Occupational Health

Occupational health, often abbreviated as “occhealth,” and physical therapy intersect in several ways to ensure the health, safety, and functionality of individuals in the workplace. Occupational health may encompass the following aspects:

Occupational Health

Injury prevention

Occupational health professionals, including physical therapists, work to prevent work-related injuries and musculoskeletal disorders. They may provide ergonomic assessments and recommendations to improve the design of workstations and job tasks to reduce the risk of injury.


Physical therapists can offer ergonomic assessments to optimize the work environment, including the setup of chairs, desks, computer stations, and other work-related equipment. Proper ergonomics can help prevent workplace injuries and discomfort.

Functional capacity evaluations (FCE)

Your physical therapist may conduct FCEs, which assess an individual’s ability to perform work-related tasks. FCEs are often used in the context of occupational health to determine an employee’s readiness to return to work after an injury.

Work conditioning and work hardening

Some physical therapy programs are designed specifically to prepare injured employees to return to their job duties safely. This involves exercises and activities that simulate work tasks to build the necessary strength and endurance.


Physical therapists and other healthcare professionals working in occupational health may provide training and education to employees about injury prevention, proper body mechanics, and self-care strategies to maintain their health in the workplace.

Functional movement screening

Physical therapists may conduct functional movement screenings to identify any movement deficits or imbalances that could lead to injuries in the workplace. This information can inform injury prevention strategies.

Pain management

Occupational health professionals, including physical therapists, can assist employees with managing work-related pain and discomfort, whether it’s due to chronic conditions, repetitive strain, or acute injuries.

Overall, occupational health and physical therapy collaborate to create a safe and healthy work environment, prevent injuries, facilitate rehabilitation when injuries occur, and promote the overall well-being of employees in their work settings. While occupational health encompasses various aspects of workplace health and safety, physical therapy plays a specific role in injury prevention and rehabilitation within this framework.