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Ergonomics Paper

Ergonomics Paper



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Published by: jaymin1 on Nov 10, 2009
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Risk Factors, MSDs, Approaches and Interventions
A Report of the Ergonomics and DisabilitySupport Advisory Committee (EDSAC) to
Council on Dental Practice (CDP)
 EDSAC Committee Members
Dr. Max M. Martin, (CDP) committee chair, Lincoln, NebraskaDr. David Ahearn, Westport, MassachusettsDr. Jack Gotcher (Council on Scientific Affairs alternate representative to EDSAC)Mr. Scott W. Smith, Irvine, CaliforniaDr. Connie M. Verhagen, (consultant), Muskegon, MichiganDr. Amid Ismail (
Council on Scientific Affairs representative to EDSAC
), Ann Arbor, MichiganDr. Richard L. Jankowski, Lansing, MichiganDr. William J. Sullivan, MD, Aurora, Colorado
 CDP Staff Support
Mr. James Y. Marshall, director, Council on Dental Benefit Programs and Council onDental PracticeDr. Donald Collins, senior manager, Special Projects, Council on Dental PracticeMr. Jerome K. Bowman, assistant general counsel, Division of Legal Affairs
© 2004 American Dental Association
Risk Factors, MSDs, Approaches and Interventions
Council on Dental Practice
Table of Contents
Section 1: IntroductionSection 2: Ergonomic Risk Factors in GeneralSection 3: Types of MSDsSection 4: InterventionsBIBLIOGRAPHY
: This paper is intended to provide general background information onergonomic issues. The paper does not constitute policy of the American DentalAssociation, establish a standard of care, or restrict a dentist’s exercise of professional judgment. Nor does it provide dental practice, legal, or other professional advice; readersmust consult with their own professional advisors for such advice. The Association makesno warranty, express or implied, and assumes no legal liability for the accuracy orusefulness or of any information provided in the paper, or of any product or servicedisclosed.Recommendations in the report are based on suggestions and scientific evidence publishedin the literature. However, there are limitations regarding the current state of evidence inthe field of ergonomics. There are no randomized controlled trials to test the efficacy of design recommendations on preventing ergonomic injuries. A number of therecommendations are based on experiential observations and on analysis of injury reports.While such reports are useful, they are not free from bias. Hence, the recommendationmade in Section 4 (
) should be considered as suggestions. The efficacy of these suggestions may not be validated by well-controlled scientific studies.
This paper attempts to provide both important background and practical advice to dentistsinterested in addressing ergonomic issues in the workplace. It is divided into sections, soreaders looking for practical suggestions can go directly to the relevant section of the paper.Similarly, readers interested in citations to the literature need not review the entiredocument.This paper focuses on ergonomic risk factors, the various types of musculoskeletaldisorders (MSD), and practical approaches to ergonomic issues in the workplace. Thescope of this paper is intentionally limited, for a variety of reasons. The study of ergonomics is exceedingly difficult because so many factors can contribute to anyparticular case of a MSD. One key area of uncertainty is often whether the MSD is work related or is attributable to non-work factors (or is attributable to some combination of both). To the extent a definite or even probable answer to that question is possible, itcertainly can only be answered on a case-by-case basis. Such an inquiry is beyond thescope of this paper.Rather, this paper sets forth broad important background information on ergonomics so thatthe dental practitioner can have a general awareness of ergonomic risk factors as well assome basis for understanding the on-going national dialogue about ergonomics, itsdiagnosis, treatment, and regulation. This paper does not try to identify any particularcondition or factor as responsible for MSDs in dentistry. That too is beyond the scope of this paper.Finally, and perhaps more importantly, this paper provides specific steps a dentist maywish to consider taking relative to ergonomic concerns. The proposals contained in thispaper are designed to make the practitioner both more comfortable and more productive.These ideas may prove to be helpful regardless of whether the practitioner is experiencingan MSD or whether the MSD is work related.This paper makes no recommendation for best practices relating to ergonomics anddentistry. Rather, it provides alternatives to be considered by the practitioner in light of thepractitioner’s own circumstances, experiences and goals. A practitioner wishing toimprove his or her work environment, for whatever reason, may wish to follow anincremental approach to such efforts, as is briefly discussed in this paper.

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