HFN consultants are Toronto’s foremost experts in office ergonomics. HFN looks at the office environment as a system, analyzing:
- The worker’s history of musculoskeletal signs and symptoms
- Design and organization of tasks the office worker performs
- Layout of the office workstation, including keyboard, chair and monitor, etc.
- Environmental factors including lighting, temperature, and noise
- Psychosocial factors
HFN’s two most popular office assessment services are:
- A detailed office assessment
- A more concise ergonomic review
Both services involve on-site observation and data collection, workstation adjustments and job coaching/education. The data analysis stage involves comparison to scientific ergonomic guidelines and standards (CSA-Z412, BIFMA, IESNA). Practical recommendations are provided in a report that outlines aspects such as workstation layout and design, furniture, equipment and accessories, as well as work organization, psychosocial factors, environmental factors, and work practices. A product appendix is included.
HFN’s consultants have been exposed to a wide variety of work environments, including offshore oil platforms, nuclear facilities, automotive facilities, chemical and precious metal refineries, hospitals, nursing homes, retail settings, warehouses/distribution centres, greenhouses, food service centres, and food processing plants. This exposure enables them to effectively identify ergonomics-related risk factors, musculoskeletal (MSD) hazards and formulate practical solutions. HFN’s MSD risk assessments comprise three tasks:
- Document review and data collection: On-site data collection includes observations and an examination of the work routine. Frequency and pace are studied and measurements of weights, forces, heights, angles, and reaches are made for subsequent analysis. Equipment used during the assessment may include a force gauge dynamometer, camera (still/video), weigh scale, stopwatch, tape measure, light meter, and goniometer.
- Data Analysis: Data collected are compiled and compared to ergonomic guidelines, standards, best practice and scientific studies. Recommendations are developed to reduce and prevent injury risk and improve productivity. Practical solutions are proposed for the short, medium and long-term.
- Technical Report and Follow-up: Practical recommendations covering engineering, administrative and behavioural controls are presented in a concise format and are outlined as short, medium or long-term to assist with planning and budgeting.
The purpose of the Physical Demands Analysis (PDA) and Cognitive Demands Analysis (CDA) is to collect and record information in regards to the demands of the job as a whole. A detailed analysis considers all of the demands placed on the worker, including:
- Physical demands
- Cognitive demands
- Environmental impact
- Equipment and tool interaction
A PDA or CDA can have many valuable applications. It may be used in returning employees to work, accommodating employees, implementing a rotation of duties, assisting as a tool for ergonomic assessments and providing valuable information to health care providers and claims adjudicators/representatives. HFN’s PDAs/CDAs include detailed on-site data collection measuring aspects such as forces, weight, heights, reaches, movement frequencies and durations, and mental demands to provide an accurate report that outlines the demands and the tasks performed.
HFN is available to assist at various stages of design including the build, install and commissioning stages. This has involved the review of preliminary drawings, providing ergonomic input based on drawing reviews, and meetings with architects, builders, contractors, designers and end users to communicate the ergonomic requirements. HFN has worked with industrial designers during the development of new products and equipment that has involved ergonomic input into everyday devices. These projects have involved usability testing, which has consisted of focus groups, mock-ups, user trials, designing feedback questionnaires, and modifications to design iterations.
Ergonomics training and education can be developed and delivered for any environment and any level of an organization. Target audiences can include: work floor employees, office employees, health & safety committees, managers, supervisors, and professionals in design, engineering or administration. Examples of HFNs pre-developed and customised training sessions include:
- 1-hour office ergonomics awareness training
- Work floor and tailgate talks
- Support at wellness fairs
- Safe manual material handling seminars
- MSD awareness and work practice training
- Multi-day train-the-trainer and ergonomic assessment skills development courses
All courses can be tailored to the needs of the client, audience and environment. Education employs strategies for effective learning and is delivered using active dialogue, relevant examples and participant input. Online training is available.
A one-on-one virtual assessment with a Canadian Certified Professional Ergonomist (CCPE) that aims to optimize the comfort of remote or home office set-ups, improve productivity, and help protect workers from musculoskeletal discomfort (e.g., shoulder pain, neck pain, etc). This efficient assessment uses a popular video conferencing platform such as FaceTime, Zoom, Skype, etc.
This service includes:
- A 30 to 45 minute video assessment of the workstation layout and job tasks
- Job coaching and practical work tips on how to best set-up a home workstation
- A summary report outlining feedback and recommendations from the session
The purpose of an ergonomic audit is to provide an objective assessment of the existing ergonomic status of the client’s work environment versus ergonomic standards and guidelines. Working with the client, HFN consultants aim to learn about aspects such as existing policies and practices, injury statistics, and work place layout and design to identify areas of compliance and recommend future needs.
HFN consultants are experienced in working with Joint Health and Safety Committees, management, unions and front-line workers to develop ergonomic programs that meet the unique needs of their clients. HFN develops action plans with attainable goals and objectives from which to manage and gauge success. Elements of an ergonomics program contain, but are not limited to:
- Looking for signs of potential musculoskeletal problems in the workplace
- Gathering data to identify jobs or work conditions that are most problematic
- Identifying effective controls for tasks that pose a risk of musculoskeletal injury
- Minimizing risk factors for musculoskeletal disorders when planning new work processes and operations
HFN consultants can provide consultation on existing materials, as well as support the implementation of existing materials. In addition to on-site activities, options such as video conferencing can be explored to reduce travel costs, if needed.
HFN can assist clients in matching recommendations of ergonomic assessments with employees’ capabilities and/or restrictions. These assessments typically comprise four tasks: document review, meeting and observation and data collection, data analysis/comparison of demands/abilities, and recommendations.