Return to Work Ergonomics/Rehab
Providing a Fast and Safe Recovery Environment
When personnel are injured it is essential that they return to a workplace where task demands or workplace design will assist rather than inhibit recovery. Research has shown that a multi-disciplinary approach is most effective for preventing or managing long term low back pain but will also assist most other musculoskeletal disorders.
While an occupational therapist can assist by assessing work capacity, an ergonomist is equipped to examine work design and recommend cost-effective design changes, alternate products or equipment, optimal layout to suit software, lighting and other changes to assist recovery or minimise risk of recurrence.
While preventing back pain and other musculoskeletal disorders is the most important goal, the very nature of low back pain, where the real cost to individuals and society lies with recurrent onsets and long term pathology, it is just as important to manage pain in the workplace by way of education, work practices, design modifications and equipment. Physical exercise, therapies and ergonomic interventions for the workplace and individuals are all critical.
Participative ergonomic programs, with stakeholder involvement in workplace modifications, are known to be cost effective.
Ergonomics involvement should be obtained at an early stage after work injury and coincide with their return to work.