Most agree there is value in completing discomfort surveys as a way to target job or individuals for intervention. When doing discomfort surveys, it is important to consider the following:
- Don’t make them anonymous (when you know who completed the survey it allows you to follow up with the person and potentially address their issues through early intervention or job improvement, all under the guise of OSHA’s first aid.
- Know how long they’ve been on the job. If new to industry or new to the job; less than 4-6 weeks; the body needs to go through “work hardening” and aches and pains is a normal part of building muscle and endurance.
- Use a diagram of the human body so participants can see what body part or area is being asked about. This may also address any language barriers with the working population.
- Have ratings of frequency and severity so you can rank the data and look for trends by department, job, and individual.
- Consider measuring mental strain or mentally “worn” out. There is a lot of evidence that psychosocial factors contribute to the development of musculoskeletal disorders.
- Have users identify if the pain/discomfort is related to the work performed and more importantly, what might be causing the pain and how to fix it.
- Be prepared to act. There’s nothing worse than asking what’s wrong, getting an answer back, and then doing nothing about it.
If you need assistance with developing, administering or analyzing discomfort data we can provide local assistance. Here at Atlas, we have consultants in over 15,000 cities and towns across the US and Canada to help if needed.