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This topic contains 11 replies, has 7 voices, and was last updated by  Ergohead 11 years, 5 months ago.

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  • #36511

    Technesoma
    Participant

     I’m new to researching ergonomics standards, practices and these forums.  I am a Myofascial Therapist and Structural Integrator, and would like to get a sense of the ergonomic community’s feelings about interventions that alter posture and anatomical function as a way of increasing comfort and efficiency when interfacing with systems, and do these somatic interventions get weighted equally with interventions that alter the system being interfaced with?  

    Any information resources you can point me to?  Any thoughts?

    Thanks & I appreciate your time,

     

    #40647

    JMH26
    Participant

    I am in favor of your approach to treating people.  If the workr has an existing claim (worker comp or Disability)  then this therapy is well recived.  If you are trying to use this an approach as prevention in the workplace I believe you’ll have trouble.  This approach is considered a skilled intervention/treatment and most likely would be identified as a trigger for OSHA reportability.

     

    As far as being considered in design, I have not seen any articles about it.

    Jim Herzog

    Occupational Therapist

    #40657

    [email protected]
    Participant

    Aaron,

    You’ve posed a big question here. I think you’ll find that people who identify strongly with "ergonomics" will say that ergonomics is first and foremost a design science and practice, and that a systems approach to identifying and solving problems at their root cause is most effective. Ergonomics, or human centered design, or human factors engineering, or user experience design, or whatever we might call it, favors design of processes, facilities and equipment to enhance human performance and well being. This perspective is well documented in the ergonomics literature, and among various professional organizations (e.g., International Ergonomics Association, Board of Certification in Professional Ergonomics, Human Factors and Ergonomics Society, Ergonomics Society).

    You’ll find that a focus on modifying the human to better fit a system is less likely among professional ergonomists. Ergonomists will generally approach a situation with the perspective that people have physical and mental capabilities and limitations, and that a sustainable system should recognize and accomodate those human characteristics. We develop and use data sources that capture those human population variations (e.g, anthropometry data for body size and strength), then design the system to support and enhance human performance in specific tasks and environments.

     

    Peter Budnick, PhD, CPE
    Ergoweb Inc.

    #40669

    Ergohead
    Participant

     I am very familiar with a method of lifting and carrying one to four large plastic bags containing 20-70 pounds of material in a safe and healthy way.  

    The method opposes industrial and consumer instructions that are very dangerous.

    The "how" of human work activity is ergonomics to me as much as the "what".

    #40671

    JMH26
    Participant

    Your point brings the academic and engineering/design world into direct contact with behaviors  While a task may be designed to be done one way (i.e. lift one bag at a time)  the reality of the actual worker behavior (lift 3-4 bags at once) negates the good intentions of the design/procedure/etc.  My thought is that a better design directs or encourages a better behavior.

     

     

     

     

    Jim Herzog

    Occupational Therapist

    #40674

    Ergohead
    Participant

     Still though, you can choke up on a baseball bat.

    Most kids need to be told, and shown.

    #39545

    Technesoma
    Participant

    My personal experience is that the Human Tensegrity system is quite fluid & moldable but requires a responsible engineer (the consciousness living in it) to learn the options for use available to it.  Every bone is like the bat Ergohead speaks of, and a good coach can teach you your "choking up" options for using it skillfully, effectively and with comfort.  1/16th of an inch of wiggle @ a facet joint in your spine can translate to inches added to your reach, but you have to learn the feeling of allowing that 1/16th of an inch movement first.

    #39557

    glen_smith
    Participant

    I think that Peter has described ergonomics beautifully and I could not agree with him more. I think that every modality has its strengths and limitations and it is more about recognisiing these and utilising the appropriatte modality to achieve the best outcome. Myofascial techniques and ergonoimcs and many others all have things to offer. The weakness that I have found is more often found in the practitioner  and on the limitations that they place on seeing the strenghts and weakeness than in the modality. I recently discussed with an Alexander technique (I personally think Alexander technique is fantastic) practitioner ergonomics and alexander technique. The example they used was they could ensure that a person sat on wooden chair well and in a healthy manner irregardless of the type of chair. For me my perspective was  that the chair should allow/encourage/promote the "best posture". I feel that both should be complimentary e.g. the best environment (chair) will enhance outcomes from the treatment modality. Rather than having a person trying to perform their best despite having an environment that creates obstacles.

     

    Cheers Glen

    #39566

    [private user]
    Participant

     

    As a physical therapist and ergonomic consultant, I try in my practice to address both aspects: adapting the environment to provide comfort and maximize function, but teaching the body to retrain itself as well.  One will not usually be successful without the other.   It is undeniably important to provide a supportive chair that suits the user and the function.  However, just as the chair’s occupant won’t continue to be comfortable unless he has learned how to readjust the chair for himself, he needs to learn how to “readjust” his own posture. As an integral part of physical therapy treatment, I find it critical to encourage the neuromuscular control and body awareness that makes sitting, standing or any other movement comfortable, safe, efficient and – well, yes, enjoyable.  I also teach exercise or movements (for example, certain types of pause gymnastics) to increase the person’s resistance to worksite stressors.

     

     I also must admit, I’ve always taken serious issue with those stern practitioners of “proper sitting” like the Alexander practitioner described above, who seem to feel that a chair (kneeling, backless, hard wood, or whatever) is supposed to be an instrument of punishment meant to teach us to “use our muscles and sit up straight or else”! 

     

    I think, in continuation to Peter’s definition, that the increasing participation of healthcare professions in ergonomics is bringing human movement and function – beyond anthropometrics and biomechanics  – into perspective.  

     

    So we surely need to adapt the worksite to the person, but let’s not forget to teach the person to utilize his own body’s capacity as well. 

     

    Joan
    #39573

    [private user]
    Participant

    Sometimes the very adaptable nature of humans is the biggest obstacle to good ergonomic design acceptance. We so easily adapt to poor or even bad designs that, when confronted with a good design, we reject it as uncomfortable or hard to use. As a result, a certain amount of re-training becomes necessary to break bad habits induced by a bad ergonomic design so that the better experience brought on by a good ergonomic design is accepted.

    #39574

    JMH26
    Participant

    Greetings to all & Happy Thanksgiving to you.

    The question asked "do these somatic [therapy & behavior] interventions get weighted equally with interventions that alter the system being interfaced with? ".    Here are my thoughts/opinions – "take what you want,,…"

    I have had reason to ponder the thoughts expressed in the replies. After reading them again I conclude that no, the subjective, individual does not get "weighted".  The system designer (macro ergonomics) would use population based data to develop the system and make design decisions to include some  variations as feasible based upon constraints (cost, time, materials, etc).  Hopefully the design would guide or encourage better human movements and judgements/decisions and discourage bad movements and poor judgement/decisions.

    The interventionist (microergonomics) then has the task to change the individual to the environment, or make small specific changes to the design.  You, as the interventionist,  would teach/train the person in better movements/judgements/decisions to address requirements and limitations of the design.

    In my experience, the first thing everyone (managers, supervisors, engineers, maintenance, case managers, OHN, etc) looks for to be tried – is to change the individual.  However, if a number of individuals get hurt, then the deisgn might be altered. 

    Jim Herzog.

    Jim Herzog

    Occupational Therapist

    #39586

    glen_smith
    Participant

    Unfortunately you are correct for the way in which problems get dealt with. It is usually dealt with training etc first as it is a cheap option.

     

    Have a good Christmas

    Cheers Glen

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