What is Workability and Why Does it Matter?

Workability is the practical capacity to succeed at something, more specifically, pertaining to a job in a workplace.  It is important from many aspects to understand just what a practical capacity is, and how it can or cannot be achievable on a daily basis.  Within the physical therapy realm, workability can be assessed and treated with a realistic approach to determine the feasibility and safety of a job or a certain aspect of a job and how it relates to a specific person.  This is obviously important because when done with correct body mechanics and muscle recruitment, most any job can be made a safe job within reason, and ultimately prevents injury and or disorders from occurring.  Incorporating proper body mechanics with methodical and realistic lifting capacities is important and effective.  

From an employer’s perspective it would be in their best interest for their employees, as well as for them to avoid work injury and compensatory reimbursement costs due to said injuries.  All too often, people experience injury due to unreasonable expectations of certain aspects of jobs, or some jobs as a whole.  When an injury occurs, many times there are temporary restrictions put on the employee by a doctor or therapist to ensure the patient re-enters the job in a safe and confident manner.  In certain cases, when the workability is determined unsafe or unrealistic for the patient/employee to return to, jobs can be modified permanently if the employer chooses so.

Physical and Occupational therapists are some of the primary professionals that are involved when workability needs to be assessed, whether restrictions need to be applied, and for how long.  With the primary goal of restoring function prior to injury, focused strength at the site of injury, as well as surrounding supportive muscles is vital to the initial success of, and the future sustainment of the recovery  With proper education to the patient, along with skilled focus on strength and injury prevention, physical therapy can be very effective in not only returning person to prior workability function.  This also prepares them to take necessary measures to prevent and reduce risk of injury as before.