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OHS

Evaluating the feasibility of restrictions – how an Ergonomist can help

Returning an injured worker to their job is often a complex process. Ideally there are two critical pieces on information. 1) A complete and up to date Job Demands Analysis (JDA) that has been verified by key people within the organization; 2) A Functional Capacity Evaluation (FCE) has been completed on the employee to determine their capabilities and subsequently what their Return to Work (RTW) restrictions are.

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Modified Work - Important Considerations

Modified work, according to Workers’ Compensation Board – Alberta, is temporary changes to regular job duties as a result of injury, which may include: changes to work tasks, environment, work load (hours or schedule), or equipment. It may also include work normally performed by others or specially designed job duties. Modified work has been cited to improve return to work outcomes by reducing a worker’s time away from work, providing a work rehabilitation opportunity through safe and realistic work duties, and reducing costs associated with a claim. However, for modified work to be successful it must include productive or meaningful duties, and be safe for the worker within their temporary work restrictions. Given my personal experiences with modified work, I must also add that it is also important to consider the personality of the worker.

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Stability Balls, Exercise Balls and ‘Fitness Orbs’ in the Office

Using stability balls in place of an office chair is common in many offices. As Ergonomists, we are often approached by employers to provide advice and policies regarding whether stability balls should be used for seating in the office. This week on the blog, we have decided to outline our view on this topic. We review the importance of certain office chair features, and the corresponding concerns we have over prolonged use of stability balls.

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Cold exposure in outdoor work: Pain in the fingers

Last week, Alberta was treated to an unexpected early snowfall. While we are fortunate that winter conditions have reverted back to a typical, warm, Western Canadian September we were reminded of the coming winter conditions and the impact they have on our work operations. In outdoor construction work and trades-person work in cold winter conditions, there are a number of discomforts and issues that can be aggravated by the cold.

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Ergonomics for the changing demands on health care workers

Ergonomics for the changing demands on health care workers

Recent statistics show that health care demands are set to increase with a substantial proportion of the ‘baby boomer’ population moving into retirement age. This will lead to two outcomes: 1) increased demand on health care providers in hospitals and clinics, and 2) to deal with the increasing demands, more sharing information through Healthcare Information Technology (HIT), 3) more care tasks will be sent to homecare workers to offset demands on clinical professionals. In this post I will outline how ergonomists and human factors experts can help to deal with these items.

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Returning to work after a concussion

Concussion awareness is much higher in light of better knowledge, recognition of the symptoms and prevalence, and coverage in news and sports. A concussion is predominately associated with a blunt force to the head; however, it may also be caused as a result of trauma to any part of the body which can transmit linear and angular reaction forces to the head.

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Ergonomics training for your staff to improve your overall ergonomics program

Ergonomics training for your staff to improve your overall ergonomics program

In recent weeks, we have outlined why hiring and involving a certified, properly trained and qualified ergonomist is beneficial to your company. However, this isn’t to say that training staff at your company in ergonomics will not provide a benefit.

Ergonomics has evolved over time. No longer is it an “expert-based” approach, where the ergonomist controls all aspects of the ergonomics program. While such an approach is effective at recognizing risk factors and providing some guidelines for operations, making meaningful changes to improve the work condition and reduce injuries requires a deeper level of understanding. Workplace issues and injuries are multifactored, involving physical, psychosocial and organizational components. An external expert, no matter how qualified, cannot truly understand all of these aspects on their own. Instead, they need to rely on the knowledge and expertise of employees, supervisors and managers at the workplace to provide insights to add to their own technical and scientific expertise. Generally, this type of ergonomics program is titled “Participatory Ergonomics”.

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Taking a look at ergonomics risk factors in construction work

Taking a look at ergonomics risk factors in construction work

Construction work is one of the most common and lucrative fields of employment among trades people and labourers. It has been well established that work in this field is associated with ergonomic risk factors and musculoskeletal disorders, and evaluating exposures to various risk factors throughout this work is important.

Although, accurate assessment of exposures can be difficult to gather without proper expertise and skills.

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