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Being ergonomically correct means more than simply avoiding physical injury. This common-sense science touches on all aspects of the physical and psychosocial work environment

Ergonomic Assessment

Ergonomics represents a tool whereby can enhance the performance of employees by improving comfort, reducing the physical strain associated with their jobs, and improving their efficiency. The International Human Factors Consulting organization can design, provide assistive technology or work with a program to accomplish this in a logical and cost-effective manner. IHFC will help you create:

  • an ergonomically-correct work environment,
  • a work force properly trained in the principles of ergonomics,
  • a self-sustaining ergonomics system within your organization.
  • a customized ergonomics program to suit your need

The ergonomic services provided by IHFC are detailed below:

(The following is an example of work: we value our customers in providing a customized work approach)

 

1. ON-SITE ERGONOMIC EVALUATION 

The ergonomist spends time in your office environment evaluating the physical and social work environment based on established ergonomic guidelines and principles. This will include measurements of workstations, measurement of lighting and other aspects of the physical environment and assessment of psychosocial aspects the work place via interviews with employees and management. Based on this assessment, the ergonomist will prepare for you a prioritized action plan of ergonomic controls, including engineering controls, administrative controls, and training controls. 

Deliverables would include:

  • Prioritized action plan based on identified ergonomic issues and appropriate controls
  • Development of any customized training required by Agents

 

2. ERGONOMICS TRAINING

An emphasis of the IHFC Ergonomics approach is maximizing the extent to which employees can effectively use the existing work environment. This is accomplished through the development of an ergonomics training program that shows how to achieve desired ergonomic objectives through behavioral changes. General ergonomic principles such as the neutral posture, preferred viewing angles, etc., are demonstrated using the office equipment the employee uses. Hands-on practice is provided to insure that the employee understands the principles. The responsibilities of the worker, in terms of fitness and off-work activities, are emphasized.

Deliverables include:

  • Provide training materials to employees
  • Deliver training program to employees.

 

3. ERGONOMICS PROGRAM DEVELOPMENT AND MANAGEMENT 

Ergonomics is an ongoing process, and the ergonomist can help your office establish an ergonomics program, or work with an existing program. An effective ergonomics program will consist of the following elements:

  • Ergonomic and Health and Safety team facilitating and training
  • Passive and active health surveillance
  • Job analysis and design
  • Medical management
  • Ergonomics Training.

The ergonomist will determine how well these elements are being met within an existing program framework, and provide assistance in ongoing monitoring of the program. For a new program, the ergonomist will work with management in selecting and training an ergonomics team, writing an ergonomics plan for the organization, establishing priorities and seeing that they are carried out. In essence, the ergonomist will become an active and valuable member of the team.

Deliverables include:

  • Evaluation of current state of ergonomics program
  • Assistance in selection of ergonomics team
  • Training ergonomics team in ergonomic assessment methods and control strategy development
  • Ongoing evaluation of program to document it’s effectiveness and make modifications as required.

 

4. NEW FACILITY DESIGN / SITE OPTIMIZATION

International Human Factors Consulting will work with your facility design team to insure that the new facility meets all applicable ergonomic guidelines. This will include:

  • Recommending space requirements in the facility based on workstation/job type and job requirements.
  • Identifying resources to provide equipment for the facility, ranging from chairs and workstations to lighting systems and computer systems.
  • Developing any necessary training materials for employees entering the new facility
  • Review of facility plan to optimize layout
  • Assistance in identification and selection of vendors to provide equipment and services.
  • Development of necessary training programs to facilitate entry of new employees into facility.

Furthermore, IHFC has developed an ergonomics program that has been successfully implemented in a variety of office environments including many Call Centres across Canada and the United States. The program is built around an ergonomic assessment of the environment inducted by our ergonomist. The assessment documents the presence of the ergonomic risk factors discussed previously in a given office environment. Based on this assessment, an ergonomics action plan is developed in order to address the issues. An ergonomics team composed of employees, union representatives and management and fully trained by the ergonomist implementing the action plan.

The team provides as means of making ergonomics a systematic part of future operations. An ergonomics training program for employees has been developed and will be customized and implemented as part of the ergonomics solution.

The office environment and the Call Centre environment ergonomics program is also designed to provide assistance to your organization during the design of any new work environment, including: Working with the design team to provide technical criteria in areas ranging from workspace requirements to environmental conditions; assisting in the selection from workspace requirements to environmental conditions, and assisting in the selection, if necessary, of specific ” hardware ” (chairs, workstations, headset, office equipment, etc. ) that will maximize the effectiveness of the environment from it’s inception.

 

5. TASK-BASED CONSULTING.

Often s specific situation or project will occur in which ergonomics is part of the decision-making process. IHFC can provide a high-quality technical resource for any organization during projects including the design of new service carts, the design of new handling systems, the selection of new Call Centres or Office furniture, and numerous other examples. Ergonomics consulting services can include the evaluation of all task requirements for a given job, in order to identify and prioritize ergonomic risk factors and develop a comprehensive action plan.

 

6. Physical Ability Testing.

There are situations where engineering g solutions to reduce physical demands of a job may not be available. In this situation, Physical Ability Testing (PAT) may be an effective control strategy. PAT consists of quantifying the physical requirements of the job through ergonomic analysis, and then developing a series of strength, endurance, and/or agility tests based on the documented job demands. Medical providers are selected by the customer to administer the PAT battery, and IHFC, will train the medical provider in the administration of the PAT battery. The organization would send job applicants to the testing site where the PAT battery will be administered. The PAT results will be compared to the job demands; if the capacities of the applicant do not meet the job demands, the applicant will not be hired. The program will be developed based on all prevailing legal requirements for physical testing of job applicants, and the organization will be provided all documentation associated with the program’s development and implementation.

 

7. Individual Assessment & Consultation Services.

Determining computer Interaction options, discovering comfortable work positions, evaluating hand-writing aids, exploring telephone alternatives, creating accessible filing methods, and encouraging positive outcomes.

 

8. Individual Job Accommodation & Return to Work Planning.

Identifying barriers, clarifying expectations and maintaining confidentiality, understanding work environments, testing relevant options, implementing effective solutions monitoring results, communicating outcomes

 

9. Individual Training & Support Services

Developing unique approaches to ergonomics, trying out customized options and development and learning to use new tools, adapting to changes and meeting workplace demands.

 

10. Solution Implementation & Development.

Searching for unique technology and partnering with providers. Developing of customized office equipment or work related items. Job and work evaluation.

 

11. Corporate Consultation Services.

Managing disability related projects, accommodating employees, returning injured workers and controlling loss-time costs re-designing workplaces for morale improvement.

12. Corporate Seminars

Presenting ergonomic principles and improving workplace health utilizing existing workstations and encouraging employee awareness doing work differently.

 

13. General Business Consulting.

General consulting in your environment, physical and psychosocial, productivity issues, efficiency issues, turnover and health risks.

 

14. Indoor Air Quality

International Human Factors can provide basic Indoor Air Quality expertises with ability, through our partners to investigate, test and correct IAQ problems such as mold, bacteria, chemicals, allergens, asbestos, lead and more.

If your employees or building occupants are complaining of poor air quality or increased illnesses as colds, flu, asthma, weakness, burning eyes, itching skin, rashes, sore throats, allergies, lethargy, or headaches, then there is a possibility this could be Building Related Disease or Sick Building Syndrome and although the cost of Industrial Hygiene or Complete AIQ is often unattainable at first during primary investigations, IHFC can provide preliminary information to identify possible issues or concerns which may warrant further investigations.

IHFC can inspect your offices, building’s environment for evidence of mold or found chemicals that may be adversely affecting building occupants. Our services include air quality testing, including evidence of mycotoxins and endotoxins, thorough building inspections (may be done in air handlers, filters, ductwork, crawl spaces, attics, rooftops, air intakes, and exhausts).

Our objective is to identify potential concerns and if issues are found, specific actions needed to correct the situation will be offered. In many cases, local expertise can correct the problem with the use of some remediation, especially in the case of mold and bacteria contamination. If not, IHFC’s partners can offer more involved research and solutions to your organization.

International Human Factors’ Initial Survey

  • 1. As part of our Corporate Ergonomic Assessments, Indoor Air Quality can be measured for HVAC efficiency, thermal differential, relative humidity and issues that can adversely affect your employees.
  • 2. In addition to our main ergonomic services, IHFC can provide you with results showing presence of carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, and volatile organic compounds. These parameters are measured with direct reading instruments.

Additionally, a basic review of the indoor environment which and may including the following actions can be offered. Ammonia- Hydrogen sulfide- Chlorine- Sulfur dioxide- Nitrogen dioxide- Acetylene- Carbon monoxide- Ethylene- Phosphine- Hydrogen- Methylmercaptan- Propylene- Carbon dioxide and more. These are measures with testing equipment and results in +- ppm.

Furthermore, a vast range of specific gases or vapours can be measured (Halogenated hydrocarbons- hydrogen chloride and nitrogen dioxide. As well formaldehyde, asbestos, acrolein, acetaldehyde, etc.

Peliminary information gathering & fact finding will be completed to obtain information on the building, its systems, occupants, activities, complaints (if any) and illnesses (if any). While on-site, investigation of general environmental conditions which could influence the Indoor Air Quality in the areas of study. An inspection also will be made of the systems supplying these areas.

Mold/fungus testing can be performed to test for the presence of airborne microorganisms and above chemical agents, along with any others, if identified during the preliminary information gathering, will be sampled. If any substances are found in all of the above tests or others, air samples will be collected not only from the area of concern, but also from non-complaint area and/or from outdoors, for comparison purposes.

Findings will be provided in the ergonomic report and suggested action items for further investigations will been identified. International Human Factors provides only basic review and preliminary identification of concerns, expert witness or litigation support is provided under legal action by partners such as Athlantic Environment Inc or Bonhomme Inc.

 

OTHER IN DEPTH INVESTIGATION by Partners

Where situations cannot be resolved by International Human Factors, and the extent of the problem is greater than anticipated, or more testing and evaluation is necessary, a Phased Investigation can be performed. Each situation is unique, cost will be reviewed (approximately $2500 to $4000.00 per day, perhaps less or more depending on the work required) but the following are some of the tests that could be performed from our partners.

More extensive examination of the interior of the HVAC System including opening ductwork (we can cut openings that can later be sealed) and test for molds, bacteria or chemicals.

Continuous monitoring of basic air quality parameters (CO2, CO, Temp. RH) – 24 hrs/day for up to 14 days. Testing and analysis of airborne bacteria;/fungi (Bioaerosols), specific mycotoxins or endotoxins. Microscopic assays – Air-O-Cells and Transparent Tape Imprints for mold mold, bacteria, fibers, dander, or pollen. Particulate assays – microscopic identification of fibers, pollens, fungi, or asbestos. Chemical assays – Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC’s), specific chemicals and identification of unknowns including Industrial Hygiene. Indoor allergens – dust mites, cat and dog dander, cockroach allergens, endotoxins.

 

REMEDIATION

Once problems have been identified, IHFC or our partners can participate in corrective measures. Using AEI’s internal staff or other affiliate organizations, necessary corrective measures or recommend reputable contractors can be performed. This includes:

Mold Remediations, Bacterial Decontamination using State of the Art control methods. Oversight and project management of abatement or remediation. Chemical removal, clean-up as part of a Phase II project. Asbestos and lead abatement by licensed and reputable contractors under strict supervision by qualified project monitors and sampling technicians. Final air sampling, mold or bacteria sampling, chemical analysis to insure clean-up was complete.