2021 is finally here! I’m sure most of us are ready to put 2020 in the rear-view mirror and forge ahead. Before we do, though, we must always keep in our thoughts and hearts the nearly 550,000 souls we have lost in the US. As we move towards normalcy, we should not forget those who served and those we lost.

Let’s define what normal might look like. Many experts believe that a time of greater vigilance for either a long-term pandemic or new infectious diseases might be upon us. Although organizations have done great jobs in protecting employees, customers, and visitors, continued preparedness should remain a top priority, and we encourage all of our readers to revisit your preparedness programs periodically for any updates and modifications. Our guide will provide you with an outline of systems and processes that should be considered. Continuing to audit those will ensure full readiness.

I am happy to report that with our COVID protocols and partnering with our clients, we have completed from last March through today nearly 10,000 hours of service with not one incident of a Provider infecting an employee or a Provider being infected by an employee. Preparedness works!

Ergonomics is #1

Even with the sobering death count in the US, 2021 is starting strong. Vaccines are being administered at a rate of over 2 million doses per day, and the economy is beginning to rebound. Some economists are predicting the economy will grow as much as 6% in 2021, which would be great for all of our customers. At DORN, we are seeing similar trends. We ended the year by entering into agreements with two new significant customers and have met with at least 30 other interested parties. The common theme with all of the people we have met just in the last three months is that people are migrating from a focus on COVID—keeping people healthy—to defining the number one injury issue for them. To a person, the answer is ergonomics. Many organizations are establishing short-, mid-, and long-term strategies around ergonomics with a heavy focus on the people side of things. In a recent blog, we discuss the latest trends and ways that organizations are addressing these issues through planning, technology, and other support systems.

We at DORN have developed a strong set of ergonomic services meant to match problems with solutions. From quantitative and non-quantitative assessments to wearable sensor technologies with cameras, artificial intelligence, desktop self-assessment/self-correction software, virtual support, and our latest offering, Health Working Pro—software with 21 tools built in to help guide employees through an ergonomic assessment—our ergonomic suite gives clients the flexibility to tackle their particular injury issues.

As we know, ergonomic tools are just that: tools. They help assess risk, which then translates into an action plan to address and eliminate that risk either through administrative or engineering controls. We know from our research that greater than 60% of ergonomic injuries can be traced to poor behaviors and body mechanics. After we identify the primary risk, we provide training on proper body mechanics and conditioning, giving front-line folks ergo-eyes to help them stay aware of their surroundings and providing office employees the technology to help them self-correct. These strategies are shown to help cut ergonomic injuries by some 60-80%.

You can see the results of such programs in this case study from a major aviation client. Over 8 months, we eliminated significant ergonomic risk, people retained learned behaviors at a 96% level 8 months after initial training and the client moved from a 2.5% incident rate to 0 incidents. If we can be of support in any way on your ergonomic quest, please reach out.

Remote and Home Workers

As part of the new normal, we will still be looking at home or remote workers on a larger scale than before. During the height of the pandemic in 2020, home-based workers went from around 20% to over 60% of the workforce. Most believe it will settle around 35%-40% for at least the next year or two. To address this, we introduced Self-Care Plus, a suite of services that is geared toward office, home, and remote workers.

These services can help reach a broader portion of the workforce with a low-cost solution that ensures employees who historically or currently don’t have the ergonomic support that being on-site gives them are not forgotten in the injury prevention strategy. The components of Self-Care Plus are:

One service, in particular, has seen significant success: our self-massage training, which brings our highly effective manual therapy directly to off-site workers. Through 3-4 live virtual 30-minute sessions, we teach people how to address their deep-tissue and soft-tissue pain and discomfort. With the exercises and other tools we provide, these employees are empowered to care for themselves and treat their pain in the comfort of their own homes or offices. The chart below shows the effectiveness of the program. Since introducing this service last summer, we have conducted over 1,000 sessions with great success.

Welcome to DORN!

I’d like to take this time to introduce you to two new members of the DORN team. Kathryn Gourley has joined DORN as our Account Manager serving current clients and Head of Business Development. Karyn Campbell has joined our team as Operations Manager, responsible for field operations and quality assurances for our services. Please join me in welcoming both Kathryn and Karyn. You can learn more about them here.

We are excited for 2021 as we enter our 22nd year of service and excited to continue to work with our great partners to bring you the latest and most innovative ergonomic and injury prevention services.