Even Surgery Centers Need a Little Tweaking Now and Then

December 01, 2013

Workplace assessment expert Josh Zilm of Advanced Physical Therapy & Sports Medicine

Recently the Orthopedic & Sports Institute’s Surgery Center, long known for fixing the myriad orthopedic issues of those who walk through their doors, was found in need of a little procedure itself.

With two staff injuries related to bending and lifting, the Surgery Center called on its neighbor across the lobby, Advanced Physical Therapy & Sports Medicine (APTSM), for an ergonomic assessment to provide relief.

At the quarterly meeting of the surgery staff in August, Josh Zilm of APTSM was giving his yearly OSHA mandated presentation on proper lifting techniques and workstation alignment. Zilm’s experience in workplace assessment is considerable and his presentation skills noteworthy. Said RN and Surgery Center Quality Manager Shaena Van Handel, “Josh is much better than a Power Point.”

It was during the presentation that Zilm was made aware of a recent injury to an OSI staff member who was picking up a metal pan filled with sterilized surgical instruments from a low shelf. The result? Back surgery to repair a ruptured disc. Josh offered to do a comprehensive ergonomic assessment of the Surgery Center.

A main focus of the assessment was in the sterile processing department (SPD), where surgical instruments are cleaned and sterilized (and where recent injuries occurred). Here Zilm observed nurses and surgical techs, noting the movements they were making in the completion of their duties and the overall configuration of the work area.

After viewing the various work environments and the duties performed within, Zilm talked to staff throughout the Surgery Center, asking for input about possible areas of concern.

Following Zilm’s analysis and identification of problem areas, he presented ergonomic solutions addressing each. The implementation of these solutions has enhanced the efficiency of the services in the Surgery Center. More importantly, employees can work more safely.

Procedure successful. Prognosis excellent.