In my previous posts I have discussed some of my Occupational Therapy labs and how they are hands on and outside of the classroom. This week we are learning about how Occupational Therapist’s go into the workplace and assist in prevention of work related injury for different occupations. My professor, Linnea Franits, is an Occupational Therapist who worked in work related injury prevention in a steel factory. She has had real experience doing this type of work, so it has been awesome getting to learn about the topic from her. All of my Occupational Therapy professors have real life experiences in different areas, so when we go over certain topics, whoever has the most experience with it (or enjoys it) teaches it. It is amazing to have such a large variety in professors because they all have something new and different to share and they are very passionate about their experiences… Back to what I was saying, this week we discussed how important prevention of work related injury is and how Occupational Therapists can help. In order for us to get some experience in this field, we met for lab at Chanatry’s Hometown Market in Utica (right down the road from the college!). We split up into teams of 3 and each team had to observe the body mechanics of workers in a section of the store (deli, stocking shelves). We had to observe how the workers were moving their bodies and to see if they were working in ways that were not harmful to their bodies (use proper body mechanics to avoid injury). My group had to observe the workers stocking the shelves and it was a lot of fun! It was interesting to observe people doing tasks and decide whether they are doing it in a way that is safe for their bodies. For example, poor posture or lifting heavy boxes for an extended period of time, in a repetitious way, can cause back injury over time. As an Occupational Therapist in this setting, you would observe and discuss occupations with workers and see what they find challenging. The Occupational Therapist will then discuss alternative ways in order to make the job easier or safer for the workers to prevent injury. The workers at Chanatry’s were very helpful and friendly to work with and it gave us great practice within this field of Occupational Therapy.
Picture located at http://www.chanatrys.com/index.php/about-us