APTA supports physical therapist efforts to create, implement, evaluate, and lead new initiatives to introduce population health approaches to transform society. An initial focus in this area is employers, because they are common aggregating points in society for large groups of people. Among physical therapy's specialties, occupational health and ergonomics is a novel example which is both increasing in clinical relevance and dissemination by professionals in a range of settings. This relevance can be easily seen by the increasing number of physical therapists involved in occupational health and ergonomics initiatives worldwide. The impact of this relevance has also been reflected by an increase in demand for improvements in worker health and company productivity.
For more information on physical therapists' involvement in the promotion of a healthy and productive workforce, check out the APTA Academy of Orthopaedic Physical Therapy Occupational Health Special Interest Group.
Advanced skills and clinical competencies are necessary to improve physical therapists' professional capabilities and to expand the presence of physical therapists in different occupational settings. The following are resources for exploring the roles of physical therapists in the occupational health setting and how to directly work with employers toward prevention and amelioration of noncommunicable diseases before they become symptomatic, disabling, and costly.
Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) Resources