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Workplace improvement in the fit between tasks and abilities

Bio-Mechanics, industrial athlete, News |
Written by Kate DeMoss

In manually handling objects, workers may be injured due to incorrect body mechanics and repetitive motions, leading to loss of time, energy, and direct and indirect costs. Making improvements in the fit between workers’ abilities to complete job tasks, which vary with height, strength, gender, age, physical condition, previous injuries, and training, and the tasks themselves, leads to overall advantages for both the worker and employer.

DORN Companies services are designed to improve the fit for your employees with their jobs, leading to reduction and prevention of injuries, increase in morale and productivity, and decreasing of the forces used in pushing, pulling, lifting, and manipulating objects. This lowers overall costs to the employer from musculoskeletal disorders, turnover, medical costs, absenteeism, and retraining.

Avoid-workplace-injuries-with-DORN

So how does this work? We have multiple workers performing several tasks in order to do the job or a single person handling many tasks. The younger worker’s initial fitness level may not meet the overall demands of an eight hour or more work day doing manual lifting, pulling, pushing, etc. The older, mature worker may be set in performing motions the same way for years and be resistant to change. Risk factors may include awkward bending or twisting postures, repetitive motions, fixed positions for long periods of time, and forceful exertions. These factors can lead to fatigue and discomfort in various parts of the body. These injuries are called musculoskeletal disorders, or MSDs.

In addition to services around education of employees, our programs to address MSDs specifically range from Post-Offer Employment Testing, Hands-on Therapy, Educational Programs, Ergonomic Assessments, Biomechanics, Technique Training, and Work Hardening. They address the whole process of preventing the development of musculoskeletal injures and treating the sprains and strains that result in these injuries. Our Hands-on Therapy, provided by our PainFree Specialists, addresses immediate strain/sprains and musculoskeletal injuries. This, combined with Coaching and Monitoring on-site and training in Biomechanics, can greatly reduce injuries, improve morale, and reduce costs.

Biomechanics is the study of how the body properly moves in space. Our Biomechanics Training is based on behavioral changes using the best science available from the fields of rehabilitation and elite sports performance applied to the industrial setting. This is a universal program, and is designed to help everyone from the cubicle to the warehouse. It treats the real reasons for most occupational injuries. Unsafe behaviors (dysfunctional motor patterns) contribute unnecessarily to significant numbers of occupational injuries. A dysfunctional motor pattern basically means your brain and body have become lazy in the way they move, lift, and twist. This leads to the knee, back, and shoulder injuries that occur for many employees. Your body knows how to move correctly; it just needs reminding and reinforcement in correct motor patterns.

Behavioral changes for injury prevention and safe task performance require that the techniques shown are imprinted in the employee’s subconscious through Pre-Shift Conditioning. These exercises begin the process of restoring safe movement and assisting employees with existing health concerns. This program is a simple and effective routine requiring about five minutes per day to perform. Employees feel better and work safely, avoiding injuries, while improving performance and durability.

Pre-Shift Biomechanics Conditioning changes behavior patterns. It takes traditional stretch-and-flex programs that only stretch commonly injured areas to another level, although simple programs can also be effective if properly designed, based on the work being done. The biomechanics warm-up restores functional body movements, creates optimal biomechanics and ergonomics, corrects posture, and enhances durability. Once employees relearn correct motor patterns, safe behaviors are maintained with a gentle 4-8 minute daily routine. This series of movements wakes up the nervous system and reinforces functional movement patterns, effectively warming up the body and preparing it for safe task performance. Then, the employee is ready to use proper body mechanics and techniques to lift, push, pull, or do whatever their job tasks require. Combining both biomechanics pre-shift conditioning with proper techniques for the job at hand will reduce the risk of injury significantly. Reinforcement is then done through supervisors who learn the techniques, or through a Coaching and Monitoring Program led by your DORN Specialist.

Think of an athlete. Before they do any actual moves, be it weight-lifting, running, or dribbling, they warm up with the correct pre-movement conditioning. What works for an athlete should work for the rest of us who have movements required in our jobs. This is why so much is written about developing your Industrial Athletes.

Remember that all job tasks are movements. When proper movement is performed, tasks are instinctively safe. When improper movement is present, tasks are not safe and lead to cumulative stress on joints, ligaments, and tendons, eventually causing injury. Until proper function has been restored, it is almost impossible to teach employees how to perform tasks safely by watching a video or reading a handout. This training teaches employees how to move effectively and correctly, leading to safe performance of job tasks.

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About the Author

Kate DeMoss

Clinical Lead & Western Region Training/Ergonomic Specialist at DORN Companies
Kate has been with DORN for over ten years filling various roles. Her 30 plus years of experience in the therapy field and her years of training in and teaching martial arts give her a comprehensive understanding of body movement and musculoskeletal disorders.
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About the Author
Kate DeMoss

Kate DeMoss

Clinical Lead & Western Region Training/Ergonomic Specialist at DORN Companies
Kate has been with DORN for over ten years filling various roles. Her 30 plus years of experience in the therapy field and her years of training in and teaching martial arts give her a comprehensive understanding of body movement and musculoskeletal disorders.
Contact Kate