Category Archives: Worker’s Compensation

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

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.

Reducing Workers’ Comp Claims: A Radio Interview

Mike Switzer of the SC Business Review interviews Lori Peacock, CEO of Physical Performance Solutions, on the often overlooked and unique contributors to employee discomfort—including physical fitness—and how to optimize management of and provide relief for those factors.

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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As Corporate Counsel, the Best Way to Lower Workers’ Comp Costs

There’s a fantastic podcast out there called Workers Comp Matters, hosted by attorneys Alan and Judson Pierce as part of the Legal Talk Network.  The podcast covers legal issues surrounding worker’s compensation claims, shares recent rulings, and discusses broad areas of the applicable law, including contracts, constitutional issues, changes brought on by the current administration, and more.  I highly recommend it.

Staying abreast of all the legal ins and outs of worker’s compensation claims is mandatory in today’s business environment.  Of course the best strategy of all is to forestall claims before they’re filed. As corporate counsel, part of your job is to advise your executive team on ways to avoid these sorts of legal entanglements.  What should be posted?  What should leadership say and not say to employees?  What are the company’s record keeping requirements, which are designed to protect both the employer and the employee? Are they being followed?  Should a work injury occur, what are the exact steps managers should take?

As you know, some of these measures are designed to prevent workplace injuries before they happen, which is the best form of protection.  Inadequate training, supervision, or communication can all result in poor outcomes, and those areas are the employer’s responsibility to design well, oversee and correct.

What can an employer do to mitigate employee discomfort before it turns into a worker’s compensation claim?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2016, a significant percentage of workers in private industry had multiple days out of work due to soreness and pain.  What if employers could use this statistic to catch worker’s comp cases before they were actually filed?

By providing on-site discomfort mitigation services to employees, employers can help employees manage their discomfort or even eliminate it completely, keep them safer and focused on their jobs, and reduce not just the costs associated with worker’s compensation claims, but all the other costs associated with poor employee health.

Take, for example, the case of Monmouth Medical Center in Lakewood, NJ, where a change in internal employee healthcare—something you’d think a hospital would be especially good at—resulted in a significant reduction in cases, days out of work, and all of the associated costs.  In fact, costs were reduced by a factor of almost ten.

What was the change?  A “gatekeeper” team of an occupational physician and a worker’s comp specialist was put in place to track every injury that took place and run it to ground.  With intense focus on detail and data tracking and analysis, Monmouth was able to make giant strides in its battle to care for employees in a meaningful way and reduce the costs of injury to both the hospital and its employees.

Could your organization benefit from a more fully featured employee care program? Physical Performance Solutions can provide a free, on-site analysis to explore the possibilities.

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.