AFD Office Furniture - Ergonomics and productivity in the workplace

Leap and Frame One


 By Matt Donofrio, New York, NY, Feb. 12, 2014.

 AFD Contract Furniture is setting a new industry standard by providing ergonomic evaluations as part of the service provided to new and existing customers. The consulting sessions are designed to help reduce injury in the workplace and elevate comfort and wellness to increase productivity.

To support this new service, Matt Donofrio, a certified ergonomic assessment specialist with a Master’s degree in Physiology is now representing AFD as its ergonomic specialist for new customers. The training will assist customers during furniture selection and continue after purchase by educating employees of corporate, healthcare, and education clients regarding proper and safe use of office workstations. David Aarons, Executive Vice President at AFD, stated, “This program allows firms to receive the full benefit of their capital investment by proactively preventing injuries before they take place.”

For over 20 years, Mr. Donofrio has been preventing injury and promoting wellness. He managed 14 wellness centers at Pfizer, Inc., eight of which offered in-house physical therapy to employees suffering from repetitive stress injuries, such as carpel tunnel syndrome, thoracic outlet syndrome and upper extremity injuries. These injuries are often caused by office furniture that does not provide adequate support or is used improperly. “That’s where I can make a difference,” says Mr. Donofrio, “It’s amazing what just a few small seating adjustments can do for the health and wellness of so many people in the workplace.”

AFD utilizes Matt’s expertise to individually adjust each person’s workstation. Specific needs are highlighted such as fine-tuning for proper back and forearm support as well as situations where height-adjustable surfaces may be beneficial. “We pride ourselves in providing more than high-quality ergonomic products — AFD now offers personalized advice and information on health-related work environments as well,” says Mr. Donofrio. “It’s my job to identify the physical obstacles that keep people from working efficiently and effectively.” After the evaluations are completed, AFD provides valuable reports to employees, department heads, and HR. The information contains specific ergonomic tips, demos for sitting properly, simple stretches to increase blood flow and reduce muscle fatigue, and check points to evaluate proper ergonomics on an ongoing basis.

Can reduced discomfort lead to increased productivity? “A chair that is well-designed and appropriately adjusted is an essential element of a safe and productive computer workstation,” according to the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA), “A good chair provides necessary support to the back, legs, buttocks, and arms, while reducing exposures to awkward postures, contact stress, and forceful exertions.” Debora Stahl, Senior Vice President of Global Accounts at AFD, points out that, “Even the most ergonomically designed chair in the world will not be as effective if it isn’t properly adjusted to the individual’s workstation.” OSHA confirms, “Ergonomics — fitting a job to a person — helps lessen muscle fatigue, increases productivity and reduces the number and severity of work-related MSDs (musculoskeletal disorders).”

By pinpointing 2 to 3 key aspects of an individual’s discomfort that can lead to injury, Mr. Donofrio has been able to maintain an excellent record of ergonomics success in mitigating workplace injuries. Mr. Donofrio successfully reduced the number of repetitive stress injuries at Pfizer’s headquarters of 2,500 employees from an average of 27 reported injuries per year to nearly zero reported injuries after the company expanded to include over 6,000 employees. “Reducing muscular fatigue and potential injury can lead to decreased workers compensation claims and short-term disability,” adds Mr. Donofrio, “A healthier employee is a more productive employee.”

The shift toward ergonomic training is a vital step in the advancement of the office furniture industry. “Providing ergonomic training is a natural progression of current trends in the industry,” says Mr. Aarons at AFD, “As products are being designed with ergonomic features in mind, it only makes sense that we have an expert on staff to demonstrate to users how to properly utilize these features. We are committed to providing the greatest cost and health benefits by fitting our clients with the right products, and Matt’s services ensure that our clients will get the most out of their purchases from AFD.”

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