Ergonomic AssessmentDr. Howard Liss treats disorders that cause pain and disability by providing consultative services and soft tissue and joint injections when needed. When medically appropriate, he makes specific referrals for diagnostic testing (lab work, imaging, electrodiagnosis), physical and occupational therapy, interventional procedures (epidurals and facet joint injections), and surgery.
When individuals hear the word ergonomics, many think of office design, workplace layout, new products, systems, better office chairs, equipment and so on. Yet, true ergonomics focuses primarily on body types, including size and shape, as well as biomechanics, including muscle tone, forces and strength. In consideration of these, other environmental factors are taken into account. These are not tangible components; rather, they are physics-related such as noise, light, heat, cold, hearing, vision and sensations. Even so, ergonomics also includes the social psychological impact of the workplace, including learning, behavior and communication.
In a nutshell, ergonomics is the study of how an employee fits into his/her workplace. Thus, when thinking about workplace injuries, both acute and chronic, it is not necessarily the chair that a person is sitting in that’s the problem. Moreover, it’s the way in which they hold, control and perform tasks and activities with their body.
With expertise over many fields of study, physiatrists are uniquely positioned to advise ergonomic assessments and propose counsel, based on an employee’s injury or condition.
Ergonomic Assessment Tools and Resources
Under the direction of a physiatrist, a team of medical professionals such as physical and occupational therapists, clinicians and interventionists administer ergonomic testing using a variety of tools and methods. These methods help provide a quantitative measurement for risk of musculoskeletal injury. Some are explained below.
NIOSH Lifting Equation – Occupational and safety health professionals utilize the NIOSH lifting equation to assess specific risks of lifting and lowering tasks. This is done by looking at the job variables and requirements and determining a recommended weight limit (RWL) that is safe for employees over the course of an 8 hour workday, without the risk of musculoskeletal disorders (MSD).
Rapid Entire Body Assessment (REBA) – An evaluation of an employee’s required movements is conducted, including required body posture, levels of exertion and types of action, repetition and coupling. Specific regions of the body (wrist, forearms, elbows, shoulders, neck, trunk, back, legs and knees) are given a numerical score. These numbers are used to generate a single score showing the risk of musculoskeletal disorders (MSD).
Rapid Upper Limb Assessment (RULA) – Providing important diagnostic information concerning biomechanics and tasks or demands of a job on the neck, core and upper extremities, a single score is obtained that represents the risk of developing a musculoskeletal disorder (MSD).
Snook Tables – Compiling goals for various job tasks such as lifting, lowering, pushing, pulling and carrying, snook tables show the weight in relation to the force of an activity. Information may be compared to employees that fit in a specific population. Thus, it can be determined if job tasks are appropriate for an employee.
WISHA Lifting Calculator – Used to classify risk assessments, the WISHA lifting calculator screens certain tasks that need more research, as well as analyzing lifting and lowering tasks and associated risks.
At the Howard Liss, M.D. Rehabilitation Institute, patients can rely on Dr. Liss to put together the right treatment, therapy and rehabilitation plan to ensure the most optimal outcome. Dr. Liss works closely with other specialists required to rehabilitate patients suffering from chronic pain or serious injuries, and Dr. Liss will refer patients as needed to ensure appropriate treatment. With extensive education and exposure to a variety of conditions that affect the cervical and lumbar spine, bones, nerves, joints, ligaments, tendons, muscles, brain, and spinal cord, Dr. Liss is uniquely positioned to help patients manage their pain and maximize their function.
To schedule your appointment, contact the Howard Liss, M.D. Rehabilitation Institute in Tenafly today.