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Workplace Wellness

Who Is Qualified To Perform An On-Site Ergonomic Evaluation?

Posted by Danny Sanchez, PT, CEAS on January 08, 2016

 Who Is Qualified To Perform An On-Site Ergonomic Evaluation? http://www.onsite-physio.com/workplace-wellness-programs/who-is-qualified-to-perform-an-on-site-ergonomic-evaluation @onsitephysio

An on-site ergonomic evaluation looks at a specific job and its surrounding environment. The point is to identify all the essential functions and tasks necessary for someone to perform the job. Companies that are serious about worker safety use ergonomic evaluation to improve their hiring process. They also use it to improve management of workers’ comp claims.

But how do you go about ergonomic evaluation? Who is qualified to perform an on-site job assessment?

It Takes Special Training

You have to know what to look for to effectively evaluate job-related movements. That requires special training in subjects such as:

  • Anatomy
  • Posture
  • Biomechanics
  • Techniques for assessing job positions and movements
  • Best practices in creating solutions to reduce risk and prevent injuries

There are excellent resources available to help you. It is important that your ergonomic analysis efforts comply with OSHA guidelines for healthcare, industrial and office environments. You can download a copy of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Elements of Ergonomics Programs.

This detailed guide provides training, extensive resources and tools including job evaluation checklists. It includes everything you need to:

  • Identify risk factors for workplace musculoskeletal injuries
  • Take positive action to make improvements
  • Promote workplace safety

There are also online courses and workshops that provide this sort of training. They can help you acquire the knowledge and skills necessary to understand the “human mechanics” of a given job. Most of these courses offer some type of certification. You might receive a simple certificate of completion. Or you could receive a designation such as Certified Ergonomic Assessment Specialist.

Course content varies. Often it is very general in scope. But you can also take more advanced courses that focus on specialized areas such as ergonomics for the aging workforce.

Taking these courses enables you to learn:

  • Which parts of the human body are most vulnerable to occupational injuries
  • The causes and signs of injuries such as musculoskeletal disorders (strains and sprains)
  • Proper ways to control risk factors
  • Prevention strategies
  • Ergonomic problem-solving

Some People Are Ergonomics Pros

The Board of Certification Professional Ergonomics (BCPE) offers a formal accreditation program. You can become a Certified Professional Ergonomist (CPE) if you:

  • Have a master’s degree in ergonomics or equivalent education in life sciences, behavioral sciences or engineering sciences
  • Have worked full time in the ergonomics field for at least three years
  • Pass the written CPE exam, which is a comprehensive 8-hour tes

CPEs learn to take a holistic systems approach to designing safer workplaces. They take into consideration both cognitive and physical job requirements. Their goal is to optimize workforce health and safety while maintaining high-level company productivity. If you’re interested, you can visit the BCPE website to learn more about obtaining formal certification. 

On-Site Job Assessment Is the Most Effective

That’s because it is most specific. The person conducting the evaluation can see how tasks are performed in real-life working conditions. A particular type of job – say, housekeeper or warehouse worker – might be similar from one place to another. But every company has different physical facilities and procedures. That makes every job environment unique.

With a well-defined ergonomic evaluation in hand, you can:

  • Create more accurate job descriptions, which helps reduce turnover
  • Understand potential injury risks associated with the job
  • Avoid hiring workers who are physically incapable of doing the job safely or who have pre-existing conditions that put them at greater risk

When you can anticipate what activities might cause injuries, you can take steps toward prevention. You can work with employees as a group, in training sessions or workshops. Or you can work with people one-on-one to teach proper body movement techniques. Both types of training help prevent injuries. And that’s the ultimate goal of ergonomic evaluation.National Benchmark Survey - Onsite Physio

 

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