ERGONOMICS AND ENTREPRENEURSHIP
As an ergonomic marketing consultant and product inventor, I imagine that being an entrepreneur is about taking your desire and passion to create a service or product that can make this world a greater place. Because of rising well being care and staff’ compensations prices, there was a growing want for therapists to become concerned with ergonomic consulting. In addition, product growth within the field of ergonomics is an emerging niche with limitless potential. Whether your business is consulting, offering seminars and certification, being an professional witness, creating video tasks, promoting, or evaluating or creating products, there are numerous alternatives for growth. As an professional witness in ergonomics, consultants are beginning to see the necessity for a extensive variety of testimony. For example, there have been circumstances in which an individual has sued a producer, claiming that she or he developed a cumulative trauma disorder (CTD) as a end result of poor ergonomic design. There are also many situations by which an skilled witness will act as an authority in workplace ergonomics for either facet. Such experts could use their information of anatomy, physiology, biomechanics, and job task evaluation to determine if the particular claim is legitimate. Another alternative is as an professional witness advisor; these people can examine whether a lawsuit is valid by evaluating the job tasks and work calls for to find out if an damage might have been caused by a job.
In ergonomics consulting specifically, there are tons of opportunities to work with firms and government organizations. One bodily therapist turned ergonomist, Allison Heller-Ono of Worksite International, has turn into one of the well-known ergonomics experts in the business and has turned her Developing an Ergonomic Process information right into a coaching program for therapists interested in turning into entrepreneurs. Ms. Heller-Ono’s strategy is unique in the respect that she will go into a company and look toward altering the corporate tradition to one that’s more aware of ergonomics through the use of an idea called participatory ergonomics (see Chapter three, Macroergonomics). This idea is utilized to a small group of employees who’re skilled to work as a staff to carry out preventative evaluations and identify ergonomic problems or workers with discomfort early, earlier than their signs become a CTD.
A growing pattern for ergonomic consultants is integrating expertise into the ergonomics process. A company known as Atlas Ergonomics has implemented this concept extremely properly with its clients. Drew Bossen, a physical therapist, has a web-based software that inputs employee info into a database by which the corporate can easily track modifications and the worker’s progress. Another distinctive way Mr. Bossen runs his company is that he costs for his training program for bodily therapists or different certified ergonomists to turn out to be subcontractors for Atlas. Drew has branded Atlas Ergonomics because the “truck driver” and “obesity within the office” specialist. This has included growing an in depth database of truck drivers and designing truck seats, as properly as driver education.
Another avenue of ergonomic consulting is conducting bodily calls for analyses (PDA). These quantify the precise tasks, repetitions, vibration measures, time spent performing the tasks, weight lifted, and/or push and pull forces. When combined with the job description, this may be powerful documentation in implementing a postoffer preemployment screening program. It is important that the therapist work with corporations’ authorized and human assets departments to have the ability to make certain the work demands fall according to their hiring procedures. Once the program is applied, the therapist can work with a local rehabilitation clinic to offer consistent energy as properly as range-of-motion testing. When an individual’s limits are defined, the therapist can clearly place her or him in a job that matches his or her bodily capacity. This can supply substantial savings because most workers have minimized their threat of growing an ergonomic or different harm.
Another function therapists can play is providing “on-site return-to-work and remedy,” which is far more cost-effective and returns an employee to work in as little as half the time of off-site remedy.2 The therapist can present ergonomics education and movement coaching along with this system. Wellness and stress administration is one other space of expertise that therapists can move into fairly simply. Studies report that psychosocial points similar to stress contribute to CTDs, yet this aspect of injury administration is usually overlooked. Programs that a therapist can implement include site wants assessment, wellness surveys, postural retraining, massage/trigger point remedy, on-site health lessons particularly for preventing ergonomic accidents, online wellness packages and knowledge, worker newsletters, weight and nutrition administration, and stretching and strengthening packages.
One example of a complete wellness program may be found on the University of Southern California (USC) Department of Occupational Science and Therapy. The USC Occupational Therapy Faculty Practice focuses on wellness programs and services using the Lifestyle Redesign method to help purchasers construct health-promoting habits and routines. The Lifestyle Redesign course of enables purchasers to realize a selection of health and wellness goals corresponding to lowering ldl cholesterol and blood strain, growing power levels, and reaching satisfaction in their work-life steadiness.
Another instance of this in practice is occupational therapist turned injury prevention specialist Michael Melnik. He works with quite a few giant companies to develop strain and sprain prevention packages that use coaching and education, ergonomics, and stretching and warm-up actions to reduce back accidents. In addition, he has simply launched an online program, HealthEsite.com. Companies purchase entry codes to the location and distribute them to staff. The site incorporates a wide selection of well being, wellness, and harm prevention videos that employees can view at residence.
Michael S. Melnik MS, OTR
President, Prevention Plus, Inc.
President, HealthEsite, LLC.
Type of Corporation: S Corporation
Funding Source: For consulting, no upfront funding was obtained. For movies, Mr. Melnik partnered with corporations and paid them a percentage of the royalties.
Staff Profile: One full-time enterprise growth per-son, one part-time office supervisor, subcontractors as work warrants
Location: Minneapolis, Minnesota
My passion for entrepreneurship developed when I started my first job working in a clinic. Like most organizations, the clinic had its personal thought of what I was alleged to do, once I was supposed to do it, and how a lot they’d pay me to get it done. None of this sat well with me, and I learned one thing crucial throughout my first work experience—I am basically unemployable. Not in the sense that no one would rent me, but unemployable in that I really, really don’t wish to work for anyone. So, despite the fact that I had an excellent boss, worked with great individuals, and had quite a few alternatives to develop my skills, I moved on. Although I worked closely with an entrepreneur for a couple of years after I left the clinic, I had no thought the method to begin a business. Things I had by no means considered before, similar to office space, phone traces, copiers, fax machines, and paper clips, had been all issues I took as a right. Another factor I took without any consideration was purchasers. My previous employers had supplied me with all the work I needed. I now wanted to begin filling the pipeline myself. The good factor was that I knew I appreciated talking. The trick was to search out an viewers. In the start I spoke at Rotary Clubs, the Chambers of Commerce in various communities, and any place that might let me speak. I didn’t cost them, however I had one situation: the audiences had to critique my shows. In short, I was perfecting my abilities and marketing my services at the identical time. Without fail, a few of the audience members would want my card and would invite me to come speak at their corporations. I had no clue 16 years in the past that I could be doing what I am doing at present. In reality, what I provide and how I provide it to purchasers has grown and altered repeatedly and dramatically through the years. It retains me excited and motivated and has my shoppers asking “what’s subsequent.” The latest project is a web-based well being and wellness web site that has led to the development of an entirely new company. My presentations, which have focused for years particularly on security and harm prevention, are now increasing to the gross sales, advertising, and human resources departments of enormous firms. A yr from now, who knows? What I do know is that if I continue to observe my passion and proceed to attempt to get higher at no matter I am doing, a yr from now I will be in the right spot.
What are a few of the traits Mr. Melnik has that make him a profitable entrepreneur?
How does Prevention Plus differentiate itself out there of ergonomic consulting?
Based on his story, how could a therapist transition to changing into an entrepreneur?
Petti Redding, OTR, of the Redding Group, has been profitable with utilizing wellness in her applications. Her approach is to use a technique known as the Human Structural Integrity Model, which uses trigger point deactivation, restoring impartial postural balance and habits modifications. All strategies are taught to the worker by an OT or PT, then the worker does his or her personal therapy using these instructed methods. Depending where within the physique the employee has pain, the employee works with an athletic coach or other instructor to study self-massage, stretches, and strengthening workout routines that prevent the worker’s discomfort from turning into a recognized damage. Ms. Redding’s success speaks for itself; she has had as much as a 90% reduction in ergonomic injuries within a 1-year interval.18
In addition, a therapist might resolve to have his or her own clinic and embody useful capability evaluations within the product line and an ergonomics laboratory for training. Another possibility for the budding entrepreneur in ergonomics is to start a hand remedy clinic and include ergonomic consulting as part of the companies supplied.
Children and Youth
One relatively untapped area of interest market is ergonomics for youngsters. There are many ways to break into working with children, including providing presentations to children and youths, parents, academics, and directors on backpack security, playground design, toy design, furnishings design, ergonomic equipment design, laptop use, and online game positioning and correct tools. You can write a e-book or create posters or workbooks and products for kids. In addition, you could possibly get funding from local firms that wish to help their neighborhood in a positive way.
The Older Population
According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), in 2001 workers in the United States over age 55 represented 18.three million or thirteen.6% of the entire labor force.9 This is necessary to ergonomists and therapists as a end result of as individuals get older, they could expertise a lack of power and a decrease in visible acuity, and we have to design the workspace round these parameters. According to Leeuwenburgh, after age sixty five there is a measurable decrease in muscle energy that can affect a person’s function.14 As an ergonomist, when adjusting the surroundings to mirror the users’ strengths, you might take into consideration special factors such as attain distances and use of assistive expertise to assist with a person’s sight.
In addition, there could be some overlap between the aged inhabitants and people with bodily disabilities. For an entrepreneur in ergonomics, there are numerous avenues for consultation for each populations. These embody guaranteeing Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) compliance for the workplace and home, suggesting kitchen and loo modifications, and conducting displays in neighborhood centers, group homes, and assisted-living facilities.
Ergonomics and Telecommuting
Ergonomics for telecommuters and others working from house can additionally be an rising alternative. A pattern for companies is to have workers telecommute either full-time or part-time to save company sources. Because each residence is unique, these diversified environments necessitate revolutionary product ideas. A therapist working with an organization can develop a customized web page on the corporate’s web site that’s devoted to the distinctive ergonomic wants of telecommuters including driving, workstation setup at residence, and home activities which have ergonomic threat components.