expectations

ACE your communications!

How Solid are Your Clinic’s Consent Forms?

Our society is more than full of forms: application forms, loan forms, insurance forms, and the beloved, consent form.  We are so inundated with forms, almost daily, we become somewhat numb, or the level of automaticity raises to the point we do not carefully read what we sign. 

The other facet to a consent form, is the development of a form.  This short blog will refer to consent forms for mainly outpatient physical therapy clinics.  With growing regulations at the state and Federal levels, growing methods to offer, and growing patients, a consent form is a foundational piece to any clinic.

What Should a Consent Form Contain?

Most clinics prefer to keep a consent form as simple as possible, yet, in the wake of our recent and continuing challenges of the invisible beast, outpatient clinics now have additional opportunities to offer patients.  All, in my view, should be explained, disclosed, and signed by each patient, with a copy handed to them for their own records.

Basic Material in a Consent Form

  •  HIPAA Privacy Acknowledgement

o   Includes who and who not to divulge medical history to

o   Some clinics prefer for HIPAA statement to be separate

  • Clinic policies of treatments that maybe used

o   Should always state patient have right to refuse

  • Risks and benefits of treatments
  • Attendance policy
  • Places for date, time, and signature of patient or legal guardian signature

Additional Items in Consent Forms

Therapy clinics are now adding a “release of liability”, “hold harmless”, in the consent forms.  In a search of forms that are online at many physical therapy clinics, the liability waiver is increasing as compared to consent forms 5 years ago.

Also added to consent forms, or are additional consents for electro stimulation, traction, or other modalities.  Some clinics create a completely different form to sign, as not all patients will utilize that modality.

The topic of interest today is the telehealth consent.  This is a new and upcoming form in the utilization of outpatient physical therapy and deserves some small comments.  Such questions as; can you use Apple Iphone Face Time or Duolink as a telehealth method?  As both ends are strongly encrypted, so far these forms of “telehealth” are allowable.  Maybe not so in the future.  The caveat to any telehealth visit, is the consent and understanding that the patient at home allows and understands that if he/she does not live alone, the medical conversation may be overheard and seen.  It the patient wishes for the telehealth conference to be private they must ensure that on their end.  The conversation should be recorded, and consent must be attained in the consent form and at the beginning of the call.  This protects both parties.  As this technology is new, with many many grey areas still to be configured, voice recording important; and, if the clinic is using a telehealth 3rd party company, the entire recording of voice and video can be captured.

Take Home Points?

  • Semi-annually review all types of patient forms.
  • Apply telehealth to the consent form, even if the use of an Iphone would be utilized.
  • Obtain consents for recording conversations, even with just a follow up phone call.
  • Strongly consider the Liability Waiver addition.  Sometimes it is important that patients understand they are the more active person in the therapy duo.  The feedback of the patient in every exercise, modality is important.  If the patient is not successful, neither will your business.
  • Begin to look for that 3rd party telehealth system that fits into your budget.   Many clinics visualize the need, but to actively use it is another.
  • Strongly consider the patient signing a consent and liability waiver each visit.   This is important as patient’s values, ideologies, and expectations changes.  Having them sign the form with each visit again rolls back to the statement that it is the patient who is the more active person in the therapy duo.  This serves as a strong reminder.

Forms are the foundation to a strong business model.  Do NOT throw money away.

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

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.
Job Rotation Food Processing

5 Mistakes You’re Making in Job Rotation

Job Rotation Food ProcessingAn employee comes to you and says that’s he’s hurting. In this case, it’s his shoulders.  So, you look down the line for a workstation requiring a different activity, and you plan a regular job rotation with the person running that station on his same shift.  With gratitude, the employee goes back to work.

Four days later, the employee calls in sick.  His shoulders hurt too badly to work, he says.  He says his doctor wants him off the job for two weeks. Two weeks go by, and ultimately he doesn’t ever come back.  You’re surprised by this.  You did what you thought would solve the problem.  What happened?

This is a regular occurrence in manufacturing job rotation, and there are five common mistakes made in designing a job rotation program that, if avoided, will actually set you on the path to establishing an assertive injury prevention program.

Mistake #1: Not including movement training.  Nothing would get done without humans moving.  But are they moving the right way?  Work has two parts: the tasks to be done and a method for doing them.  Each task can be performed in such a way to minimize the risk of causing personal discomfort and injury.  Do you know the best way to physically approach each task that a worker will perform each day, over and over? It’s not relying solely on the use of correct angles, which is common in ergonomics.  That’s just a start. Using technology such as sEMG, it is possible to see how an individual’s approach to the work is causing him or her discomfort, and how to modify the approach to reduce or completely eliminate that discomfort.  More importantly, sEMG shows aberrant muscle firing patterns and different types of muscle fatigue.  Individuals most often can’t perceive this in themselves; therefore, identifying the patterns prior to an injury and prior to a complaint can dramatically decrease risk for musculoskeletal injuries.  Health professionals highly skilled in  movement retraining  can then train individuals on optimal movement patterns for them that will avoid musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) and injury.

Mistake #2: Not designing a specific stretching/dynamic movement program for each workstation.  A generic stretching program is a good start, but if different movements are required at different workstations, specific stretches geared to those movements will provide the most benefit.  For example, a welder may just need to stand up straight and perform forearm stretches between units to relieve upper body stress or have a high stool to sit on for a minute to relieve low back pain, or both.  Workers need to be taught these specific stretches and countering movements along with the task at hand when they are rotated into a new position.  Employees leading the stretch programs should have additional education on the general whys, hows, a developing critical eye, and an attitude of engaging employees that half-heartedly participate or do not participate.  This type of engagement will assist the program to become better.

Mistake #3: Not breaking tasks down into their minimal components and addressing each.  The task may be a grip and cut in food processing, for example, but there’s also a repetitive reach to get the next piece of work.  Are all of these movements considered when planning job rotation?  Analyzing time exposure, static positions, the number of repetitions, and stress angles on joints required by the work at each station are just some of the factors that should be considered in a quality job rotation program.

Mistake #4: Not proactively responding to complaints.  If the lines of communication are open and broad between workers and management, the first hints of discomfort will be revealed.  This is an opportunity to proactively address them.  First aid massage, Kinesio Taping, and movement retraining, review and correction are just some of the tools that can be used to diminish the risk and return the worker to a better physical ability.

Mistake #5:  Rotating employees to workstations with similar versus completely diverse movements.  Do both stations require using the upper extremities in similar ways?  Constant gripping or twisting or reaching and lifting, for example?  How is the back being used at each workstation? Is repetitive twisting involved?  Reaching down and pulling?  If you can switch an employee to a station where none of the same movements are required you’ll get the best results.  Even the order in which the rotation happens can have an impact.

Job rotation in a production environment is an art, but it can produce amazing results if done in concert with a highly trained production movement specialist.  If you’d like a free and confidential consult on an area of concern in your own company, please give us a call at 803-716-9167.