Ultrasound Ergonomics - A practical guideDate: 16 August 2012
Musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) are a significant problem in most occupational groups and a major cause of sickness absence and ill-health. For many years, professional ergonomists at the IOM have been involved in advising industry sectors and individual employers on work and workplace design issues to try and reduce the risk of such injuries.
Those carrying out diagnostic ultrasound examinations are no exception to this problem and Toshiba Medical Systems recently commissioned the expert services of Dr Richard Graveling, Principal Ergonomics Consultant and Head of Human Sciences at the IOM to take an objective look at the ergonomics of ultrasound procedures and write a practical guide on this subject. Richard is a Fellow, as well as President-Elect, of the Institute of Ergonomics and Human Factors, in the UK, with over 30 years experience in the understanding and practical prevention of work-related musculoskeletal disorders.
Dr Graveling reports in this paper that his findings suggest the occupational use of ultrasound systems, on a regular basis, does not necessarily cause such disorders. It is not always easy to differentiate between an activity which causes a disorder and one which provokes symptoms when the disorder already exists. That is of little consolation for the individuals who find themselves unable to continue in their chosen profession because of the pain they suffer. This practical guide looks at where ultrasound procedures are performed; what equipment is used; and how they are performed; providing advice and guidance to help those undertaking these procedures on a regular basis to reduce the risk of the musculoskeletal pain and discomfort associated with their work.
The work for this guide was undertaken in the Ultrasound Department at the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary and facilitated by Mrs Lynn MacKenzie, Superintendent Sonographer. From Toshiba Medical Systems, Tracey Bellas (Applications Specialist), Alan Wright (Ultrasound Sales Specialist) and Tim Palarm (Branch Manager, Ultrasound Products) also participated in this project.
'Ultrasound Ergonomics - A practical guide to reducing the risk of musculoskeletal disorders' can be found at Toshiba's 'myaplio' microsite ergonomics page http://myaplio.com/ergonomics/