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What's HOT in Ergonomics
A Driver Safety Program from AARP that focuses on proper fitting of a person in a car
Posted April 2008
"CarFit" is a community based educational program that has been
created and designed in conjunction with the American Society on Aging
in collaboration with the American Association of Retired Persons
(AARP), American Automotive Association (AAA) and American Occupational
Therapy Association (AOTA).
Trained volunteers take a "CarFit" participant through a
12-point checklist designed to help older drivers find their best fit in
their vehicle. A best fit includes making sure the mirrors are adjusted
properly to reduce blind spots, adjusting the headrest to reduce
injuries in case of a crash, adjusting the seat properly so you can
reach your gas, brake and clutch, but still have enough room for the
airbag to deploy, etc. A practitioner also reviews the checklist with
the driver and may demonstrate and recommend adaptive devices that can
help drivers find their best fit.
The whole process takes only 20 minutes; older drivers leave the
event with a copy of their checklist and a list of community resources
to help them. To sign up for a "CarFit" event happening near you, visit www.car-fit.org.
To find the closest AARP driver safety class, visit:
CarFit Exam 12-point checklist
Topics from the Journals and Websites
Low back pain recovery slow; and worse for those on compensation
Research that should encourage Prevention as the best treatment for MSD's -Ed.
Contrary to current guidelines and common belief, new research published in The British Medical Journal
has shown that recovery from low back pain is much slower than
previously thought and even slower again for those with a compensable
Australian researchers at The George Institute for International Health
proved that prognosis from acute (or recent) lower back pain is not as
favorable as claimed in clinical practice guidelines and challenges the
common belief that 90% of patients recover within four to six weeks,
with our without treatment.
"These are extremely important results because they confirm that low
back pain is a significant health problem and that there is substantial
room for improvement in its management," said Professor Maher. "We found
that recovery from low back pain was typically much slower than
previously reported - nearly one third of patients did not recover from
the original episode within a year."
Professor Chris Maher, The George Institute, Australia and colleagues
studied 973 patients with acute low back pain for one year. Each was
managed by their preferred clinician; a doctor, physiotherapist or
chiropractor, who followed treatment guidelines established by
Australia's National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC).
These new findings show that even with treatment, after two months
only 50% had fully recovered from the original episode of pain. At one
year about 40% reported that their back was still causing them pain.
"These results challenge the accepted view that recovery is rapid
following an episode of acute low back pain. For many people back pain
becomes a long-term problem that severely impacts their life. This is
despite receiving what we think is the best possible care. We clearly
need to rethink our approach," Professor Maher added.
The strongest predictor of delayed recovery was if the episode of low
back pain was compensable: compensation halved the chances of recovery.
"The results also highlight that we should review our compensation
system because people within this system do much worse than those
outside of it."
(i) Martin BI, Deyo RA, Mirza SK, Turner JA, Comstock BA, Hollingworth
W, et al. Expenditures and health status among adults with back and
neck problems. JAMA. 2008 Feb 13;299(6):656-64.
Contact: Emma Orpilla
The Government Corner
You may not have the opportunity to do a job hazard analysis (JHA's)
in a Hot Dog factory but they are needed. Check out the "link" below to
see an analysis and report from NIOSH that was done in May of this year.
You'll "relish" the information.
The take home message is not only that this problem is being
addressed by NIOSH but you should take a look at this report as to how
it is written. You will see how a JHA report should look like. By saving
this report, you could use it as a template for doing your own
employers / companies JHA's irregardless of what their product maybe.
Copy this address on your web browser for the whole article:
Then scroll down to "Health Hazard Evaluation: Evaluation of Potential
Musculoskeletal Hazard" and click on the article. I think you will find
this report useful.
An article by Laura Walter published in Ergoweb on July 22nd 2008
titled "Carpal Tunnel Culprits for Commuters" found that Carpal Tunnel
Syndrome affects people who spend long periods commuting or using cell
The article recommended drivers keeping their hands in line with their
elbows and hands at the nine and three o'clock positions. Thus avoiding
wrists being held out of neutral positions. The same is felt to be true
of individuals who hold cell phones. The article also recommended that
wrist splints that "force the wrist to remain in a straight position
could be beneficial for drivers who spend long hours behind the wheel."
It is the opinion of the BSOA Newsletter editor that wearing splints
while driving an automobile may place the driver at risk due to reduced
motion available to the wrists during emergency maneuvers. Rather the
case should be made for Ergo or rest breaks to be incorporated into long
driving scenarios. Also the positioning of hands at the eight and five
o'clock points and/or the use of armrests would be better choices or
options to the splints.
Did you know...?
There are 45 miles of nerves in the skin of a human being.
There are 60,000 miles of blood vessels in the human body.
Now do you appreciate the Nutrient Pathway a little more?
Ergo Websites, Ergo Products, gadgets and doodads
For people who enjoy working in their gardens but are limited by wrist
or hand pain, there are several companies that make ergonomic garden
tools. One of the better designs is called an Easi-Grip Arm Support
Cuff. The adaptor accepts several of the tools that the Wright Stuff
company sells and allows the shoulder and elbow to decrease the strain
on the wrist and hand.
This is a handy garden tool to protect the wrist and hand and
comes with several attachments. If you would never go outside to try
one of these, I hope you have a good alternative relaxation strategy in
place. Remember, stress reduction is part of ergonomics too.
This newsletter produced in association with ERGOCATION, LLC.
VOLUME I, ISSUE 2|
In this issue:
• What's HOT in Ergonomics
• Topics from the Journals and Websites
• The Government Corner
• Ergo Science
• Did you know...
• Ergo Websites, Ergo Products, gadgets and doodads
Robert Niklewicz, PT, DHSc, CIE, CEAS
Ronald W. Porter, PT, CEAS
Director, Back School of Atlanta