Work-related discomfort in the optometry profession – whose responsibility?

Long, Jennifer, Burgess-Limerick, Robin and Staoleton, Fiona (2012) Work-related discomfort in the optometry profession – whose responsibility?. Ergonomics Australia, 10 6: .

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Name Description MIMEType Size Downloads
Author Long, Jennifer
Burgess-Limerick, Robin
Staoleton, Fiona
Title Work-related discomfort in the optometry profession – whose responsibility?
Journal name Ergonomics Australia
ISSN 1033-1875
Publication date 2012
Sub-type Article (original research)
Volume 10
Issue 6
Total pages 5
Place of publication Baulkham Hills, NSW Australia
Publisher Human Factors and Ergonomics Society of Australia
Collection year 2013
Language eng
Formatted abstract
Background: Optometrists generally work in small business environments. Work-related discomfort is often viewed as a personal responsibility which can be managed by adjusting posture or equipment.

The purpose of this paper is to explore the contributing factors for discomfort in optometrists and discuss whether the management of discomfort is the responsibility of individual optometrists or the employer.

Method: Sixty optometrists (n=47 with work-related discomfort) were interviewed by telephone and asked questions about their control of the work environment and work factors contributing to discomfort. Data related to discomfort were collated and thematically analysed. Data related to control of the work environment were subject to qualitative and quantitative analysis.

Four factors contributing to discomfort were identified: sustained postures, awkward postures, inability to adjust equipment and inadequate space. Selfemployed
participants were more likely to report that they had input into the choice of equipment and furnishings in their primary work practice (p<0.001) while 18 participants (all not self-employed) reported no input. There were 27 participants (45%) who perceived they had full control over their pace of work. Control was achieved by good communication with other staff members and appointment book structure. Lack of control was related to expectations to perform unscheduled consultations.

Conclusion: Individual optometrists can assume some personal responsibility for posture when performing clinical procedures. Since individuals may only have limited control over workload or equipment and consultation room design, there also needs to be a greater awareness amongst employers of the impact of these factors on work-related discomfort.
Keyword Individual optometrists
Management of discomfort
Work related discomfort
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Minerals Industry Safety and Health Centre Publications
Official 2013 Collection
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Created: Mon, 08 Apr 2013, 10:11:06 EST by Dr Robin Burgess-limerick on behalf of Minerals Industry Safety and Health Centre