The Impact of Physical Therapy Delivered Ergonomics in the Workplace: A Narrative Review
Keywords:ergonomics, work-related musculoskeletal injuries, injury prevention, risk management.
With the emergence of work-related musculoskeletal injuries and the associated high cost of injured
workers, physical therapists are in a unique position to help employers manage these concerns through
injury prevention programs, education, ergonomics, on-site treatment to include exercise instruction and
manual intervention, and return to work programs. The purpose of this literature review is to highlight
the effectiveness a physical therapist can have on employee health and the prevention of work-related
musculoskeletal disorders. In terms of results, when ergonomic interventions were applied, employers saw
decreased injuries, increased productivity, decreased costs associated with direct and in-direct costs of workrelated
injuries, improvements in return-to-work performance, and decrease absenteeism in employees.
However, as the interventions described in this report were generally found to be quite heterogeneous, it
should also be recognized that general conclusions about the effectiveness of these interventions should be
done with care. It is important to ensure that payers, employers and employees are aware of the crucial role
physical therapists can play in occupational health. Physical therapists also need to advocate for their role in
occupational health and offer expert care to workers in a non-traditional manner.
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