Maintaining physical work ability is a shared responsibility of the employee and employer
Physical work ability is an integral aspect of an employee’s ability to cope with the stresses of work. Both the employer and the employee are responsible for maintaining physical work ability. Musculoskeletal disorders are one of the major causes of sickness absences and the second-largest cause of disability pensions. Looking after physical work ability is important not only for employees with physically strenuous jobs but also for those whose work is static. Our occupational health professionals support you with the management of physical work ability, the reduction of sickness absences and the optimization of efficiency and productivity. We help employers, supervisors and employees maintain physical work ability.
Prevention of physical work ability risks
- It is important that an employee’s physical attributes and fitness suit the physical demands of their job. With this in mind, the physical fitness of an employee can be evaluated, where necessary, in an initial examination that focuses on their muscle tone or oxygen uptake, for example. Our occupational health professionals will also evaluate the physical stress factors of different jobs to help assess the employee’s ability to function relative to the demands of the job.
- The identification of the physical risks of work helps allocate health examinations. This also supports the planning of industry-specific health examinations. In physically intensive industries, occupational health examinations are increasingly performed by an occupational physiotherapist, as the causes of sickness absences in physically intensive jobs are largely related to musculoskeletal disorders or other problems associated with physical health. This way, potential problems can be anticipated or identified in a timely manner.
- The topics discussed in occupational health examinations also include the person’s level of physical activity in their free time, especially if their work is very static. Sitting and standing still are also taxing on the body, so having a suitable level of physical activity helps maintain physical work ability and prevent musculoskeletal disorders.
Manage the physical work ability of your employees
- The employer is responsible for the functionality, safety and ergonomics of the physical working environment. This means that work should be accessible and the workload should be suitable for the employee. The employer and supervisor are responsible for creating the conditions for a good working environment.
- In jobs that are physically passive, it is important for the employee to be able to increase their level of activity during the working day by changing their position, taking breaks, doing brief work-outs or having walking meetings. Supervisors should encourage employees to increase their physical activity during the working day. The employer can enable Terveystalo’s Personal Coach function to maintain the physical fitness of employees.
- With regard to the management of physical work ability, it is essential to ensure that employees are also encouraged to maintain their physical work ability themselves. For example, the employer can provide ergonomic and safe work equipment, instructions for exercise breaks or coaching for that purpose. It is important for supervisors to encourage employees to be active during the working day.
- If any challenges are observed in an employee’s physical work ability relative to the demands of the job, actions to support work ability are initiated in cooperation with the occupational healthcare provider.
We help with the measurement and monitoring of physical work ability
Health surveys help assess and promote well-being
We use health surveys to assess and promote various areas of employee well-being. The assessment of physical work ability and potential musculoskeletal problems is part of the survey. Any further action to be taken in response to the results of the survey is planned together with the employee concerned and the occupational health team. The health survey is usually conducted in connection with the occupational health examination, but it can also be conducted on a more targeted basis, as needed.
Prevention and responding to problems by testing the ability to function
Testing an employee’s ability to function helps ensure and monitor that their physical fitness matches the physical requirements of their job. Based on the tests, and taking physical stress factors into account, the employee’s duties can be customized to suit their situation.
We provide the best possible digital tools
Digital tools make it easy to measure and monitor physical work ability. Our Terveystalo app includes the Oma Suunnitelma (My Health Plan) section, which the customer can use independently and together with the occupational healthcare provider to monitor their progress in improving their physical fitness and mitigating previously identified disability risks or problems.
Suunta makes work ability management more convenient
Suunta is a platform that includes all of the most important digital services for occupational healthcare cooperation. It also serves as a convenient and secure communication channel between the employer and the occupational health team. Suunta makes it easy to monitor the physical work ability of employees or the organization, for example.
Occupational healthcare supports you
As your occupational healthcare provider, we help maintain and manage the physical work ability of your organization’s employees. The ability to take timely action is one of our key strengths: we identify and prevent problems before they occur, react early when the situation requires it, and address acute issues. This means that we are there to help you and your employees throughout your journey, ranging from preventive measures to treating minor musculoskeletal problems caused by workplace accidents and addressing longer-term issues that require rehabilitation.