Friday, March 13, 2009

Ergonomics in Dentistry: How to overcome workplace injuries

Ergonomics issues in dentistry ...

"Dealing daily with vibrating tools and heavy workloads are preludes to disaster for dental personnel, said Dr Hjh Norlila Datuk Paduka Hj Abd Jalil, the Director General of Medical Services, at a seminar yesterday entitled "Ergonomics in Dentistry".

Errors may also creep in due to fatigue, discomfort, illness and injuries, which could further endanger the patients' health and safety, added the director general, who was also the event's guest of honour.

Yesterday's seminar organised by the Department of Dental Services had Dr Yin Kyi Oo, a Medical Officer with the Occupational Health Division, Department of Health Services, as its guest speaker.

In her speech, Dr Hjh Norlila stated that 'ergonomics' is a scientific discipline devoted to the study and analysis of human work. It is defined as an applied science concerned with designing and arranging things that people use, for safer and more efficient applications or interactions.

From this definition, she added, ergonomics has direct implications for dentistry and oral healthcare workers. She also congratulated the department for having the foresight to organise such a seminar.

"It is pertinent to remember that in our quest to provide high quality oral healthcare services that are easily accessible for the people of Brunei, we must not only focus on our clients but also, equally important, we must look after the health and safety of all our staff members," she said.

"I am given to understand that a substantial number of our personnel - both professional and auxiliary members - have suffered from the effects of the nature of this work.

"These range from mild, transient symptoms to more severe complications that require intense treatments. I have no doubt that these consequences have impacted your quality of life, as well as affecting your efficiency and productivity."

The consequences would naturally lead to absenteeism from work and hence lower productivity, in addition to errors.

In view of all these potential negative effects, she strongly urged the department not to take such matters lightly.

Dr Hjh Norlila recommended taking concrete steps to address the issue of ergonomics in the workplace effectively, with the ultimate goal of preventing related injuries and improving productivity, safety, health and job satisfaction overall for the department's concerned staff members.

The recommended steps include organising more seminars for awareness, providing workers with vital information, and establishing protocols for referrals as well as quick and necessary treatments, among many others."    (Continued via Borneo Bulletin, Azaraimy HH)    [Ergonomics Resources]

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