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Working In Comfort – Tips On Ergonomic Best Practices

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Learn how to treat and prevent common workplace injuries with these easy-to-follow tips. Implement them today to help your team work in comfort!

The Goal of Ergonomics

We know that sitting for hours on end at a desk can be painful. But did you know it could also lead to health issues such as back and neck pain, or carpal tunnel syndrome? So how do we avoid these problems and still work in comfort? Luckily there are some simple ways we can make our workspace more ergonomic. Whether you work in an office or on a construction site, it’s important to stay comfortable and healthy. 

Ergonomics is to make sure that the person can handle their job as well without getting hurt. It means balancing human capabilities, environmental factors and demands on an individual’s physical skills in order for them to succeed at what they do best while also being safe enough not only to perform those tasks but stay healthy over time too.

Body Knowledge

The human body has more systems than just the nervous system! The muscles, nerves and joints all work together to keep you moving through your day.

Musculoskeletal Disorders

Musculoskeletal disorders (MSD), workplace diseases/injuries or disorders of muscle tissue are commonly found in workers who perform physical labor at a job site where their hands are used frequently; They can also refer to pain felt when contracting certain types of muscles during exercises involving lifting weights overhead. 

According to the CDC, work-related musculoskeletal disorders (or WMSDs) are conditions wherein the workplace environment or work performance contribute to the condition or the condition worsens or continues longer due to the work environment.

MSDs often go unnoticed because people don’t want their job prospects diminished so they ignore any discomfort until it becomes too much to bear but luckily there are ways you might help yourself avoid this problem in the future.

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

The Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine’s study shows that individuals who work in manufacturing jobs are at a higher risk of developing carpal tunnel syndrome over those who work clerical positions.

Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) is caused by the median nerve becoming compressed at the wrist leading to numbness, tingling and pain in your fingers. To help minimize these types of workplace injuries it’s important to make sure there’s proper ergonomics throughout any work area that could potentially cause CTS. This can help minimize these types of workplace injuries by following industry standards, such as using the right desk height for your arms length or having an adjustable keyboard tray so you don’t have strain on one specific angle all day long. Taking breaks throughout the day to give your wrist and fingers a rest can be beneficial and prevent further strain to the delicate joints in your hands.

Repetitive Motion Injuries

Repetitive motion injuries can be one of the most common types of musculoskeletal injuries. Workplace tasks, especially in an office setting, can often lead to repetitive stress injury. According to some studies, it  is more widespread than once thought and affects not only athletes but also professionals in many different fields who perform tasks with high exposure risks. Workplace ergonomics can help minimize an individual’s chances for developing a repetitive stress injury.

Cumulative Trauma Disorders

These are painful, sometimes crippling injuries that can develop from frequent use or repetitive stress on the body’s musculoskeletal system – including nerves, tendons and sheaths muscles . They may occur because you’re sitting at your desk all day long with no breaks to stretch out those stiff joints. Cumulative trauma disorders in the workplace are often caused by ergonomic hazards such as poor job design or improperly proportioned work areas. The results can affect upper body nerves and tendons-and can even lead to muscle fatigue.

Repetitive Strain Injuries

Repetitive strain injuries (RSI) occur when there has been too much stress on certain muscles due their usage over long periods of time without rest. While computer mouse use may seem like a harmless task, it can actually create problems for the body. Repetitive strain injuries (RSI) are fairly common and often caused by different types of activities including: typing on a keyboard or clicking your mouse. Using an ergonomic chair that limits upper-body motion near to ground level and setting up your mouse and keyboard at an appropriate arm length can reduce strain on joints and help prevent injuries and prevent exacerbating current ones.

Take care of yourself by creating a workstation that fits you. Be attentive to daily tasks and listen closely to your body. Use good posture while seated at your desk or computer so it’s easy on both mind AND body!–And don’t forget – adjust-adjust-adjust when necessary to ensure you’re in the most comfortable and ergonomic position.

Efficient Workspace Organization

Pain in the lower back is a leading cause of disability in 160 countries which is why reorganizing your space to fit the way you work best is important when setting up your work environment. Keep commonly used items within arm’s reach to minimize twisting or stretching to reach them. Move things around as needed for various projects, and store reference books and binders on shelves if they’re not being used at present so that there is more space available in the general storage area to prevent clutter in your workspace.

Chair Sense

When sitting in your office chair, make sure to adjust it so that your knees and hips are at 90 degrees. If you like sitting higher than usual, use a footrest or other supports for extra comfortability and to prevent strain on your lower back. Once seated, position your chair as far away from your desk’s surface as possible. Adjust any lumbar support or arm rest to maintain a neutral position.

Monitor Placement

To help you stay productive and avoid eye strain, remember to keep your monitor at or slightly below eye level. The screen should also be about arms distance away from you while seated in front of the computer with adequate light coming through. Maintain a “20/20” rule for minimal blurring when looking up from working on the keyboard. Try to avoid any bright lights shining in front of the screen, as this can cause glare which will strain both yourself and those around you.

Positioning Your Keyboard and Mouse

While sitting at the keyboard, keep your forearms parallel to the floor and either keep the keyboard flat or place a slight negative tilt. Your upper arms should rest close against your torso with hands just barely grazing across its surface; don’t plant either elbow or wrist when keying in order to maintain a neutral position while typing to prevent any strain. Your hands should float across the keyboard and never lean your wrists on your keyboard. 

Move your mouse to the immediate right or left of the keyboard on an equal height so that you can easily switch hands. Hold it lightly, move by moving just one arm in whichever direction is comfortable. It is also recommended to try switching between hands and different positions to prevent wrist strain when using your mouse.

Working On Your Laptop

The key to a comfortable work session is posture. Make sure you are standing or sitting up straight and not slouching when using your laptop. If that doesn’t help enough then try connecting to a docking station whenever possible to minimize slouchy and straining while working on a small screen. Picking an ergonomic position when possible will also ensure proper form throughout any project. If possible, using blue light glasses can help prevent eye strain or injury that can occur from looking at screens for too long as well.

The Importance Of Stretching

Warming up before work is important to prevent injury. Walking can help loosen your muscles, get blood flowing and warm you up for the day ahead. Be cautious of any pain in the process and stop immediately if there are signs that something may be wrong such as severe discomfort or muscle soreness after exercising without cause. Walking and stretching as well as maintaining proper ergonomic form while on the job will help ensure that your body doesn’t become injured or over-tired, which can lead to poor performance at work. Work-related musculoskeletal disorders are responsible for over 30% of nonfatal occupational injuries which is why stretching throughout your workday can help keep you injury-free. 

Putting It All Together

We all know how important it is to take breaks throughout the day, but did you also realize that taking short mini-tasks can be just as productive? Resuming your work after each break will help keep yourself engaged and energized. The key thing here is not staying at one task forever–spend enough time moving around between different positions in order for various parts of our bodies to have an opportunity to recover from weariness or muscle tension.

Maintaining good posture while sitting up straight helps prevent pain caused by improper positioning during prolonged periods without movement; think about setting aside 30–60 minutes a day for a brisk walk and incorporate stretching into your daily routine.

Injury prevention starts with using the right equipment and staying safe on your job. But it’s not just about what you do, injury can also happen because of bad habits like bad posture or incorrect equipment positioning. Be aware of your body position and make adjustments as needed throughout the day to minimize strain.

Working in comfort with practical ergonomics, neutral postures and body mechanics can help prevent injury on the job. Identifying the best way to be comfortable while maintaining proper ergonomic form will minimize injury while on the job.

Occupational Resource Network offers a variety of services that include ergonomic assessments from trained professionals who specialize in this field. If you’re not sure how your posture is affecting your health or what type of equipment may be needed for a particular task, contact our offices today. You’ll feel better knowing you have an expert looking out for your safety at work.

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The Most Effective Strategies For Job Placement

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 In today’s economy, it is more important than ever to have a job. When you are out of work, it can be difficult to find a new position. There are many strategies that you can use to increase your chances of being hired. This blog post will discuss some of the most effective strategies for job placement. Keep reading to learn more.

Identifying Job Goals

With so many changes in the job market over the last few years, it’s important to stay up-to-date on the latest hiring trends. According to the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were 10.9 million job openings in 2021 alone as of December 2021. With so many opportunities available, preparation is key to landing the job you want.

Assessing One’s Skill Inventory

The process for identifying one’s skills is a necessary step in order to find employment. This includes assessing what they are best at, how much time/funding you have available and which jobs will allow your interests or hobbies thrive as well while being successful professionally. The first thing that needs assessment when looking into new careers should be if there’s anything transferable between past work experience (skills). Thereafter assess any passions outside of employment opportunities like volunteering activities where this might apply because sometimes those things line up better than expected.

Exploring Job Options

Online research into the types of jobs is important. Understanding what you want to do and how much money someone will make are two key factors in finding a job that suits your needs, but there’s also something called “job demand” which influences these things as well. 

With today’s economy, it is more important than ever for job seekers to highlight their qualifications. This can be attained through having clear and concise material that highlights your skill sets as well as an engaging tone of voice which will help separate you from other candidates applying in the same field or industry.

A professional employer will want employees who have knowledge about themselves and work experience so they don’t need clarification when recruiting – including what kind(s)of work experience makes up part (or even all) of any given resume.

Finding The Job

Create A Skills Based Resume Focused On Job Goal

A resume is a powerful tool for getting your foot in the door. Make it count by focusing on what you can do, and not just how many years of experience or degrees that are attached with those accomplishments. 

If you want your resume to stand out from the crowd try using skills based resume templates that can focus on highlighting strengths. According to a study of over 125,000 resumes, a resume should be anywhere from 475 to 600 words. Headlines will grab recruiters attention, use keywords directed at the goal of desired position as well so it always sticks in there first impression; make sure everything about yourself (skills included) sounds professional when read aloud or spoken.

Job Search Tools

Search tools provide a variety of different media and techniques for finding jobs. Job databases can be found online, print sources, or local papers in your area with sections dedicated to staffing agencies who may have opportunities available; career clubs offer similar resources but usually on-site through their center – these centers also provide workshops geared towards success during this process. There’s no shortage when trying to find employment–you just need some imaginative ways around using traditional job search methods. Job clubs are also popular for finding jobs these days as they offer memberships that cover all aspects of start-up costs and business operation so you don’t have to worry about anything!

The “Hidden” Job Market

The hidden job market can be considered the best way to find a new career. It’s through social networking, cold calling and informational interviews that you may get your first opportunity of working in what would otherwise have been an uncharted waters for someone with no industry experience or connections. You can improve your chances by using social networking sites like LinkedIn to show off your skill set and indicate to recruiters that you are looking for employment opportunities.

Applying For The Job

Completing Applications

It is estimated that on average, 118 people apply for a position with only 20% of them being offered an interview. In order to receive the best possible outcomes from your job search, you should always make sure that all of the information on which it depends is accurate. This means double-checking for new phone numbers or correcting any spelling errors before submitting an application anywhere. No matter what kind of application you submit, whether applying for a job opportunity online or in person, it’s important to make sure that your information is up-to-date.

Answering Tough Questions

It’s important to be prepared for the tough questions that employers ask. These may include gaps in employment and terminations, criminal history or a disability- if you’re applying using this route of communication then make sure your answers show professionalism and are up on what these situations entail so as not only increase the chance of being offered an interview but also acceptance after one is given.

Providing References

When interviewing for a job, be prepared with references who will provide information to the potential employer. References that employers contact after interviewing job candidates could be important to the outcome. Generally an employer will contact the reference via telephone and can discuss prior job performance and characteristics with the individual. Some employers may prefer to have a reference letter from a former employer or manager so be prepared to request your references to be ready to speak on the phone or write a recommendation on your behalf.

Getting The Job

Preparing For The Interview

While it is a crucial step in any job search, preparing for an interview can be difficult. You want to make sure that your physical appearance and behavior are professional when going into the meeting with potential employers so they know how seriously you take this opportunity of employment. 

It is important not only what words come out when interviewing, but also how they sound as well! Make sure to wear clean clothing without any holes or tears; combing hair smooth so it looks presentable prior going into an appointment like this one where first impressions count greatly- don’t forget about behavior either. Be treated at every turn just as someone worth knowing — remember there’s more than meets the eye behind those qualifications listed on paper (or online).

Arriving At The Interview

It’s never easy to feel confident in an interview, but you’ll be able to shine with these tips:

On the big day of interviewing it’s important not to be late. It shows you’re organized enough for other commitments in life too. You must also prepare by bringing everything that could ever help someone decide whether or not this position suits them: Listing all relevant qualifications including education levels, languages spoken/understood fluently, experiences gained while employed previously with other companies. 

Bring a resume or two if possible as well. It is best that one maintains composure while talking with potential employers so they can impress before an evaluation begins; after all no-one wants someone who appears unprepared during such crucial moments of assessment.

How To Interview

A successful interview can be the difference between getting that new job or promotion. While there are many tips for conducting yourself well in an employer’s presence, it is important not only to know what questions they typically ask but also those things you should (or shouldn’t) avoid asking during your interview as well! You never want someone who might hire and fire on a whim so find out about any policies before going into one of these situations unprepared. Remember practice makes perfect so conducting mock interviews with people who have similar qualifications can help you be prepared for your interview.

After The Interview

After the interview it is recommended to send thank you notes and even follow up with the potential employer. This will let them know how interested in their position you are, so they can feel confident about making a hiring decision. Let them know that some of your qualifications fit just what they are looking for in a candidate (whether or not this was actually said during the interview), and ask about the date they are looking to hire for the position. In the U.S. the average length of the hiring process is roughly 23 days, so try and be patient while you wait to hear back from the recruiter or HR.


Ultimately, the best strategies for job placement are those that align with your needs and goals. You can find a variety of resources online to help you identify which direction is right for you as well as how to apply, get hired and keep getting jobs in this competitive marketplace. 

If any of these ideas seem daunting or confusing, don’t hesitate to contact Occupational Resource Network. Our team has been helping people like you land their ideal positions for over 20 years and we want nothing more than to see our clients succeed. Contact us today if you need assistance finding work through an effective strategy tailored specifically for your unique circumstances.

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Ergonomics & Biomechanics In The Workplace

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Ergonomics and Biomechanics are not always considered when developing a workplace. A lack of attention to these factors can result in injury, worker dissatisfaction, increased absenteeism, poor morale and decreased productivity. This post will discuss the consequences of ergonomic mishaps in the workplace as well as some steps you can take to prevent them from happening.

What is Ergonomics?

The best way to describe workplace ergonomics is to start with what the goal is for ergonomics in the workplace. There is a balance between a working environment and the human’s capabilities and the task or job demands. The goal of ergonomics is to fit the particular job to a person, rather than making the person fit the job.

Ergonomics is the science of fitting people for their jobs, both physically and psychologically. Biomechanics is the study of how humans move in order to prevent injury or illness, so it’s important that workplaces have an understanding of both aspects in order to be successful at creating a healthy working environment for all employees. 

The priority is not just making sure that everyone can complete their tasks without pain or injury but also increasing productivity while reducing injuries.  When accidents happen, they leave companies liable for any lost time due to dismissal from work as well.

Safety in the workplace is most employers top goal when it comes to creating a pleasant workplace and environment, however there are some best practices to be aware of when designing your workplace with your employees in mind.

What Will An Ergonomic Specialist Evaluate?

When a company brings in an ergonomic specialist they will evaluate a variety of factors when performing an evaluation and will likely check the following:

  • Repetition
  • Force
  • Awkward Posture or Angles
  • Static Postures
  • Direct Pressure
  • Vibration
  • Duration

An ergonomic evaluation expert will pay attention to certain body mechanics while helping an employee with tips on how to maintain good body posture as well as rotating through tasks to interrupt periods of repetitive motion and activity or prolonged or static posture.

Safety and Personal Protection In The Workplace

Safety is the top priority of an employer to ensure that an employee feels not only safe but capable of completing their assigned duties. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2018 alone there were over 272,000 musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) reported in the U.S. private sector. Depending on the job role, an employee can be left vulnerable to different risks or injuries and prevention is key to maintaining a safe environment for employers and employees alike.   

Eye Injuries

Eye injury prevention in the workplace is imperative for employers and employees alike. Ocular trauma or scleral rupture is a common injury associated with workplace accidents. 

Proper ergonomic evaluations will allow you to identify any hazards that may cause problems within your facility and how they can be corrected before becoming serious issues. If there are already existing eye hazards at your organization it is essential to conduct an ergonomic assessment so that protective measures are taken into account. Eyewear and/or safety glasses equipped with side shields, proper ventilation, eyewash stations, etc., should be available to employees in order to reduce ocular trauma risk during everyday tasks performed throughout business operations.

Overall, it is important to maintain proper protection against small particles of matter that can enter your eyes and damage them. Toxic gases, vapors, liquids, dust, etc., can damage your eyes when working with hazardous materials. Always wear eye protection and follow safe work protocols to prevent eye injuries while on the job.

Occupational Noise

Hearing protection is important because your ears are composed of very delicate structures. Whenever a sound is produced, air is set into motion as sound waves. Sound is collected in the outer ear and funneled to the eardrum. When sound waves hit the eardrum, it vibrates and sends sound to the middle ear. The middle ear amplifies the vibrations and sends them to the inner ear. The vibrations stimulate hair cells in the inner ear and create an electrical impulse. This impulse travels to the brain along the auditory nerve, causing the sensation of sound. 

There are two different types of hearing loss, conductive and sensory hearing loss. Conductive hearing loss can cause middle ear infections, eardrum perforation, fixation of the ossicular chain, and otosclerosis which can be treated medically or surgically. 

Sensory hearing loss can be from genetics, aging, noise, disease, or injury and can’t be corrected medically or surgically and is permanent. Most workplace hearing losses are sensory hearing loss. Employers in environments where employees are subjected to duties that may cause hearing loss should be provided with foam ear plugs, PVC ear plugs, or ear muffs.

Respiratory Safety

Whenever you take a breath, oxygen rich air is taken in through your mouth and nose, goes down your windpipe and into your lungs. In your lungs, there are tiny air sacs called alveoli. These air sacs then transfer the oxygen that is in the air into your blood. At the same time the oxygen is being absorbed into your bloodstream, carbon dioxide is being transferred from your bloodstream into the air sacs. When you breathe out, you are ridding your body of gaseous wastes.

There are a variety of inhalation risks that can occur in a working environment. Dust, vapors, mists, sprays, and fumes can be breathed in and cause damage to your lungs if proper protective  equipment (such as air purifying masks or devices) isn’t worn while on the job and should be available and worn by employees while working in conditions that put them at risk.

Head Safety

The most common type of head injury occurs from either flying or falling objects at the workplace. Wearing a hard hat can help keep you safe from injury and even save your life.

A hard hat is the best line of defense to protect the most delicate part of your body. A proper hard hat will have a rigid shell, a suspension system, insulators that can protect you from electrical shock, as well as a shield to safeguard your head from any injuries that can occur while on the job. 

Foot & Hand Safety

The human foot is rigid enough to support the weight of your entire body, and yet flexible enough to allow you to run, dance, play sports, and to take you anywhere you want to go. Without your feet and toes, your ability to work at your job would be greatly reduced. 

Stubbed toes, machines rolling over feet, or spills can help be prevented by workplaces ensuring that their machinery, tools, and work areas are cleaned and maintained properly, as well as employee’s wearing steel toed boots to help prevent these types of accidents. 

It has been estimated that almost 20%of all disabling accidents on the job involve the hands. Without your fingers or hands, your ability to work would be greatly reduced. No other creature in the world has hands that can grasp, hold, move, and manipulate objects like human hands. They are one of your greatest assets. And, as such, must be protected and cared for.

Traumatic, contact, and musculoskeletal injuries can be the biggest risk factor for someone in their workplace if machine guards aren’t in place or if there isn’t proper maintenance performed on machines. Good hand hygiene and glove wearing can also prevent the spread of germs and infection from one person to the next. 

Back Injuries

Spinal anatomy is a remarkable combination of strong bones, flexible ligaments and tendons, large muscles and highly sensitive nerves. It is designed to be incredibly strong, protecting the highly sensitive nerve roots, yet highly flexible, providing for mobility on many different planes. Most of us take this juxtaposition of strength, structure and flexibility for granted in our everyday lives—until something goes wrong. Once we’re in pain, we’re driven to know what’s wrong and what it will take to relieve the pain and prevent a recurrence. 

Preventing back injuries can be done by using safe lifting techniques, such as making sure you bend at your knees and never at your back when lifting something heavy. Pay attention to body mechanics by maintaining good body posture and rotating through tasks to interrupt periods of repetitive activity after holding postures for a long period of time. Regular exercising helps to increase balance and strength and warming up at work before engaging in physical activity.

Falls At Work

In 2019, over 25% of nonfatal work injuries stem from trips, slips, and falls, causing employees to miss days of work. Slips happen where there is too little friction or traction between the footwear and the walking surface. To prevent slips and falls in the workplace employers should make sure that all spills are cleaned immediately and that spills are marked with the appropriate signage. Keeping obstacles out of walkways and covering cables, as well as employee’s wearing the proper work footwear will help to keep employees from falling at work.

Sometimes, even when trying your best to avoid a fall it can happen to the best of us. If you do fall, try to avoid using your arms to protect yourself as well as bending your back and head forward to avoid hitting your head. Roll into the fall and try not to fall forward as well as tossing any items you may be carrying can help protect yourself when falling from serious injury.


The way we work has changed a lot over the years. We have transitioned from physical labor to office jobs and now there is a trend of working remotely or at home. This has resulted in injuries that can be prevented with ergonomic assessments and biomechanics evaluation, as well as maintaining good body mechanics.

Even the best equipment won’t prevent an injury unless you use it correctly which is why good work habits can be a substantial factor in injury prevention. If you start feeling discomfort while working, analyze what’s going on and be willing to open and change. An ergonomic assessment or evaluation can help determine the best workplace practices for your business to ensure employees are working in safe environments to prevent injuries and time lost due to injuries. 

Occupational Resource Network provides individual ergonomic assessments as well as group training and seminars that can provide benefits to both employees and businesses alike.

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Top Questions About Vocational Rehabilitation When Returning To Work

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There are many reasons that a person might need vocational rehabilitation services when returning to work. Read on to learn more about the process and what to do next.

What is Vocational Rehabilitation?

Vocational rehabilitation is a process designed to help people with a disability either find employment, maintain their current employment, or return to employment after a period of unemployment. This covers all disabilities from functional and psychological disabilities to developmental, cognitive, and emotional disabilities. Other impairments or health disabilities are also included. 

A variety of healthcare professionals can be involved in the vocational rehabilitation process. It can also include people from a non-medical area like a disability employment advisor or career counselor. 

While the main focus of vocational rehabilitation is placed on job attainment and retention, sometimes it can extend to encompass a whole lifestyle approach. The different methods used and areas covered differ from country to country depending on funding and political support. 

What is a Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor?

A vocational rehabilitation counselor is someone who interviews and assesses individuals going through the vocational rehabilitation process to determine their status. They determine if they are ready for employment and what kind of work would best fit their qualifications and skills.

What is a Vocational Evaluation?

A vocational evaluation is an extensive process that happens during the vocational rehabilitation process. During the evaluation, a counselor will review medical, educational, and work skills to help determine the employment opportunities for an individual. It also includes a vocational exploration to look further into possible options. Questions include topics like work and life experience, age, length of unemployment, medical information, education, career goals, and family and personal situation.

What is a Vocational Evaluation in a Worker’s Compensation Case?

Vocational counselors in workers’ compensation cases work to facilitate a return to work for those who have had an injury or illness preventing one from resuming their usual job.  The evaluation will recommend career and vocational options given one’s education and work history and considering their residual level of functional ability.  Once a goal is identified  a vocational rehabilitation plan is created to detail the steps to achieve that goal.

What is a Vocational Rehabilitation Assessment?

A vocational rehabilitation assessment is a process that takes information about a person’s vocational preparation, employment possibilities, and physical and mental abilities and identifies the best path for them to take. 

There are many questions that come up after an injury or illness that affects a person’s ability to work. The vocational assessment can help determine what work would be best suited for a person’s abilities and what steps should be taken to get them there.

How Do I Choose the Best Vocational Evaluation Provider?

It is important to review references or reviews to ensure the best experience possible. Comparing several options and making sure the person or organization has the proper qualifications, certifications, and experience before proceeding.

How Do I Prepare for a Vocational Evaluation?

You can help the evaluation by being prepared with some necessary information. Documentation of any cognitive deficits, details about any injuries, a current resume, any educational records and certificates for training, employment history, reports from doctors and other healthcare professionals, tax returns, hospital records, and any other pertinent information that they might need to conduct the evaluation.

Occupational Resource Network has been a provider of vocational rehabilitation, evaluations, and assessments since 1995. Our licensed and certified counselors are happy to answer any questions and discuss the details of your case today!

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Top Tips For Your Next Job Search

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It can seem like a daunting process when beginning a job search. One of the most stressful parts of searching for a job can be the interview process. According to data from the US Department of Labor, growth has increased by almost 600,000 jobs monthly. With the amount of competition in securing a new position, it is best to be prepared to have the best outcome. 

We will discuss some tips and tricks to use during a  job search and throughout the interview process to set yourself up for success.

How to research the company you’re interviewing with

Once an interview is landed, researching a company and compiling a list of questions is a recommended next step. This can help to better understand their culture and work environment, as well as what the position entails. 

To effectively learn about the company it can help to:

  • Research the company name
  • Parent company
  • Company’s location(s)
  • What they do and who they serve
  • Their competitors
  • Their mission statement
  • The position you’re applying for
  • What the position entails
  • Possibly connect with past or present employees of the company

Interviewing skills checklist

Creating an interview skills checklist can also be a helpful addition to gain confidence and composure during the interview process. Generally, there are standard interview questions that are expected to be asked and preparation can help greatly in answering these questions. Before an interview it is important to:

  • Gather information about the company and the job you are seeking
  • Be ready to discuss your interests and qualifications
  • Check your appearance: take a shower, have a neat haircut, and dress appropriately
  • Practice introducing yourself with a handshake and a smile
  • Review commonly asked interview questions
  • Make eye contact with the interviewer. Recruiters have listed lack of confidence as a reason to not go further in the interview process with a particular candidate

Come prepared with some of the most common interview questions that employers are most likely to ask potential employees such as:

  • Can you tell me a little bit about yourself?
  • Do you have any training or skills that would help you in this job?
  • What do you feel is your best asset?
  • Do you prefer working with others or by yourself?
  • What are your interests and hobbies?
  • Where do you plan to be five years from now?
  • What can you contribute to our company?
  • What jobs have you had that you enjoyed the most? The least? Why?
  • Do you take instructions well?
  • How well do you handle criticism?
  • What are your strengths?
  • What are your weaknesses?

Usually, the interviewer will ask the candidate whether they have questions towards the end of the interview. Having a few questions for the interviewer can help show interest in the company and position such as:

  • How many workers are employed here?
  • What are the possibilities for advancement?
  • Do you offer any educational opportunities to your employees?
  • Describe a typical day on the job.
  • Who will I be supervised by?

Job Fair Dos and Don'ts

Part of the job search process can include going to job fairs. Job fairs can be a great opportunity to learn about a variety of companies in one location. To be as efficient as possible during time at a job fair, it is important to have a specific strategy such as:

  • Do pre-register for the event and do attempt to get the list of attending companies before the career fair.
  • Do attempt to research basic information about each company you hope to interview with at the job fair.
  • Do prepare a one-minute elevator pitch that focuses on the unique benefits you can offer the employer.
  • Do be prepared to talk about your work experiences, skills, and abilities.
  • Do have a few questions prepared for each recruiter, but don’t ask questions that any good job-seeker should already know, such as what does your company do?
  • Do remember all the keys to successful interviewing, including a firm handshake, a warm smile, eye contact, and a strong voice.
  • Do bring enough copies of your resume to the career fair. And do bring different versions of your resume if you are searching for different types of jobs. If you bring different versions, be sure to keep them organized to prevent giving the wrong resume to an employer.
  • Do take advantage of the time you have to build rapport with each recruiter, but don’t monopolize their time.
  • Do dress professionally — conservative is always the safe choice.
  • Do be sure to ask about the hiring process of each company, but don’t ask too many questions about salaries, vacation time, and other benefits.
  • Do be sure to follow-up with each recruiter. Some experts say to call and leave a message on their voicemail right after the job fair, but at a minimum you should send each recruiter a thank you letter.
  • Do come with note-taking gear. Bring a smartphone, or day planner and pen. If a recruiter offers you an interview, immediately update your calendar so you don’t forget it.
  • Do stop and reflect midway through the fair. Have you accomplished any of your goals? If not, what do you need to do/change before the fair ends? Otherwise, what’s left to be done?
  • Don’t eliminate companies because they are recruiting for positions outside your field; take the time to network with the recruiter and get the name of a hiring manager for your particular career field.
  • Don’t just drop your resumer on the recruiter’s table and walk off.
  • Don’t forget to eliminate such bad habits as playing with your hair, chewing gum, fidgeting, rocking from side-to-side, acting distracted, rubbing your nose, etc.
  • Don’t ever just walk up to a booth and interrupt a current conversation; wait your turn and be polite.
  • Don’t waste the opportunity to network, not only with the recruiters, but with fellow job-seekers and other professionals in attendance at the career fair.
  • Don’t ever say anything negative to the recruiter about your college or previous jobs, companies, or supervisors.

Dos and Don'ts of Interviewing

Interviewing can be stressful, but it’s important to put your best foot forward during this first impression stage of the hiring process. With video interviewing on the rise beginning in 2020 (almost half of 506 companies surveyed are conducting video interviews) there are still some interviewing standards whether you’re in person or on video to abide by such as:

  • Do some research on the business that you are applying to, know what it is they make, do or sell
  • Whenever possible, speak to some people who have worked there before
  • Rehearse and prepare for questions that may be asked of you. Ask a friend, teacher or parent to ask you questions
  • Dress conservatively and give yourself plenty of time to get ready beforehand
  • Always arrive five minutes early
  • Have a positive attitude and smile
  • Act enthusiastic about the job
  • Never say anything negative about past jobs or school
  • Be sure to thank the person interviewing you for the opportunity
  • Make yourself at home in someone’s office until you have been invited
  • Chew gum
  • Give one word answers like yes or no
  • Appear desperate
  • Talk badly about anyone
  •  Bring anyone with you unless it’s necessary


Preparing for a job search can be intimidating, however, being prepared is your best asset for increasing your chances at landing the job you want. Whether it’s a job change or getting back into the workforce, Occupational Resource Network can assist with helping individuals prepare for work with vocational rehabilitation services from certified professionals. Contact our offices today to speak with one of our counselors.

Nurse case manager assisting patient with closed head injury

Medical Case Management For Closed Head Injury Cases

By | Uncategorized

There are many reasons medical case management may be a good solution to support the care and coverage of people who sustained a head injury. Depending on the severity, head injuries may only require a few months of care, but many injuries may require continued care over the course of years or the rest of a person’s life. 

Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI)  are at the forefront of deaths and disabilities every year. A TBI may cause long-term problems related to cognitive difficulties, paralysis, decreased mobility, memory loss, loss of hearing or vision, and even personality changes. These deeply impact the quality of life available to the person who suffered the injury.

Closed Head Injury Workers Compensation

If you, or a loved one, has a workers’ compensation case due to a work-related injury, you may need the assistance of a certified nurse life care planner or a legal expert life care planner. These types of injuries can cause overwhelming feelings surrounding the number of healthcare options and the next steps and some clarity can be gained by talking to a professional. After an injury at work occurs, usually a referral is made to a nurse consultant who can assist with the handling of complex medical issues. A certified nurse consultant can point caregivers in the direction of resources, provide guidance, and work directly with other professionals involved in a case such as:

  • Insurers
  • Attorneys
  • Employers
  • Brokers

Benefits of Early Referral

Early referrals help the nursing case manager’s timeline to receive and process files and documents including medical records, claim documents, background info, and health insurance benefits details, while prioritizing the injured party’s immediate needs in addition to assisting with:

  • Establishing relationships with the patient’s family
  • Communicating with the treatment team at the acute care hospital
  • Proactively planning for a patient’s discharge
  • Ensuring continuity of care between different medical professionals and facilities
  • Containing costs of treatment

Establishing A Relationship with Family

A medical case manager can guide families through disagreements about the best course of action regarding healthcare options. A strong relationship can also provide the opportunity for families to agree on the best use of financial resources. While helping families with difficult conversations, they can also assist with other areas of communication such as:

  • Help the family adjust to a disability and how it affects all family members
  • Develop a sense of rapport and open communication to gain trust within the family
  • Provide specialized skill and knowledge to educate the family on how lifestyle may change post-injury
  • Be available as a resource for issues as they may arise for the patient and their family

Communication with Treatment Team

Creating a treatment plan for the injured person requires professional experience as well as incorporating information from a variety of sources to ensure that it is comprehensive and accurate, while also factoring in the specifics of the injury. While treatment plans are commonly used with traumatic brain injuries or TBIs, there are other injuries that may need consideration as well. An experienced case manager can assist with a variety of injuries and help:

  • Determine the extent of the injury and how to coordinate care
  • Confer with the medical team regarding recommended treatment and plan of care
  • Facilitate and coordinate discharge planning for care after the hospital

Planning and Identifying Barriers Affecting Discharge

Medical case managers can also identify and coordinate potential issues that may arise after an individual is discharged from a hospital or care facility to streamline long-term care or rehabilitation after in-patient care. 

After discharge, a case manager can also assist in the coordination of care between multiple medical professionals and facilities as well as ensuring treatment costs are contained. If an individual finds themselves in a more complex living situation, a medical case manager can assist with the following:

  • Patient is under a guardianship or conservatorship
  • Care is needed from an acute rehabilitation facility or skilled nursing facility
  • The injured are homeless or in an unsafe living situation
  • Lacking family, friend, or peer social support
  • Pre-existing medical history that makes treatment more complicated

Discharge Planning

By not only looking at the kind of injury, but also considering the severity of the injury, the goal of the case manager is to help the person recover as much of their independence as possible while keeping in mind the physical and mental health of the person. The severity of the injury will indicate to what extent the person can recover and how quickly that recovery can take place. Case managers can handle negotiations on treatments and rehabilitation while also processing work releases and full duty releases. Case managers can identify the least restrictive environment for care from the following:

  • Acute rehabilitation facility
  • Skilled Nursing Facilities
  • Community-based residential program
  • Discharging Home

Acute Rehabilitation Setting

Depending on the care required for best outcomes, there may be a variety of clinicians needed to assist in the long term care and planning for individuals who are the victims of a traumatic brain injury. If an acute rehabilitation is determined best for an individual’s situation, a medical case manager can assist by:

  • Attending weekly team meetings as part of the treatment team
  • Determine appropriate length of stay in a rehabilitation facility
  • Collaborate with the team regarding the next level of care
  • Frequently communicate with all involved parties (i.e. guardian, family, insurer, attorney, employer) to streamline the process

Skilled Nursing Facilities

If the injuries sustained will require more in-depth care to assist with the injury, a skilled nursing facility may be the best choice to ensure safety and well-being for the individual. This would include in-patient care with the assistance of a staffed team of medical professionals as well as a case manager who:

  • Attend weekly team meetings as part of the treatment team.
  • Determine appropriate length of stay in the facility.
  • Collaborate and communicate with the care team regarding the next level of care needed.
  • Relay relevant information to all involved parties (i.e. guardian, family, insurer, attorney, employer)

Community-Based Programs

Some states provide local level assistance by means of independent living programs as well as hospital or rehabilitation programs for individuals with circumstances that don’t allow them to have care or assistance at home. Community based programs are sometimes indicated when a home situation can’t accommodate the needs of the patient or fall into one of the following situations: 

  • 24 hour supervision is required for the safety of the patient
  • Behavioral issues that require medical guidance or supervision
  • Patient is homeless or doesn’t have a safe living environment

Discharging Home

It’s crucial when released home that the proper care plans have been set up and established by a care team specifically and tailored to the individual’s specific needs and injuries. Case managers are able to review a patient’s specific injury and post-care needs help with:

  • Ensuring their home environment is set up properly and safely
  • Coordinating any durable medical equipment that may be needed
  • Coordinate all home care and therapy services
  • Providing support to family and/or caregiver
  • Performing continual assessments regarding the injured ability to remain at home

Follow-Up Care

Follow up care is critical to a patient’s recovery to help alleviate stress as well as streamlining aspects of care and to prevent issues like prescription delays or missed appointments. These can be crucial to rehabilitation when an injured individual is out of the hospital dependent on the severity of the injury. There are three levels of severity in traumatic brain injuries:

  • Post Concussive/Mild Brain Injury
  • Moderate Brain Injury
  • Severe Brain Injury

Post Concussive/Mild Brain Injury

A mild brain injury can sometimes be referred to as a concussion and can occur from some trauma to someone’s head either with or without consciousness and can lead to only temporary cognitive impairment. The treatment is as follows:

  • Assessment and treatment provided by a brain injury specialist (NOT a primary care physician)
  • Vestibular therapy or vestibular rehabilitation therapy is a form of physical therapy that usually involves head movements
  • Physical/occupational therapy
  • Medication management if needed

Moderate Brain Injury

A moderate brain injury can have similar symptoms to a traumatic brain injury and can occur when brain function gets disrupted for longer than a few minutes. More severe that a mild injury and requires special treatment by a medical professional such as:

  • Treatment provided by a physician who specializes in the brain (neurologist)
  • Cognitive therapy to help with behavior post injury
  • Managing and medications needed to treat the injury
  • Neuropsychological evaluation to assess brain function post accident

Severe Brain Injury

These can occur when there is extensive brain damage that happens from something such as a car accident or severe injury. These injuries usually demand the most medical intervention and treatment that can be lifelong at times and require:

  • Treatment provided by neurology, neurosurgery or multiple speciality providers depending on the severity of the injury
  • Multiple medications for treatment
  • Physical and/or occupational therapy, sometimes long-term
  • Speech language therapy depending on the injury and part of the brain affected


A medical case manager can be helpful whether an individual experiences a traumatic brain injury or any type of serious injury that affects their ability to do day-to-day activities. Occupational Resource Network’s medical case management experts are able to provide a range of services and create life care plans to help individuals who have sustained traumatic injury based on years of clinical experience. Their vast knowledge allows them to give a comprehensive report that includes an outline of psychological, rehabilitation, and medical needs that may be needed in the future. With years of experience in a variety of cases, contact a professional today to discuss your needs.

Occupational Resource Network Job Placement and the ADA

Job Placement Services And The ADA – What To Know

By | Uncategorized

How can job placement services help individuals?

The American Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) is required for employers with more than 15 employees). All state and local governments must comply with and not discriminate against applicants based on disabilities as well as provide reasonable accommodations to qualified individuals with disabilities. Let’s dive into how job placement services can work with individuals with disabilities while following ADA guidelines. 

Job placement can encompass the vocational rehabilitation process that is designed to help people with a disability either find employment, maintain their current employment, or return to employment after a period of unemployment. The ADA requires companies to adhere to guidelines that cover all disabilities from functional and psychological disabilities to developmental, cognitive, and emotional disabilities with other impairments or health disabilities also included. 

A variety of healthcare professionals can be involved in the vocational rehabilitation process. It can also include people from a non-medical area like a disability employment advisor or career counselor. The following guideline discusses the process regarding job placement and the ADA.

Disclosure of a Disability

When starting at a new company the ADA recommends informing the potential employer if it is believed that an accommodation to perform the functions of the job being applied for due to a disability is needed. A visible disability is one that can be noticed upon sight and an invisible disability is one that may not be as apparent.

Visible Disabilities

A visible disability will let an employer know what factors they need to consider when hiring a potential new employee. The ADA advises employers that there are factors they need to consider whether an applicant has a disability that can be clearly seen or not. 

Examples of Apparent Disabilities:

  • Conditions requiring mobility devices such as wheelchairs, canes, walkers, crutches
  • Amputations
  • Paralysis

Invisible Disabilities

According to the Invisible Disabilities Association, an invisible disability is generally used to describe someone with a chronic physical struggle. It is important to disclose invisible disabilities as well if they’re believed to interfere with job performance.

Condition and Disabilities That Are Not Apparent:

  • Sensory impairments (low vision or hearing loss)
  • Chronic illness (arthritis, asthma, diabetes)
  • Mental health conditions
  • Learning disabilities
  • Acute illness (cancer)

Stages For Disclosure

When applying for a position within a company there are times when to let companies know whether the condition is chronic and may need to have accommodations made to ensure a comfortable and safe working environment. The stages in the hiring process that can be used to disclose a disability are:

  • Pre-Employment
  • Third Party Involvement
  • Post Job Offer
  • During the Course of Employment

Pre-Employment Disclosure

According to the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) the law limits disability questioning during the interview process. The law does allow questioning or exams related to the disability only if the employer thinks the medical condition will interfere with the employee’s job performance. There may be workplace barriers that prevent someone from competing for a job such as whether the workplace is accessible for mobility devices, if a service dog is allowed in the workplace, or if a deaf applicant requires an interpreter or adaptive equipment for an interview. 

When there is a visible disability seen during the pre-employment period, an employer may ask limited questions whether the individual can perform the essential functions of the job and, if not, what reasonable accommodation would be required.

Third Party Disclosure

Some companies may choose to use third parties in their accommodation processes that can streamline requests while utilizing professionals who have experience in handling disability accommodations. Some individuals find themselves more comfortable discussing the accommodations they need for their disability with a third party, and not someone they will see regularly in their day-to-day job functions. Working with a vocational rehabilitation service may provide assistance from state rehabilitation services, non-profit human service organizations or agencies, or workers compensation and/or long-term disability vocational services.

Post Job Offer

Once an offer has been extended, some experts recommend to disclose a potential accommodation needed for employment. If the individual believes they do need an accommodation to be successful in their role, it’s important to let the employer know before job performance is affected. It is important to note that up until the job offer, an employer can’t request any disability-related information or medical information. Once the job offer is made, an employer can require the applicant to undergo a medical evaluation or ask disability related questions as long as it is done for all employees. Any information revealed after the job is offered can’t be used to rescind the offer unless it can be shown that the individual would be unable to perform the essential functions of the job (with or without accommodation), or would pose a direct threat to themselves or others.

During the Course of Employment

It is up to the individual when to disclose their disability but is recommended to discuss needs before the position begins to help with workplace morale as well as for the employee to have the best job performance in their position possible while increasing the success for the employer and company as well. If an employee finds themselves becoming disabled during their employment it is recommended to consider requesting accommodations. Especially if their work performance suggests an accommodation is needed (even if not requested). The employee should discuss this with their HR department or the company’s recommended department.

How to Disclose

Once a job offer has been extended and accepted, it’s essential that you discuss and provide information regarding your disability as an employer has the right to know if an employee needs assistance to perform the job they were hired for. It is recommended that the employee make the request in “plain English”, as well as putting the request in writing, and discussing with the appropriate people within the company.

What to Disclose

Disclosing the disability to the correct departments is imperative to help ensure that the needs that are required to be successful in the role are met by the employer and to keep open communication between the employer and employee for a safe and inclusive workplace. The employee is encouraged to disclose the nature of their disability, limitations that may result from said disability, how their disability affects their work performance, and lastly what potential accommodations they may need for their disability.

Reasonable Accommodation

According to the US Department of Labor, employers are required to provide reasonable accommodations in the application process. These accommodations help to assist an individual with a disability in their ability to perform their job and so an employee can experience equal job privileges and benefits of employment as an individual without a disability. It is also suggested that the employer and the individual with a disability engage in an informal process to clarify what the individual needs and identify the appropriate reasonable accommodation. Companies are encouraged to have several resources to help employers and individuals with disabilities to explore possible accommodations.


For an individual getting into the workforce with a disability, a vocational assessment or job placement service can help them to be prepared as well as know their rights according to the ADA. When speaking to a vocational rehabilitation expert regarding a return to work, it’s helpful to provide the vocational rehabilitation expert all necessary information such as any cognitive deficits, details about any injuries. A current resume, as well as all educational records and certificates for training, employment history, reports from doctors and other healthcare professionals, hospital records, and any other pertinent information might also be needed to conduct the assessment accurately. 

Occupational Resource Network has been a provider of vocational rehabilitation, evaluations, and assessments to help with job placements since 1995. Our licensed and certified counselors are happy to answer any questions and discuss the details of your case today!

Occupational Resource Network Ergonomic Evaluations Services

9 Reasons To Hire An Ergonomic Evaluation Expert

By | Uncategorized

What are the benefits of ergonomic evaluations and assessments?

Ergonomic evaluations and assessments are designed to assess workspaces, offices and stations to highlight potential issues, recommend changes and modifications and encourage employees to reap the rewards of their working environment. There are several benefits of an ergonomic workplace evaluation. In this article, we’ll explore nine reasons to hire a certified office ergonomics evaluator. 

1. Identifying risks

Did you know that in the US, the average employee loses 11 working days per year as a result of injuries or work-related illness? One of the primary benefits of office ergonomic evaluation is identifying risks, which could increase the chances of employees sustaining injuries or having to take time off sick. It’s always better to identify potential hazards and dangers than to respond to accidents. Evaluation can help businesses to be proactive, rather than reactive. 

2. Preventing accidents and illnesses

Workplace accidents and work-related illnesses, including back pain and stress, cost US businesses over $60 billion per year. An office ergonomics evaluation is a simple, cost-effective means of preventing accidents and illnesses. Evaluating the environment flags weaknesses and gaps that can be addressed and in turn, used to enhance health, safety, wellbeing and reduce the risk of people being involved in accidents or struggling with chronic pain. 

3. Reducing the risk of back pain

Back pain is one of the most common ailments among office workers and employees who spend long periods sitting at a desk. According to the American Chiropractic Association, around 50% of American employees experience symptoms of back pain. A computer workstation ergonomic evaluation and assessment is designed to pinpoint issues or shortcomings that could exacerbate symptoms or contribute to pain and provide tailored recommendations to prevent back and neck pain, improve posture, and ensure that employees are comfortable. 

4. Boosting productivity

Your working environment can have a significant impact on productivity, as well as health and wellbeing. If you are comfortable, you are free from pain and you’re able to tackle tasks without worrying about your safety, you will be able to focus on your job and devote all your time and energy to your to-do list. 

5. Reducing the number of sick days

Sick days can be costly for both employees and employers and they can also hold talented, dedicated workers back and prevent them from fulfilling their potential. Ergonomic assessments identify risks and hazards and provide targeted advice and recommendations to encourage employers to modify working environments to facilitate efficient working and lower the risk of accidents and injuries. Providing employees with ergonomic workstations and furniture, offering training and instruction to promote good posture and eliminating hazards could all have a positive impact on the number of working days lost.

6. Saving money

Businesses have to make money to survive, and most are keen to improve efficiency and make savings while simultaneously optimizing customer service and employee well-being. An ergonomic evaluation report offers a means of lowering costs and boosting profits by reducing the risk of sick days, increasing productivity and decreasing the risk of workplace illnesses and accidents. Prevention is often much less expensive than cure. 

7. Employee wellbeing and engagement

Every employee wants to thrive in their working environment and they want to be able to do their job without any anxiety about safety, pain or injuries. Making changes to the working environment and creating ergonomic workspaces can have incredible benefits for employees well-being but also plays an integral role in building strong relationships between employees and employers making employees feel valued. By hiring an ergonomic evaluation expert, employers demonstrate a commitment to providing their workforce with safe, comfortable workspaces and being proactive in reducing injuries and improving morale and wellbeing. 

8. Employer reputation

Employees today want more than a well-paid role. Studies show that job satisfaction, flexibility and work-life balance are highly sought-after, particularly among millennials. Employees want to work for employers who prioritize a positive culture and ethos and take care of their team. By organizing office ergonomic evaluations, employers can enhance their reputation and show that they care about their employees. Happy teams tend to be more productive and looking after staff can also boost employee retention rates. 

9. Rehabilitation

Many employees who experience health issues or injuries want to return to work as quickly as possible following treatment, surgery or a period of rest and recuperation at home. Businesses can take steps to ensure a smooth transition and provide support for the individual so that they are as comfortable and confident as possible when returning to work. Ergonomic workstation evaluations play a crucial role in aiding rehabilitation and ensuring that workstations and offices are suitable for people who are coming back to work after an accident or injury. An expert report can highlight issues that could pose problems for somebody who has restricted mobility, for example, as well as flagging up modifications that could be made to create a more comfortable, accessible environment that will enable the employee to return to the office. An expert can offer tailored recommendations based on the requirements of the individual, their role and the environment.


Workplace injuries, accidents, illnesses and pain can all hamper productivity, team morale and well-being. It may not be possible to prevent every incident or injury, but it’s hugely beneficial to be proactive as an employer. 

Taking steps to identify risks and hazards and make changes to create safe, comfortable, and inspirational workspaces can contribute to improved morale, a lower risk of injuries, losing employees to sickness, and enhanced company reputation. Evaluations can also help to tackle common ailments, such as back pain and provide additional support and help for individuals who experience chronic pain and those returning to work following an accident or a period of time off. Hiring an ergonomic evaluation specialist can be mutually beneficial for employees and employers alike. 

With decades of experience, Occupational Resource Network offers ergonomic evaluation and assessments to assist companies in a variety of settings and can discuss your options tod