Trends, Rules and tools for reducing injuries in the office based workplace

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1 Trends, Rules and tools for reducing injuries in the office based workplace An Interactive Presentation for Safe Work Week 2014 Brayden Callander Jobfit Health Group Occupational Therapist

2 A special thank you to Phone: (08) Fax: (08) Address: Unit 2, 76 McMinn Street, Darwin NT 0800

3 Presentation Overview Injury Trends in Australia Legislation in the Office Based Workplace Identifying Risk Factors in the Office Based Workplace Useful Guides to Promoting Wellness in the Workplace Manual Handling and Ergonomic Basics in the Office Based Workplace When and How to Approach More Complex Situations Latest Equipment Options

4 Work-Related Injury / Illness Rate in Australia, by Age and Sex and ABS. 2011

5 Rate of person with a work-related injury or illness per 1,000 persons ABS. 2011

6 Injury trends in the NT 6,000 5,500 5,000 4,500 4,000 3,500 Number of claims in the NT , NT Worksafe 2014

7 Proportion of claims by mechanism of injury for the NT in 2013 Mechanism for Injury 9% 7% 5% 31% Body Stressing Falls, Trips and Slips of a person 9% Being Hit by Moving Objects 18% 21% Hitting Objects with Part of the Body Mental Stress Other and Unspecified Mechanisms or Incident Other

8 Employment trends in the NT Current employment participation rate of 73.5% Key Employment Statistics as of August 2014: Employment Sector % of Total Employment Public Administration & Safety 17.07% Construction 11.23% Education and Training 8.80% Mining 4.24% Administrative and Support Services 3.65% Northern Territory Government. 2014

9 Common injuries in the office based workplace Muscular stress (lifting, carrying and transferring objects) Repetitive use type injuries (e.g. occupational overuse syndrome Falls Other musculature skeletal injuries (manual handling other than lifting or carrying)

10 Sedentary behaviour risk factors People who sit for 11 hours or more a day are 40 % more likely to die within 3 years than those who sit for less than 4 hours. Further The risk of heart disease is increased by 50 % even if exercise is performed regularly Increased risk of physical injuries if a worker maintains a static posture Risk of colon cancer doubled Australian Government, 2014

11 Legislation in the office based workplace The Work Health and Safety Act (2011): To eliminate risks to health and safety so far as reasonably practicable; and If it is not reasonably practicable to eliminate risks to health and safety, to reduce those risks so far as is reasonably practicable.

12

13 Guidelines in the office based workplace Australian Standard AS : 'Screen based workstations Part 2: Workstation furniture Area of work surface: Width mm minimum Depth - 900mm minimum Seat pan : Surface of seat to floor - 380mm - 510mm Seat pan depth - 330mm - 430mm Footrest area - 300mm x 375mm

14 Useful guides for promoting safety in the office based workplace Officewise A guide to Health and Safety in the Workplace (Comcare, 2008) Ergonomics in the Workplace (Charles Darwin University, 2012) Officewise A Guide to Health and Safety in the Office (Worksafe Victoria, 2011)

15 Manual handling in the office based workplace Defn. Manual handling is any activity that requires the use of force exerted by a person to lift, carry, lower, push, pull, move or hold any item. It also includes work involving repetitive activities, sustained muscle exertion and fixed postures. Safework Australia, 2012

16 Identifying hazardous manual handling tasks Does the Task Require: Repetitive Movements? Sustained or Awkward Postures? Repetitive or Sustained Forces? Examples of Hazardous Manual Handling Tasks in the Office Workplace: Repetitive lifting and carrying archive boxes beyond optimal parameters Sustained sitting / typing in nonneutral position Prolonged scanning / filing at an inappropriate working height Sudden or High Force?

17 Guidelines for manual handling Consider: The nature of the lift required Distance being travelled Frequency of the lift Size and type of load The worker

18 Ergonomics in the office workplace basics Matching the work environment to the person performing the task required Person Environment Occupation

19 The good

20 The bad

21 And

22 The ugly

23

24 Common tools for health promotion Incentive based programs: Increase participation in injury management strategies Intrinsic and extrinsic motivating factors Pro s and Con s

25 Its not all about the worker comfort Neutral Position Worker Comfort Diagram: A typical worker s perception on ergonomics The goal of any intervention is promoting a balance between worker comfort and encouraging a neutral position.

26 Tools for reducing injuries in the office based workplace Lifting Capacity An Age Continuum Population Group Young (22 to 26 years of age) Older (55 to 65 years of age) Maximum Lifting Capacity 26kg (+/- 9.3kg) 22kg (+/- 12kg) Older population Benefit greater from exercise and conditioning programs Younger population Benefit greater from manual handling training Songa & Qua, 2014

27 Remember: Work capacity changes over the lifespan

28 Injury prevention the best fit approach Person Environment 1. Know your workforce 2. Know the work tasks 3. Review the work environment 4. Identify hazardous tasks 5. Involve the worker 6. Implement change Occupation

29 Tools to promote best fit Relating to the Person: Exercise and Fit for Work programs Online interactive health guides e.g. HeartAge, Moodgym Pre-employment screening to determine work fitness capacity Periodical screening to measure change in work fitness capacity Training and education

30 Relating to the Occupation Identifying hazardous tasks Job dictionaries and task demands Develop strategies to mitigate risk factors Use of manual handling devices Storing items in locations that promotes a neutral position during manual handling Promoting a work routine that encourages regular postural breaks

31 Relating to the Environment Ergonomic equipment A weight height that promotes a neutral position Allow Lighting, temperature and noise levels An environment that promotes productive workers

32 Did I mention equipment

33 The sit to stand workstation Purpose: To encourage a change in posture from sitting to standing What the evidence says: It serves the purpose of reducing sitting periods at work Up to 143 minutes p/day over the course of a week Reduced cholesterol levels in workers that stand Considerations: Lower limb pathologies Too much of any one posture is not good for us Alkhajah et al. 2012

34 Case study: Trudy Person: 46 year old Administration officer Worked in her role for 6 years Previous work roles include personal care assistant and library attendant History of lower back pain. Symptomatic for the last 2 months Tasks performed: Procurement Data entry Transporting, unpacking, scanning contents and repacking of archive boxes Stationary ordering

35 Trudy continued Factors to consider: Nil changes have been made to her office based workplace over the last 2 years Trudy s physio recommended an ergonomic assessment Trudy s GP referred for imaging; MRI indicated degenerative change It is unclear whether onset of symptoms is work related Recently, the workplace underwent a pay scale review. Trudy did not receive an incremental increase which she felt she deserved

36 Discuss further Outcomes following: Discussion with the worker In house ergonomic assessment Ergonomic assessment by external party Trudy continues to report discomfort. Have we missed something?

37 The missing link Predictors of back pain After adjustment for age, sex, skill level, severity and other potential confounders, the most consistent were: Decision control (lowest OR 0.68; 99% confidence interval (CI): ), Empowering leadership (lowest OR 0.59; 99% CI: ) Fair leadership (lowest OR 0.54; 99% CI: ) Christensen JO, Knardahl S. 2012

38 Jerry s final thought The worker is a valuable resource to reducing injuries in the workplace Legislative requirements are minimum, why not maximise potential? Equipment can enable, but it is not always a means to an end Early intervention and prevention is key Adopt a best fit approach to promote a productive workplace Remember the purpose of your role and the tools in your tool kit to promote safety in the workplace

39 Thank you

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