Four-Square Ergonomics – Playing it Safe
Dona J. Leonard MS OT CEAS II
Occupational Therapist/Ergonomics Assessment Specialist
Industrial Health Director
Colorado In Motion
Reducing work-related musculoskeletal disorders is a multi-pronged approach
- Ergonomics is a “win-win” for employers and employees – improving productivity by reducing worker fatigue and discomfort.
- Adults benefit from scenario-based learning – applying general principles to specific, daily job tasks.
- A Dynamic Stretch and Micro-Break Program that is “dynamic” can best support worker Awareness and Behavior when it is tied directly to specific job tasks.
- “Four-Square” training which targets four “body quadrants” – low back; shoulders-neck; lower body; elbows-wrists-hands – can help employees learn basic rules for safe body mechanics that can be applied to many job tasks.
- Employee Training – Use the same general principles from best-practice analysis tools to train employees in recognizing risks and change behavior to reduce exposure to risks. These assessments focus on body areas that can be represented as “quadrants” for simple, consistent training that reinforces basic principles of good body mechanics. The “quadrants” approach may assist Employees with even further generalizing training to tasks not previously identified as caution or hazard – as well as to life outside of work.
- Dynamic Stretch and Micro-Break Programs – Tailgate talk, pre-shift or pre-task safety meetings, group head-to-toe stretches and individual quadrant-specific micro-break stretches/exercises.
- Risk Assessment – Revised NIOSH Lifting Equation example - You can’t stretch away the force . . . but you can use stretching to reduce fatigue from STATIC positions and REPETITIVE tasks.
Interactive Workshop and Hand-Out - Summary of key points for safer material handling, above-shoulder/below-knee level work, dynamic stretch & flex exercises, and safe use of elbow/wrist/hand.
Please bring examples from your key job tasks to discuss!