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15 August, 2016 00:00 00 AM

Occupational therapy in ergonomics

Occupational therapy in ergonomics

Mr. X is a Computer Engineer. He works in a multinational company. His work starts from 9:00 a. m. to 5:00 p.m. This long time he works in front of computer. Recently he feels pain in his low back.
He also feels pain and numbness in his right hand. He is much tensed and his condition is worsening day by day. One day he comes to Neurosciences hospital for his better treatment where physiatrist consultant diagnosed cervical radiculopathy and Low back pain.
Cervical radiculopathy is the clinical description of pain and neurological symptoms resulting from any type of condition that irritates a nerve in the cervical spine (neck). Low back pain refers to pain that you feel in your lower back. You may also have back stiffness, decreased movement of the lower back, and difficulty standing straight. After watching X ray report Doctor advises to take occupational therapy management.
After referring, occupational therapists assess the patient and give proper ergonomical advice for his office and home. For back pain, treatment focuses on using proper body mechanics which include using larger joints in movement, conserving energy by balancing work and rest, and listening to pain signals to avoid overexertion. An occupational therapist examines overall activities of the patient at home, work, and during recreation.
Ergonomics is the important part in our everyday life. It makes the life easy and pain free. Good ergonomics prevent injury and promote health, safety, and comfort for employees.
Ergonomics is derived from two Greek words: ergo, meaning work, and nomos, meaning natural laws. Combined, they create a word that means the science of work and a person’s relationship to work. When applied, ergonomics is a discipline focused on making the environment, products and tasks efficient for the user.   In the workplace, application of ergonomic principles is promoted to enhance worker safety and comfort.  
Occupational Therapists are university-educated, regulated health professionals whose training enables them to understand the physical, cognitive, emotional, social and environmental factors of disability or injury that may affect an individual's ability to function.  Occupational Therapists work in a variety of practice areas and with a wide range of individuals and organizations.  Many occupational therapists focus on work-related prevention and intervention services, including ergonomics.
The use of ergonomics principles can increase worker productivity and quality. Employers can implement a program that includes guidelines for employees to follow, contributes to an efficient work environment, prevents injuries and the development of chronic medical conditions, and helps employees return to work after an injury has occurred.
Occupational therapy practitioners are trained in the structure and function of the human body and the effects of illness and injury.
They also can determine how the components of the workplace can facilitate a healthy and efficient environment or one that could cause injury or illness. An occupational therapist can help employers identify hazards that may contribute to on-the-job injury, and determine how it can be eliminated.
What can an occupational therapist do?
Identify and eliminate accident and injury risk factors in the workplace, such as actions associated with repetition, force, fixed or awkward postures, poorly designed tool handles, heavy loads, distance, vibration, noise, extreme temperatures, poor lighting, and psychosocial and other occupational stresses.
Analyze job functions and job descriptions based on job tasks.
Design pre-hire screenings to determine a candidate's suitability to a particular job.
Modify tools and equipment so that they do not enable injury or illness.
Provide education and training on injury prevention, workplace health and safety regulations, and managing job-related stress.
Determine reasonable accommodations and worksite accessibility that is in compliance with the Americans With Disabilities Act.
Recommend changes employers can take to minimize injury and accident risk factors.
What can a person do to employ good ergonomics in the workplace?
Take a proactive approach to preventing injury in the workplace.
Follow guidelines set forth by employers that may prevent injury and illness.
Report hazards or poor work conditions or employee behavior that may contribute to illness or injury in the workplace.
Are Occupational Therapists qualified to work in the field of ergonomics?
Yes.  Occupational Therapists have academic and practical training in the study of ergonomic principles. One of occupational therapy’s theoretical approaches focuses on how people relate to their environments and the work that they do.  
As well, occupational therapists are trained extensively in the process of disability and rehabilitation, assisting to remove barriers to function for people with physical and/or mental disabilities in the workplace.   
In addition to foundational training, occupational therapists may take continuing education courses to become more qualified in the practice of ergonomics once they are registered to work as an occupational therapist.   
Proper workplace ergonomics is important and should be addressed by both employers and employees. If you would like to consult an occupational therapist about an ergonomics evaluation, practitioners are available through most hospitals, community clinics, and medical centers.
Occupational therapists are trained in helping both adults and children with a broad range of physical, developmental, and psychological conditions.
Practitioners also help clients and their caregivers with strategies that can prevent injury and secondary complications, and support health and well-being.
 In Bangladesh there are limited opportunities for occupational therapist to work in ergonomics settings due to lack of awareness. So, government should take steps to recruit occupational therapist in these settings.



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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman

Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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