Ergonomics is the science of fitting the job to the worker. It facilitates maximum productivity, consistent quality, and long-term worker health and safety by acknowledging, identifying, and reducing or eliminating ergonomic risk factors which pose biomechanical stresses (force, repetition, awkward postures, static positions, contact stress, vibration, and cold temperatures) to the worker. A well-designed workstation improves human performance by eliminating excessive, non-productive motions and thereby improving worker efficiency and cycle times. This translates into increased productivity and increased profit margins.
By investing in a more efficient process, industries also invest in a healthier workforce. This means decreased worker's compensation costs, lost time injuries and retraining/replacement expenses.
A specially trained physical or occupational therapist conducts an on-site assessment of work activities, identifies risk factors, makes recommendations for controls, and re-evaluates the effectiveness of changes implemented.
We generate a comprehensive report that provides a focus for improving ergonomics, developing an ergonomics program, and decreasing risk factors in your company's work environment.
Occupational Rehabilitation is a two - to four - week program that offers a comprehensive, multi-disciplinary and goal-oriented approach to getting the worker back on the job. The occupational rehab environment is structured to gradually increase the worker's productivity while managing work-related symptoms and promoting individual responsibility for recovery. Occupational rehab can be combined with appropriate modified duty.
Contact also is maintained with employers, insurance companies and external case managers.
Work Conditioning is a 1-2 week program that is designed to be a brief physical "tune-up." If during the initial evaluation, the worker demonstrates abilities consistent with critical job demands but has poor understanding of body mechanics and/or low endurance to tolerate a full work shift, he/she would be considered an appropriate candidate for a work conditioning program.
Our work conditioning program emphasizes aerobic conditioning, use of good body mechanics, and safe work practices. It can be 3-4 days per week and 3-4 hours per day, based on the worker's needs. Work conditioning is frequently combined with appropriately modified duty.
Work hardening is a concept that was developed to bridge the gap between the acute stage of an illness and eventual return to work. Its purpose is to return the injured employee to productivity quickly and safely, and to teach the employee how to decrease the risk of another injury.
Our work hardening program offers a comprehensive, multi-disciplinary, and goal-oriented approach to worker rehabilitation. Work hardening clients have sometimes been off work for weeks, months, or even years. The original injury has often healed, but the worker may have lost strength, range of motion, and/or confidence in his or her ability to return to work. Often, the worker will still have pain or other symptoms with certain movements or positions. The work hardening environment is structured to gradually increase the worker's productivity while managing related symptoms.
The rehabilitation process begins with an initial assessment of the worker's current tolerance to a variety of work tasks and static postures. This one-day evaluation is completed by an occupational therapist and a physical therapist. The worker is also evaluated by a rehabilitation psychologist (to evaluate related psychological issues such as fear of re-injury and potential barriers to return to work) and a physiatrist (a medical doctor specializing in physical medicine who oversees medical management of the rehabilitation process).
Information gained is then compared to the worker's diagnosis and regular job demands and used by the multidisciplinary team to make return to work recommendations or to plan an appropriate course of treatment for successful return to work.
If deemed appropriate, the worker will enter the work hardening program. Our typical program is 4 days/week, 4 hours/day and can be combined with appropriate modified duty.
Initially, the program focuses on general conditioning activities as well as stretching and strengthening exercises specific to the individual's diagnosis and level of tolerance. As the program progresses, a greater amount of time is spent performing more work specific tasks. The pace and intensity of the rehabilitation program is gradually increased until the worker is performing at a functional level that is consistent with job demands or has maximized potential for improvement. Workers are also taught appropriate strategies for injury management and prevention of reoccurrence.
While in the program, weekly contacts are maintained with the worker's insurance company/rehab nurse to update them on worker's progress and plan. The employer is involved as needed to coordinate modified duty and facilitate return to work.
At the conclusion of the program, the physiatrist is able to make return to work recommendations based on the worker's demonstrated performance in the work hardening program.