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Ergonomic and Functional Assessments

What is an ergonomic assessment

An ergonomic assessment examines your positioning, posture and set up while you are at your workstation. The purpose of an ergonomic assessment is to avoid injury caused by repetitive movements and prolonged awkward postures. The purpose of the assessment is to also identify factors that may be causing or worsening your pre-existing symptoms while you work.

What happens during an ergonomic assessment

  • Observe you while completing your job demands.
  • Taking measurements, pictures, making observations about potential risk factors for injury, identifying tasks that may be aggravating symptoms.
  • We then make recommendations either for equipment, a change of postures or modifications to the current workstation.

Workplace Ergonomic Assessments

Employees spend the majority of their days focused on tasks at their workstation. Ergonomic principles focus on creating a workspace that supports the physical and mental well-being of employees, ultimately enhancing productivity and preventing musculoskeletal disorders.

Common complaints from employees

  • Back pain
  • Tingling and numbness in their hands
  • Wrist problems
  • Headaches
  • Eye Strain
  • Neck and shoulder pain
  • Hip pain
  • Difficulty with concentrating for long periods of time on screens.
  • Light sensitivity
  • Sciatica
  • Dry eyes
  • Blurred vision
  • Cramping or spasms

Common reports from employers

  • Employees complaining of pain symptoms despite purchasing new “ergonomic chairs and desks”
  • Absences due to chronic pain issues.
  • Reduced productivity
  • Employees having difficulty with work from home set ups.

What happens during an ergonomic assessment

At PurelyOT, we will first complete an in person assessment with an employee at their workstation. We will observe how they utilize the workstation, identify potential changes that can be made immediately, and if required, recommend products, exercises, postural changes and provide quotes and examples from local vendors. We also complete follow ups to assist with equipment installation and education on optimal usage.

Types of Ergonomic Assessments:

Training the trainers - Ergonomics education for Health and safety and HR departments

Our occupational therapists provide training to occupational health and safety and HR departments throughout the Metro Vancouver area. We educate health and safety department employees to detect potential risk factors while employees are situated at their workstations, provide orientation and assistance with setting up new employees at their workstations, and ensuring that potential workplace injuries are either detected early or mitigated entirely. We also empower health and safety department employees to provide general preventative education to employees and help reduce the chances of workplace injury.

Employee Ergonomic Assessments and Education

Our occupational therapists will provide 15 minute consultations to each employee at their workstation. The therapist will examine each employee as they complete their usual tasks, make recommendations and adjustments for more optimal seating and recommendations for equipment if required. Our therapists will also provide a summary of recommendations and equipment as required. Employee ergonomic assessments can be completed virtually as well.

One-on-one ergonomic assessments

One on one ergonomic assessments are ideal for employees who may be experiencing multiple injuries and symptoms, requiring a more thorough examination. Our occupational therapists will observe the worker at their workstation, obtain a detailed history of their complaints and symptoms and make immediate adjustments to their workstation. Our therapist will then provide a detailed report with recommendations for equipment with quotes, workstation changes and management techniques for the worker.

Virtual Ergonomic Assessments

As work-from-home options become more widely available for employees, our therapists can also complete home visits or provide telehealth consultations. This option is ideal for employees who may be working from home full-time or part-time.

What is a functional assessment

A functional assessment is administered by an occupational therapist to determine what your strengths and weaknesses are when completing activities that you want to complete or are expected to complete. For example, if you are having difficulty with returning to work, a functional assessment can help determine the exact movements or tasks that you are having difficulty with. From there, we can either make recommendations for equipment, modifications to the task or refer you for further assessment or intervention with an appropriate treatment provider.

How can OT’s help conduct a functional assessment

  • Meeting you at your home to assess how you complete your daily activities
  • Completing a work simulation assessment by re-creating your job demands either in a clinic or gym settings.
  • Direct observation as you complete your job demands.

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