Taking the health and well-being of your team members seriously is important. Creating an ergonomically comfortable environment while modeling proper posture and regular stretching routines will help with overall morale while building a healthy, more productive practice.
The U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that repeated use injuries and Musculoskeletal Disorders (MSDs) accounted for 30% of worker injuries as well as illness cases in 2018. Of those cases, the days missed from work was 12 for the year on average.
If you can avoid the strain and create a well-thought-out environment, experts agree that you will see a difference in the quality of work and an overall increase in productivity.
Protect the Team
It takes a commitment from the entire team to sustain an ergonomically correct environment. From the doctor or practice owner, down through each staff member, everyone needs to be on the same page.
It starts with an open discussion with the team about their challenges. Set clear goals to improve the ergonomic issues that they identify. Then, management should define goals and objectives for progress, assign responsibilities to designated staff members, and communicate each step.
A critical step in the assessment process is to identify ergonomic issues in the workspace before they can result in an injury or MSD. If a team member has to repeatedly stretch, twist, or strain, an injury could follow.
When considering the ergonomics of your office, make sure that desks, tables, and chairs are at an appropriate height. Whether they are treating a patient, or answering the phone, setting your team up for success will pay off in the long term.
Involve Team Members
Make sure each member of your team is directly involved in worksite assessments. Have them help develop the solutions and work together on the implementation. Having everyone contribute to the ergonomic design of their environment will ultimately result in a happier, healthier office.
Encourage Reporting of Injuries
Some people flinch at the idea of telling their co-workers that they are in pain, but early reporting helps to prevent or reduce MSDs, serious injury, and time lost. Early reporting will also help accelerate the assessment and ergonomic improvement process – which benefits everyone.
Measurement is key to improvement. Keep track of the changes you’ve made in your office and operatories to periodically assess the effectiveness of your ergonomic efforts. Are your team members seeing and feeling a difference from the changes? Are instruments in their proper place and no more than an arm’s length away?
Limit repetitive motion like straining or stretching to reach items, wherever possible and, make sure that you include time each day for everyone to move around and stretch regularly. While they don’t seem like big changes, making these ergonomic adjustments will bear fruit for you and your team in the long run.
Contact our ergonomics specialist in California today to learn more about the ergonomic strategies you can implement in your practice and create a place where everyone can work comfortably.