Hello everyone! My name is Patrick Lohman. I work as an Ergonomics Consultant for a safety firm in Indianapolis, IN. So how does one become an Ergonomics Consultant? Or better question...what in the world is an Ergonomics Consultant?! Well, I come from a fitness background. As a former athlete, I was always enthralled with the human body, more specifically human performance and health. Whether it was losing weight, building muscle, or increasing speed and agility, I always wanted to know THE HOW and more importantly, THE WHY? Why does the body physiologically adapt to exercise or movement? Why are some athletes stronger or faster than others?
To answer these questions, I decided to pursue an undergraduate degree in Exercise Science from Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana. They have one of the top programs in the nation and almost all of THE WHY questions were able to get answered. After I graduated, I moved out to San Diego where I trained athletes from the ages 6 through pro. My favorite part of this job was the biomechanical assessment. I learned that by firing the muscles in the correct sequence and using correct form, I could INSTANTLY get athletes to run faster, lift heavier weights, and jump higher just by making small adjustments. This concept really resonated with me...I think of it as a shortcut to reaching one's MAXIMUM POTENTIAL.
I decided to go back to grad school at Indiana University and came across Ergonomics in the Kinesiology (the study of human movement) program. I remember at the time thinking...what a strange word. The more I looked into the field, the more I realized its need and importance. There are so many people out there who work every day and come home in discomfort, fatigue, or pain from the tasks that they are performing all day long. After my "aha" moment, I pursued the degree and specialized in Human Biomechanics and Motor Control. Once I graduated and entered back into the workforce, I immediately began working as an Ergonomics Consultant. Most of my contract work has been through a large company in Indy. There, I run and manage the ergonomics program. When someone is suffering from pain or discomfort caused from their work tasks (whether they work in a lab, at a computer, or in an industrial setting), I come in, assess the risks that are causing the pain or discomfort, and engineer out the root cause through equipment solutions and behavioral changes. This saves the company hundreds of thousands of dollars by preventing these costly injuries from occurring or progressing and also helps to improve employee morale, but the BIGGEST savings is in PRODUCTIVITY. If you can allow tasks to be done more comfortably, you're usually going to allow an increase in productivity. Believe it or not, most of the injuries that I see occur with individuals who sit in front of a computer all day. Poor posture and lack of mobility are causing these serious musculoskeletal issues. In addition to these injuries and illnesses, there are a multitude of health issues (poor cholesterol, high blood sugar, ect.) that are associated with these low-mobility jobs. In a perfect world, everyone who works at a computer would have an Ergonomics Consultant to improve their workstation set-up, along with a Personal Trainer / Nutritionist to keep them motivated and in good health. Well, in these tough economic times, we all know this isn’t very realistic. For every company who doesn't have a robust ergonomics and wellness program, where someone like myself magically fixes their problems, employees or free-lancers are left to fend for themselves, scouring the internet for useful data to improve their own health. THIS is the reason that I decided to start this blog. Everyone out there deserves GOOD information on keeping themselves healthy, rather than all of the fluff brought on by marketers. On the ergonomics side, I will share with you information that goes way beyond what you can find in a book. With over 1,000 office ergonomic assessments under my belt, I’ve dealt with just about any situation you can think of. I’ve learned to work with so many different types of people…some young, some old, some with pre-existing health conditions, some healthy, some very appreciative, and some demanding and rude! Through all of these dealings with individuals, I’ve been able to find ways to ALLOW them to work in a healthier office work environment. This is accomplished through identifying bad behaviors and finding ways to improve these behaviors. In order to accomplish this goal, it’s my job to find the best arrangement or equipment solution that fits a specific situation or individual. Ergonomics is certainly not a one size fits all concept! Due to my experience with office ergonomics, I’ve found what works and what doesn’t work for individuals in specific situations, and there’s a reason for that…it’s because I LISTEN to my clients during my assessments and ASK QUESTIONS to uncover the root cause. I never throw the “Ergonomics Book” at anyone. I want to find a solution that’s going to fit them and that they are comfortable with. Through the experience and feedback that I’ve received, I’ve been able to uncover the WHY of what’s causing a client’s shoulder fatigue or wrist pain (believe me, the list goes on and on…). The concept that most people can’t grasp is that if your body is in discomfort, SOMETHING is causing it. To go along with this, ANY discomfort is preventable (or at least minimized) with the proper solution. On the exercise and nutrition side, I have always kept an eye out for new and interesting information. Knowing how the body functions (all the way down to the cellular level), I can usually see through “the smoke” of all of the inaccurate MIS-information that we all come across each and every day.
If you have questions or problems regarding exercise, nutrition, ergonomics, or office ergonomics, PLEASE email me and I will do my very best to give you useful, candid feedback. I would be more than happy to review any information that you come across and assess the validity or claim it makes. I usually have a very keen eye for BS! As for office ergonomic products, I’m always looking for new products that will help improve health and productivity. If you have a product that you think helps accomplish this goal, send me a demo and I’d be more than happy to let my clients and colleagues try it out for future recommendations.
If you are experiencing office ergo issues, please provide me with a picture of YOU working at YOUR DESK (someone else will probably have to take the picture). Also provide me with the type of problem or discomfort that you’re experiencing and the tasks that you are performing. If you would like me to showcase your picture / situation on my blog, please include in the email: “I, (state your name), give you permission to post my picture and problem/discomfort on the blog, The Healthy Office Worker.” I want to use your situations and pictures to help educate other readers (if you don’t mind!). I will keep your name anonymous (unless you want me to share) if I decide to post. Please direct emails to
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The Healthy Office Worker