Labor inspectorate advises against foot control
Increased risk of work injuries and unintended incidents associated with the use of foot control Danish Labor Inspectorate states.
15. August 2018
At Vendlet, we do not offer a foot control for operation of our electrical turning system despite frequent inquiries hereon. This is because operating a foot control can lead to both work injuries and unintended incidents, and in fact goes against the Danish labor inspectorate’s recommendations.
Strain from operating foot control is unacceptable
In the labor inspector’s assessment of working positions and movements the use of foot control is described as completely unacceptable in both standing and sitting positions. This is due to the labor inspector’s assessment, that the risk of inflicting a work injury when working with a foot control is too large, as the working position is straining for the body.
This is because working with a foot control locks the carers working position. Movement and variation in ones working position is necessary, as a monotonous position overloads certain parts of the body. As such, a locked position increases the risk of causing work injuries, especially if the locked working position is retained over a longer period, and if the locked position is combined with other movements, such as movements in the upper body, which can be very straining in this position.
Standing on one leg
Working with a foot control also creates an unstable working position. This is because, the employee shifts their balance to the leg that is not operating the foot control. This results in an unbalanced strain on the body, as the one side of the body compensates for the side operating the foot control. In this case, one might say that the employee is standing on one leg when performing the task. Hereby, the risk of work injuries is increased.
The more often and the longer time a straining position is undertaken, the higher the risk of ailments and injuries to the body. How much strain is too much will often first become clear when it is too late, and the caregiver is in pain. Only when the operation of a foot control is very seldom, and brief is it assessed to be partly acceptable by the labor inspectorate. However, the use of foot control is advised against completely, unless the setting and work space is adapted to it.
Eye-foot coordination removes attention from the bedridden client
The use of an ordinary hand control takes time getting used to, and caregivers occasionally need to look down on the buttons, during the period of training. However, when the caregiver briefly glances at the hand control, the bedridden client is still in the caregiver’s field of view and thereby not without the carers attention. The use of foot control, which is placed underneath the client’s bed, will also demand that the carer looks down. However, due to the placement of the foot control, the client will be completely outside of the caregiver’s field of view, and thereby remove the client from the carers attention.
Furthermore, the foot control demands a much higher degree of co-ordinational skills from the caregivers, as the eye, feet and hands must act simultaneously when tending to the bedridden client – something that many will struggle with. In general, it is Vendlet’s belief, that objects such as wires, foot controls and more, which are placed on the floor, increases the risk of caregivers falling or twisting their foot joints and ankles, and overall creates are more hazardous workplace.
Why Vendlet doesn’t offer foot control
Although the technical construction of a foot control is simple, we have chosen not to offer one. This is not due to an unwillingness to listen to our customers and business partners. On the contrary, the decision is based on a risk assessment, which include the recommendations from the labor inspector in Denmark.
At Vendlet, we take both patient safety and work health & safety very serious. Our knowledge and our products will ultimately help improve and optimize the care situation and the processes related to this, creating more time to provide better and more care. This creates value for carer, patient and management. With this approach to product development, Vendlet has decided not to offer a foot control for the VENDLET systems.