Virtual Ergo Assessments

 Virtual Ergo Assessment

DEKRA's Virtual Ergo Assessment is designed to protect the workforce, whether workers are in the office or on the factory floor, from soft tissue injuries, or what we commonly call sprains, strains and tears.

Soft tissue injuries are most often associated with overexertion from activities that involve forceful, repetitive, and awkward movements. This is also the case in the office, most often from our use of our input devices, such as our keyboards, the desktop mouse, and laptops.

Why is focusing on soft tissue injuries so important? The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and the U.S. Department of Labor report that sprains, strains and tears represent the number one cause of non-fatal workplace injuries.

For organizations, there is also an impact: Up to 62 percent of most U.S. company’s Days Away, Restricted or Transferred (DART) injuries are related to soft tissue at a cost of $54 billion per year!

What is the Virtual Ergo Assessment?

The Virtual Ergo Assessment is a comprehensive assessment that looks at the whole of a person in their work environment, not just a checklist-driven tool found in more traditional assessments. Through remote technology, we can examine the core elements that factor into a person’s soft tissue problems that are causing them great stress. In this way, we go beyond the obvious to create a complete picture of the individual’s mind and body.

This virtual service is available for both office based workers and frontline workers in industry. The assessment is made through virtual technologies, enabling value pricing and quick turnaround time.

The goals of the Virtual Ergo Assessment

We have designed the Virtual Ergo Assessment to look at the person as a whole, not just the physical stressors, but the mental ones as well. In doing so, we have established specific goals that the organization can expect will be met.

1. We will observe work through virtual technologies to identify ergo exposures

2. We will apply DEKRA’s expertise in data analytics and ergonomics to identify specific opportunities to control exposures.

3. We will produce specific recommendations to control ergo exposures for the individual and organization.

Our mind-body approach integrates issues like urgency, job tenure, stress, which means our solutions are not one-size-fits-all. We go beyond the scientific approach to learn directly from workers about their discomfort, how they perform their tasks, their perceptions of control, and their feedback.

You won’t receive just numbers. You will receive an assessment that is nuanced, cohesive, and actionable, no matter the age, capacity, or occupation of your workforce.

Who needs this assessment?

The field of ergonomics recognizes that individuals are different sizes and shapes and aims to fit the work to the worker, rather than force the worker to fit the work. When the work is designed to fit the employee, the work can be performed more safely and efficiently.

For these reasons, the Virtual Ergo Assessment is designed for workers both in the office and in the plant, factory, or warehouse — anywhere where the potential of load exceeding capacity exists. The assessment can also be ordered for one person or for a complete team of workers. The assessment also accommodates workers who are remote at home and not based in the office.

Why the assessment is relevant today

The U.S. is facing an aging workforce more than any other time in its history.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics show that a 40 percent of people ages 55 and older are looking for work and the labor force participation rate is expected to increase fastest for the oldest segments of the population—most notably, people ages 65 to 74 and 75 and older—through 2024. That’s a big difference from decades ago when, between 1970 and the end of the 20th century, older workers represented the smallest segment of the labor force.

Things have changed. By 2024, the BLS projects that the labor force will grow to about 164 million people. That number includes about 41 million people who will be ages 55 and older—of whom about 13 million are expected to be ages 65 and older.

Because people are staying in jobs longer in their lives, they are more likely to experience strains, strains, and tears in their body, or will have developed years of ergonomic stress. They may have coped with this pain in the wrong ways.

The Virtual Ergo Assessment will address this legacy of discomfort and recommend ways to mitigate it so senior workers — and those coming into the workforce — can live healthier lives, be more productive, and ultimately feel better about the work they do every day.

DEKRA’s Ergonomics Leaders

Bruce Madsen

Bruce Madsen, a nearly 40-year veteran in workplace safety, is Vice President of Industrial Ergonomics for DEKRA. In this role, Madsen helps DEKRA implement solutions for addressing exposures contributing to soft tissue injuries. Madsen has been consulting in this space for 38 years and was the founder of Sports Therapy Associates, an injury prevention, risk reduction, peak performance, and safety ROI consulting firm in southern Oregon.

Garnett Payne

Garnett Payne, Ph.D., is a Senior Consultant with DEKRA and Subject Matter Expert. She has 30 years of experience building upon technical knowledge in physiology and ergonomics, capitalizing on growth opportunities with client work, developing a repertoire of talents and skills, building teams, and developing leaders with a theme of guiding companies to control exposures.