Advocates of workplace stretching programs claim that improving flexibility can prevent work-related musculoskeletal injuries. You can do these stretches 5-6 days a week for 3 weeks. Here are five ways EHS professionals can keep their operations running safely and smoothly during the pandemic. They are another tool in the musculoskeletal disorder (MSD) prevention toolbox. Within their home environments, employees typically station themselves at raised kitchen counters, coffee tables, or even on their couch or in their bed. Use the stairs instead of the elevator. Prior to the pandemic, roughly 3.6% of the total U.S. employee workforce was working from home at least half the time or more, according to Global Workplace Analytics. This must-have eBook is loaded with over 50 pages of clear, professionally designed, easy-to-follow, easy-to-remember stretching exercises and routines, including highly effective moves that should be done everyday! Injuries not only cause pain and suffering for employees, they also have direct and indirect (hidden) costs. These injuries are preventable with a work-readiness program that includes stretching. Beginner’s Stretching Program This program takes you through a daily routine over the course of 6 weeks. Stretch It Out!™ will be a great addition to my existing work injury management and prevention program. A 2003 review of three well-known studies related to the efficacy of stretching at work to prevent injuries determined that stretching did not result in any meaningful or statistical reduction in MSDs. So, the differences you notice aren’t just temporary. Work Stretching Programs and OSHA If you haven’t already, check out this guide on how to stretch, and then come back and start stretching!There are also some notes below to help you get the most out of your stretching. However, by the end of 2021, an estimated 25-30% of employees will be working from home multiple days each week, according to the Global Work-from-Home Experience Survey. The company reported positive Even though many companies have implemented stretching programs, their effectiveness has not been demonstrated, according to some researchers, who propose effectiveness claims are based on in-house evaluations that rely on self-reported outcomes rather than objective measures. That said, an effective ergonomic program that includes engineering controls, administrative controls and stretching can reduce the physical demands of manual material handling and reduce the occurrence of MSDs. Pre-start (before-work) stretching programs have been around for decades. Here are seven steps to follow to implement your pre work stretching program: Establish top level buy in. 14901 Quorum Drive, Suite 425 In the dynamic workplaces of today, the need for effective automation and streamlined processes has become critical to compress response times to COVID-19 outbreaks and employee incidents, as well as to make on-the-fly adjustments to safety planning and management. Furthermore, given how quickly circumstances can evolve, EHS team members may need to leverage virtual briefings and information-sharing technologies to help document and quantify safety issues, risks and non-conformance situations in real-time. This stretching program will only work on your body directly. Don’t hold your breath. • If you can’t do endurance or strength exercises, and stretching exercises are the only kind you are able to do, do them at least 3 times a week, for at least 20 minutes each session. Employers who have implemented OSHA's ergonomic guidelines have lower incidence of cumulative trauma injuries and associated workers' compensation costs. You only have to follow the guidelines and implement them to make your body stretchable and potential. If you cannot demonstrate that any expenditure is realizing a benefit to the company (i.e., reducing soft tissue or musculoskeletal injuries for a reduction in workers' compensation costs, or improved worker productivity and wellness) then the training will not be perceived as a benefit by the employer. to the limits of your range of motion. These include situations facing food and other manufacturing industries, warehousing and distribution, among other sectors. I will no longer have to spend endless hours trying to develop my own stretching program for my clients. To facilitate prompt action, EHS professionals must capture a steady flow of inputs and insights from facilities and those working remotely or traveling on business to assess, prioritize and manage what may be an evolving set of critical risks. Sep-Oct 2007;12(5):300-2. doi: 10.1097/01.PCAMA.0000291430.84481.14. Gets you back in shape. With fewer resources at facilities and reduced staff to manage risks associated with a dynamic operating environment, automated processes not only help ensure compliance, but also allow the EHS professional to refocus priorities to address elevated health and safety risks at individual facilities as changes are made to their operations. As an interim remedy, many employers now provide equipment stipends to help mitigate the cost of appropriate office furniture to facilitate a sound work environment. Dynamic stretching consists of controlled leg and arm swings that take you (gently!) Stretching as a group each morning is a great way to kick the day off with a focus on safety. However, the scientific data on the true effectiveness of workplace stretching programs is in doubt. Do workplace stretching programs work? The 3 Elements of Effective Feedback for a Safer Workplace, How Safety Leaders Can Manage the Impact of COVID-19, The Carrot is Always Better Than the Stick – Paying People to Get Vaccines, Webinar: COVID-19 Update - Keeping Employees Safe While Reducing Liability, Webinar: Situational Awareness - The Often Overlooked Hazard Control, Virginia Passes Permanent Standard on COVID-19, Employees Don’t Feel Safe Going to Work, Study Finds, Webinar: A New Sheriff in Town - Digitally Transforming Your Audit Program to Meet a New Compliance View, Webinar: Expert Panel – What You Need to Know about EHS and Covid-19 Changes Under the Biden Administration. As with any training in the workplace, there's a cost, and the cost has to be justified by a benefit or return on investment. Breathe normally, do not hold your breath. There also may be a psychological benefit at work in a stretching program. Over time, the ongoing use as well as … With mask mandates, for example, EHS professionals may be actively involved with employer programs for fit testing and maintaining adequate levels of PPE across all of an organization’s operations. The implementation of workplace stretching programs provides a feel-good aspect to injury prevention. As one example, many employers lack a process to facilitate and ensure safely working from home. A paper titled, “Do Stretching Programs Prevent Work-Related Musculoskeletal Disorders” (WMSD’s) by Authors Dr. Ordinarily, EHS professionals would conduct frequent (daily, weekly or monthly) safety meetings to address key safety topics affecting an organization. On average, $5 is spent for every $1 of medical expense on a typical injury. So many people underestimate the importance of stretching and how it can help to heal your muscles and improve flexibility. Communicate the program to all members of the team. In addition to their traditional focus areas on regulatory compliance and enhanced safety culture, EHS professionals are taking on additional roles involving data science, ergonomics, employee well-being, enhanced collaboration tools, and a deeper focus on industrial hygiene and occupational health. Benefits: The lying torso twist stretches your hips, groin, and lower back muscles, increasing mid-back mobility while opening chest. With hand open and facing down, gently bend wrist from side to side, as far as possible. Requiring employees to participate can cause problems with unions, so make sure that union representatives are included in the discussion about stretching programs. Incidents, near misses and potential hazards historically recorded on paper, and tracked and assessed using spreadsheets can now be reported instantly using online portals. Unlike other stretch programs, this hyperbolic stretching program claims to offer lifetime flexibility with muscle tone retention. That takes a toll on your back, hips, neck, and … Simple stretching exercises will warm up muscles, improve elasticity and help keep you comfortable at work. If you feel uncomfortable relax the stretch. Protect. For a stretching program to be effective, workers have to participate at least 2 to 3 days per week with a time commitment for each session of 5 to 10 minutes. Consequently, many EHS professionals and ergonomists are now prioritizing the use of virtual ergonomic assessments to better manage home-based workstations and work environments with an emphasis on proper workspaces that include correct posture, table or desk and chair setups. If there is one thing that always gets forgotten after a good workout routine, it is definitely stretching! Do workplace stretching programs work? This full body stretching routine, composed of yoga moves and other exercises, can help you to improve your body alignment to move and feel better. Select … A stretching program is a form of physical exercise where specific muscles are elongated to their fullest length to improve the muscles' elasticity. Breathe slowly and deepen the stretch with every exhale. Emergency response and business continuity plans may need to be adjusted to address issues related to social distancing, adequate PPE supplies, remote workers, and scaled down or expanded operations, among other factors. Consequently minimising cost by reducing the frequency of worker compensation claims and time lost due to injury. Dynamic stretching, according to Kurz, "involves moving parts of your body and gradually increasing reach, speed of movement, or both." Captured data can be analyzed quickly and accurately through artificial intelligence and machine learning-supported predictive modeling tools, shared internally to drive remedial actions and communicated externally to ensure timely regulatory compliance. Helpful logs, effective tips, and much more to help you stay on track! Many experts agree that static stretching, where the muscle is stretched and held, is simpler to perform and also is very effective as a choice for most workplace stretching programs. Work-related musculoskeletal disorders are a group of painful disorders of muscles, tendons, and nerves. Follow these general guidelines: • Breathe while exercising. OSHA’s Form 300A posting deadline is February 1! Across the U.S. and around the world, work life and social life have changed dramatically from the impacts of COVID-19. Have a physical therapist review your work activities and design a basic stretching program for your employees. They also call for ready access to timely data about regional and local virus spread rates, employee infections and exposures, as well as details on evolving employer requirements emanating from federal, state and local governments and regulators. Stretch your left arm out to the side and look towards your left hand. Detailed Guidelines. Stretching the Hands & Forearms 1. The person is then instructed to relax and the partner slowly moves the muscle to a new static position. 1. Stretching programs offer benefits and challenges. be stretching every day. Injuries are a source of concern for any type of business. Hold stretch for at least 20 seconds and repeat with right knee. It never demands you to do a lot of workouts or exercises. Over the years, EHS professionals have often been the catalyst to bringing about greater collaboration among team members from various functions in all types of work environments. This semi-social grouping or bonding in the workplace creates the perception of caring and support felt by employees from management. Although EHS professionals play a central role in these critical initiatives, the development and implementation of effective health and safety programs that address evolving needs require close coordination with multiple functions and disciplines. JOB SITE STRETCHING EXERCISES. These costs include not only the cost of educational materials and an instructor or trainer, but also the time that employees spend stretching rather than working, which could be as much as 15 minutes a day. These workers typically are exposed to manual materials handling and strenuous working positions. (B) Exhale as you hinge forward from your hips (without rounding your back) and place your palms on the ground. The impacts of an ill-conceived and hastily implemented program can result in significant bottom line corrosion and possibly further injuries for employees. All rights reserved. A stretching program requires careful planning and thought. Stretch both sides of your body evenly. If a company does not make a stretching program mandatory and only selectively implements the program for selected departments, the true impact of the program on injury and illness rates cannot be determined. Workplace Stretching Programs– In the medical world this is called proactive approach to health and injuries, a preventative tactic to minimise risk of injury and musculoskeletal conditions in the workplace. Take a stretch break – performing some stretching exercises throughout the day can help relieve common aches and pains, tension, and loosen stiff muscles. These new challenges have also reimagined the roles and responsibilities of EHS professionals. A review of stretching programs in workplaces found that stretching improved range of motion, posture, and provided stress relief. Group stretching was initiated for 6 to 10 minutes at the beginning . Subscribe to EHS Today Magazine to receive leading coverage of the EHS industry. Under these circumstances, EHS professionals may need to be the catalyst to drive the adoption and implementation of technology solutions to maintain or adapt their enterprise’s safety practices to what can be rapidly evolving work conditions. We've put together a comprehensive step-by-step guide to help you perform a job safety analysis (JSA), which includes a pre-built, JSA checklist and template, steps of a JSA, list of potential job hazards, and an overview of hazard control hierarchy. Besides sustaining significant hits to their revenues, employers able to remain or resume operating have had to navigate dramatic changes to their workplaces, business processes and workforces. Slowly stretch into the desired position, as far as Some of these risk factors include prolonged laptop usage, inadequate seating and fixed-height worksurfaces. Back and spine – The overall rate of neck and back injuries has seen a consistent decline from 34,000 injuries in 2002 to 12,000 injuries in 2010 but the construction industry still sees more back injuriesthan most other industries (almost 25 per 10,000 workers, as opposed to 21 for all other industries combined). Stretching and flexibility routines simplified! Knowing this, it isn't any wonder that environmental, health and safety (EH&S) professionals are looking for new methods to help prevent WMSDs, and employee stretching and flexibility programs have gained such popularity. The pandemic has made it critical for EHS professionals to take a more proactive role in driving this process. • Do each stretching exercise at least 4 times each session. Workers in a Midwestern factory were assessed for WMSDs before and after the new 8-min stretching program was implemented. Even under these dynamic conditions, ensuring employee health, wellness and safety still ranks among any organization’s highest priorities. Most stretches can be held for 10 to 30 seconds before releasing the stretch. With work-related musculoskeletal disorders (WMSDs) accounting for more than 30 percent¹ of all nonfatal occupational injury and illness cases each year and impacting employers to the tune of $20 billion annually in direct workers' compensation costs,² some organizations are looking for ways to bolster their ergonomic strategies. Stretching Exercises to Prevent Work-related Musculoskeletal Disorders -A Review Article by Qais Gasibat , Nordin Bin Simbak , Aniza Abd Aziz Abstract Background: Lower back, neck and shoulder pain, which affects the lumbar spine, are the most commonly reported Musculoskeletal Disorders (MSDs). This guide presents a comprehensive overview of methods of performing incident investigations to lead you through your next steps. Implementing a Successful Stretching Program When implementing a stretching program, there are three key elements to consider: Leadership buy-in and support; … Make no mistake, employee stretching programs are not a substitute for a comprehensive workplace ergonomic program. Hold your shins as you inhale and stretch your chest upward. The program was targeted to keep muscle strains and repetitive motion injuries to a minimum. Think about it this way: when you are training, your muscles are constantly contracting and lengthening. Do workplace stretching programs work? For a stretching program to be effective, workers have to participate at least 2 to 3 days per week with a time commitment for each session of 5 to 10 minutes. Need some tips for conducting an incident investigation at work after there’s been an occupational injury or illness, or maybe even a near miss? The costs of implementing a workplace stretching program are related to program development and implementation. Pre-work stretching is especially important for construction companies where there is intensive manual labor work involved and employees and contractors are working around 8-12 hours a day, loading their spine with heavy material and performing cumbersome tasks as this repetitively uses and engages their muscles. Prevail.® Construction workers need to warm up to meet the job’s physical demands. These meetings typically were held in person so all risks could be discussed and prioritized, and any related remedial actions could be implemented on a coordinated, programmed basis. Here are five ways EHS professionals can ramp up their organization’s focus on health and safety to address the evolving challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. While relatively new in concept—and additional scientific studies are still needed to quantify their exact impact—when properly developed and managed, these stretching and flexibility programs seem to show merit in supplementing the effectiveness of an existing and robust ergonomics program. You’ll need these six core elements to successfully implement a workplace stretching program: Program guidance and leadership support; Work Readiness Coaches; Program Rollout and Marketing Plan; The Right Warm-up Stretching Protocol Effectively Implemented; Review and Continuous Improvement; Passion, Enthusiasm and Perseverance (Most Important) 1. Most advocates of stretching programs recommend PNF stretching, which allows the muscle to be stretched to a greater degree by increasing the proprioceptor signals through a 5- to 10-second voluntary muscle contraction followed by a 5- to 10-second voluntary muscle relaxation. An effective stretching program needs to be consistently evaluated and refined as workplace conditions and systems changes become necessary. This article originally appeared in the February 2017 issue of Occupational Health & Safety. A Supplement, Not a Substitute The program is applicable to any industry and is easily adaptable for unique situations. Heavy lifting, pushing, pulling, or repetitive motion can … This should support your ergonomics efforts as well as promote employee health and well-being. Follow along with this 30 min stretch routine designed to help increase flexibility! The last option for eliminating injuries is centered on the worker, whether it's providing task-specific personal protective equipment or providing training in the form of stretching and flexibility exercise programs. Donald Graham, M.S., WSO-CSE, is the safety director at Jensen Precast in Sparks, Nev. Company managers and workers together in a space doing a common activity can create bonding and increase workplace moral. It is a great introduction to Moving Stretch which will help you learn to stretch while simultaneously boosting your flexibility, posture and energy levels. According to Gunsch (1993), no baseline data were collected. As with any training in the workplace, there's a cost, and the cost has to be justified by a benefit or return on investment. Prof Case Manag. While $20 billion in annual costs is a big number, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) estimates the yearly indirect costs associated with WMSDs, such as those associated with hiring and training replacement workers, are up to five times the direct costs.³. Companies seeking to implement stretching or ergonomic programs need to ensure that they have appropriate instructors for the programs, and the exercises or stretches must be tailored to the duties of workers. Since businesses continue to implement these programs, they should be done correctly in order to enhance the potential to be effective. The COVID-19 pandemic continues to have varied and widespread impacts on enterprises in nearly all industries as well as across the entire public sector. Implementing workplace stretching programs alone as a way to reduce soft tissue musculoskeletal injuries is controversial and studies have shown that stretching programs alone do not reduce injuries in any meaningful, statistical way. Studies show stretching at work can make us more refreshed and productive in our jobs. As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to have widespread impacts on governments, communities and employers throughout the U.S. and around the world, EHS professionals bring critical skills and expertise their organizations need to keep employees and customers as safe as possible as they navigate the various challenges the pandemic presents. These hidden costs are reflected in the time lost for an employee who is not available to accomplish his tasks, as well as the cost of training replacement workers and increased insurance costs. As these plans are updated to address the operational changes, regional pandemic outbreaks and other circumstances, EHS needs to be a key part of the planning team to make sure any adjustments in planning consider COVID-19 appropriate health and safety precautions. Not flexible? Most of us spend hours hunched over computers, smartphones, and steering wheels. These responsibilities include addressing logistical challenges to ensure PPE is supplied and available at all pertinent sites. of each shift. IndustrySafe Safety Management Software helps organizations to improve safety by providing a comprehensive toolset of software modules to help businesses identify trouble spots; reduce claims, lost days, OSHA fines; and more. Do not confuse dynamic stretching with ballistic stretching! Morning warm-up exercises conducted with construction workers, for example, can be beneficial for increasing or maintaining joint muscle flexibility. (972) 687-6700, Get the Ultimate Guide to OSHA Recordkeeping, Everything You Need to Know about Incident investigations, Maintaining Health and Safety During Takeaway and Curbside Pickups, Meatpacking Industry Pushes for Worker Vaccinations, Biden’s $1.9 Trillion Relief Package Includes Worker Safety, Neck Gaiters Are Effective Face Coverings, Says CDC and NIOSH Report, Lockheed Martin Corp. Will Pay $700,000 in Back Wages After DOL Investigation, Biden Chooses Steel Worker Safety Official for OSHA Leadership Position. These mini stretch breaks can help clear your mind for the tasks ahead and release stress, at least temporarily, from your day. The second choice is an administrative control, where the use of policies, procedures and job assignment rotation can be used to eliminate the hazard. Despite ergonomic programs having a demonstrated scientific benefit in the workplace, they only are required in California. Prepare. Meanwhile, EHS professionals also may be summoned to play a key role in helping assess and adjust their enterprise’s response to catastrophic events, including natural disasters such as hurricanes, wildfires, floods and earthquakes. How and where individuals work has been transformed, in some cases significantly, in only a few months. I developed a highly successful on-the-job stretching program at one large manufacturer. Does a potential reduction in musculoskeletal injuries justify the expenditure for these programs? A preshift stretching program was implemented to evaluate its effectiveness in preventing work-related musculoskeletal disorders (WMSD). Musculoskeletal disorders and injuries frequently are difficult to diagnose, and it often is difficult to recognize the hazards that cause them. As da Costa and Vieria (2008) point out: “Primary efforts should focus on adaptation of the work characteristics to the workers’ abilities and not the adaptation of the workers to the job demands. How­ ever, there was an estimated 30% to 40% cost avoidance in rehabilitation costs. Many risks exist with these remote work environments as home workspaces are typically non-adjustable, which increases the risk of developing musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) as compared to traditional office settings. Aggregate WMSD data were evaluated and s … Controlled leg and arm swings that take you ( gently!, although these measures may well-intentioned. All members of the team ™ will be a great way to kick the day with... Grouping or bonding in the workplace, they also have direct and indirect hidden... Palms on the ground Substitute make no mistake, employee stretching programs to EHS Today Magazine to receive leading of! 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