Community-Based Ergonomics Year 3 Ergonomics G Szeto May 2002
What is a “Community” • Children • Adults • Elderlies • Disabled • Homes, schools, community centres • Transportation • Access to buildings Emphasis is on local community
Ergonomics Matching the worker, the job, the tool and the environment
Employee/ worker : reduce risk of injury better job satisfaction Employer : Reduced payments for compensation Less staff turnover Increased productivity Users Community, organisations, institutions Benefits of ergonomics
Examples of Ergonomic Projects • Can you think of some of the student projects that can be considered examples of ergonomic projects for the community?
Community needs: Elderly:mobility, access, activities Adult:Work, leisure (sports), daily activities (home, office, community places) Child: school, leisure Disabled persons: school, work, mobility Ergonomic interventions: identify problems conduct assessment provide recommendations conduct training, education health promotion modifications of environment, tools, work organisation Product design Matching community needs with ergonomic interventions
Example 1: • You are a physiotherapist employed by a new nursing home. Your job duty includes designing the space and equipment of the physiotherapy department. The head of the nursing home also wants your input into the design of the accommodation area of the residents. • How will you go about doing this ? • Can your knowledge in ergonomics be used here?
The Person(s) • What are the characteristics of the elderly residents? Physical, psychosocial, behavioural.. • What are their needs? persons with arthritis, neurological problems, orthopaedic problems, dementia • What will they be doing? Physiotherapy dept activities, equipment,… • Residential area - what opinion can you offer to the administrator of nursing home?
The “Work” (Activities) & the Environment • Physiotherapy department - treatment equipment, • Furniture - beds, chairs, • Facilities - doorways, toilets, access, • Organisation of activities - matching with organisation of space
Designing workstations, access in buildings, public places for wheelchair users
Anthropometric data on disabled persons • Pheasant (1986): Bodyspace • Kumar (Ed): “Perspectives in Rehabilitation Ergononomics”: Chapter 12, Anthropometry for the needs of disabled people • Databases on wheelchair users (mostly spinal cord injuries):Sitting heights, reach heights, wc width and depth • Elderly persons : seating measurements, bars/rails in corridors, access/support in toileting, bathing facilities
Integrate your knowledge and apply them.. • Anthropometric factors • Work organisation • Biomechanics • Disease and Pathology • EPT modalities • Exercise therapy • Assistive devices • How the workers/users are matched with the work/activities and the environment
Example 2: Transportation in Hong Kong • Essential part of community life • How can knowledge of ergonomics be applied? • Do you see evidence of this knowledge being applied? • Can you have a dual role of physiotherapist as well as ergonomist? • Why would the bus co. consult you instead of somoone from another profession, e.g. engineer?
Examples of research studies • Courtney, AJ and Wong MH. ( 1985). Anthropometry of the Hong Kong male and the design of bus driver cabs. Applied Ergonomics, 16(4), 259-266. • Examined the matching of the anthropometric factors of Hong Kong male chinese bus drivers with the design of the driver’s seat, steering wheel etc which are mainly designed for overseas drivers
What are the important considerations? • Access • Movements within the vehicle • Support to body in appropriate places • Comfort in travel -seats design, arrangement • Physical sizes of passengers • Carrying capacity • What else?
Consideration of different aspects of sitting posture Consideration of anthropometric factors in different populations - males, females, children, elderly
The Issues of Seating • Elderly persons • Persons with disability • Normal healthy populations : user groups • public transport • restaurants • buildings, facilities (e.g.sport arena) • dental patients • offices • schools
Methods to study the problem of seating • Subjective discomfort • Biomechanical studies : • distribution of pressure on the seat • pressures in the lumbar spine, alignment in the lumbar spine • movements in and out of chair • design of chair to match job, activity, environment
Economy Class Syndrome • Lots of media attention: Is it something new? • Drawing attention to ergonomic needs • Seating issue - different work situations, non-stop sitting for entire shift • Space is a big problem in Hong Kong • Back problems, knee problems, in addition to circulation problems • Can you think of some jobs that are prone to this problem?
Examples of student projects in other institutions • http://ergo.human.cornell.edu/HotelEzra/hecwebpage/hotelergo.html
Example 3: Ergonomics for School Children • Problems identified: • school bags • school furniture • school activities • school buildings • Matching the “student” with the “work”
Task Workstation Environment Psycho-social Posture Vision Visual Discomfort Musculoskeletal Discomfort Growth and Health of Child/Adult
Potential harmful effects of Intensive computer use • Musculoskeletal discomfort/injuries • Musculoskeletal growth - structural changes, postural changes • Visual discomfort visual impairment • Psychosocial skills - social interactions with people • some mental/motor skills enhanced but other skills neglected
2 computer rooms in a secondary school
Example 4: Community-based health education project • March 2000 • Office workers’ health promotion campaign • jointly organised by dept of RS and Clerical and Professional Employees’ Assoc • Series of activities: Outdoor Exhibition Office workers’ health promotion day Press conference and open forum
Office Workers’ Health Promotion Day • Education talk • Demonstration of exercises • Assessment of posture & ROM • Display of VDU furniture (& accessories) and assessment of suitable chair and desk height • Questionaire survey • Counselling
Outcome • Whole campaign - over 2000 persons reached • Health promotion day - over 200 attended • Newspaper writeup - 9-10 newspapers • Good example of promotion of the concept and awareness to general public • Continuation of activities • Questionaire survey - generated useful data
Future opportunities • Community based ergonomics: focus more on users instead of workers • Health promotion among community • Promotion of ergonomics among working populations and community groups • Increasing awareness of ergonomics • Increasing demand for ergonomic services
Applying ergonomic principles to USER GOURPS in addition to workers Community Ergonomics
Potential areas of development for PT and OT • Specialising in treatment of work injuries and work rehabilitation programs • Education and promotion of occupational safety and health • Worksite analysis and consultancy • Ergonomics for community groups • Research • education/training Consultancy research Education Product Design & Marketing