Stretch It Out!™ will be a great addition to my existing work injury management and prevention program. 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. These injuries are preventable with a work-readiness program that includes stretching. Dallas, TX 75254 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. Musculoskeletal injuries include sprains and strains, overexertion, soft tissue injuries, and repetitive strain injuries. Hold stretch for at least 20 seconds and repeat with right knee. 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. Do workplace stretching programs work? Requiring employees to participate can cause problems with unions, so make sure that union representatives are included in the discussion about stretching programs. 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. Stretching should not feel painful, if you feel pain stop and release the stretch, you may have stretched too far. 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. Make no mistake, employee stretching programs are not a substitute for a comprehensive workplace ergonomic program. Stretch both sides of your body evenly. Dynamic stretching consists of controlled leg and arm swings that take you (gently!) The costs of implementing a workplace stretching program are related to program development and implementation. 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. These new challenges have also reimagined the roles and responsibilities of EHS professionals. 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. Select … Many of these tools can be utilized in a dynamic work environment where EHS professionals may be working remotely while managing exposures. Do not confuse dynamic stretching with ballistic stretching! A stretching program requires careful planning and thought. Breathe slowly and deepen the stretch with every exhale. With the hold-relax PNF method, the muscle is placed into a static stretch. Pre-start (before-work) stretching programs have been around for decades. Stretching programs offer benefits and challenges. Detailed Guidelines. 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. Since businesses continue to implement these programs, they should be done correctly in order to enhance the potential to be effective. If you feel uncomfortable relax the stretch. 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? Here are five ways EHS professionals can keep their operations running safely and smoothly during the pandemic. Are you prepared? (B) Exhale as you hinge forward from your hips (without rounding your back) and place your palms on the ground. Sang Choi and Todd Woletz (2010) reviewed several research articles and concluded that, “While research does support that stretching improves flexibility/ROM and self-worth, stretching alone might not prevent work-related musculoskeletal disorders and … Breathe normally, do not hold your breath. How­ ever, there was an estimated 30% to 40% cost avoidance in rehabilitation costs. 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. Donald Graham, M.S., WSO-CSE, is the safety director at Jensen Precast in Sparks, Nev. They are another tool in the musculoskeletal disorder (MSD) prevention toolbox. Most stretches can be held for 10 to 30 seconds before releasing the stretch. This stretching program will only work on your body directly. How and where individuals work has been transformed, in some cases significantly, in only a few months. Companies are better off implementing a comprehensive ergonomics program to address engineering and administrative controls and implement a stretching program as an element of the overall ergonomics program. The pandemic has made it critical for EHS professionals to take a more proactive role in driving this process. Many are seeing value in adding employee stretching programs to help fill the gap between the workers and what can be done ergonomically to protect them. Heavy lifting, pushing, pulling, or repetitive motion can … 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. Helpful logs, effective tips, and much more to help you stay on track! Aggregate WMSD data were evaluated and s … I developed a highly successful on-the-job stretching program at one large manufacturer. 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). Workers in a Midwestern factory were assessed for WMSDs before and after the new 8-min stretching program was implemented. Musculoskeletal disorders and injuries frequently are difficult to diagnose, and it often is difficult to recognize the hazards that cause them. Canada’s Healthy Workplace Week 2004 – A Stretch-Break Program for your Workplace! 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. 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. All rights reserved. Stretch your left arm out to the side and look towards your left hand. Injuries not only cause pain and suffering for employees, they also have direct and indirect (hidden) costs. • 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. • Do each stretching exercise at least 4 times each session. The second choice is an administrative control, where the use of policies, procedures and job assignment rotation can be used to eliminate the hazard. These responsibilities include addressing logistical challenges to ensure PPE is supplied and available at all pertinent sites. The three common types of stretches are proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation (PNF), static and isometric. 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. 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. 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! With more people working remotely as well as in retrofitted and different work environments, a new push for ergonomic best practices has become top of mind for EHS professionals. A review of stretching programs in workplaces found that stretching improved range of motion, posture, and provided stress relief. So, the differences you notice aren’t just temporary. These workers typically are exposed to manual materials handling and strenuous working positions. An effective stretching program needs to be consistently evaluated and refined as workplace conditions and systems changes become necessary. A stretching program is a form of physical exercise where specific muscles are elongated to their fullest length to improve the muscles' elasticity. 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. 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. Simple stretching exercises will warm up muscles, improve elasticity and help keep you comfortable at work. 14901 Quorum Drive, Suite 425 Morning warm-up exercises conducted with construction workers, for example, can be beneficial for increasing or maintaining joint muscle flexibility. Most of us spend hours hunched over computers, smartphones, and steering wheels. 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. of each shift. As one example, many employers lack a process to facilitate and ensure safely working from home. That takes a toll on your back, hips, neck, and … The person is then instructed to relax and the partner slowly moves the muscle to a new static position. Group stretching was initiated for 6 to 10 minutes at the beginning . Work-related musculoskeletal disorders are a group of painful disorders of muscles, tendons, and nerves. 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. The person is instructed to “hold” and contract the muscle against resistance from a partner for 10 seconds. Even under these dynamic conditions, ensuring employee health, wellness and safety still ranks among any organization’s highest priorities. All industries have been impacted by the virus—from manufacturing and industrial operations to retail, banking, financial and professional services, the public sector and educational institutions. (A) Bend your knees and bring the soles of your feet together, letting your knees drop toward the ground. 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. 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. 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. Ordinarily, EHS professionals would conduct frequent (daily, weekly or monthly) safety meetings to address key safety topics affecting an organization. Don’t hold your breath. In a paper titled“Do Stretching Programs Prevent Work-related Musculoskeletal Disorders?,” Choi and Woletz described the concept of stretching in this manner:  “It is commonly believed that stretching before or after physical activity can reduce the chance of a strain or sprain injury by increasing the flexibility of muscles, tendons and ligaments, which in turn increases the range of motion in a joint or group of joints.”. No matter the size of your company, a workplace stretching program will represent a significant non-value added direct cost. Take a stretch break – performing some stretching exercises throughout the day can help relieve common aches and pains, tension, and loosen stiff muscles. However, although these measures may be well-intentioned, most employees lack sufficient awareness of ergonomics to make informed decisions about their work-from-home setups. He can be reached at dgraham@jensenprecast.com. These include situations facing food and other manufacturing industries, warehousing and distribution, among other sectors. Studies show stretching at work can make us more refreshed and productive in our jobs. The impacts of an ill-conceived and hastily implemented program can result in significant bottom line corrosion and possibly further injuries for employees. Participation in the stretching program was not man-dated; however, employees were expected to be present during the stretching routine because the group also discussed work-related issues because workers were “on the clock.” The therapist and nurse practitioner Company managers and workers together in a space doing a common activity can create bonding and increase workplace moral. Sit on the floor with your legs straight. Work the Room. To help answer your key recordkeeping questions, IndustrySafe put together this guide with critical compliance information. Now, more than in the past, the team approach to managing workplace and remote work arrangements has taken center stage as employers work to navigate the challenges of the sustained pandemic. On-the-Job Stretching Programs. 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. 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. It never demands you to do a lot of workouts or exercises. If there is one thing that always gets forgotten after a good workout routine, it is definitely stretching! Not flexible? The California ergonomic standard is triggered when a workplace has two or more cumulative trauma injuries as identified by a medical professional. Sep-Oct 2007;12(5):300-2. doi: 10.1097/01.PCAMA.0000291430.84481.14. They largely resemble what we typically see on the sidelines of parks and courts before a weekend warrior launches into their bout of activity. Notably, employees often have difficulty obtaining proper equipment to ensure an ergonomically sound home workspace. Benefits: The lying torso twist stretches your hips, groin, and lower back muscles, increasing mid-back mobility while opening chest. So many people underestimate the importance of stretching and how it can help to heal your muscles and improve flexibility. Dynamic stretching, according to Kurz, "involves moving parts of your body and gradually increasing reach, speed of movement, or both." to the limits of your range of motion. However, the scientific data on the true effectiveness of workplace stretching programs is in doubt. Simply rounding up employees for some random calisthenics isn't going to prevent WMSDs. Employers who have implemented OSHA's ergonomic guidelines have lower incidence of cumulative trauma injuries and associated workers' compensation costs. 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. 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. Do workplace stretching programs work? The company reported positive 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. These mini stretch breaks can help clear your mind for the tasks ahead and release stress, at least temporarily, from your day. JOB SITE STRETCHING EXERCISES. A paper titled, “Do Stretching Programs Prevent Work-Related Musculoskeletal Disorders” (WMSD’s) by Authors Dr. Prof Case Manag. 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. Perfect even for people with lower levels of flexibility and mobility. 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. Across the U.S. and around the world, work life and social life have changed dramatically from the impacts of COVID-19. Subscribe to EHS Today Magazine to receive leading coverage of the EHS industry. Think about it this way: when you are training, your muscles are constantly contracting and lengthening. Many workplaces look to a stretching program as a simple and quick fix to workplace strain or muscular skeletal injuries, but it is more than that. 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. The program was targeted to keep muscle strains and repetitive motion injuries to a minimum. It is a great introduction to Moving Stretch which will help you learn to stretch while simultaneously boosting your flexibility, posture and energy levels. Prevail.® Construction workers need to warm up to meet the job’s physical demands. 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. 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. You can do these stretches 5-6 days a week for 3 weeks. This article originally appeared in the February 2017 issue of Occupational Health & Safety. 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. 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. Use the stairs instead of the elevator. Over time, the ongoing use as well as … Regardless of whether they and their colleagues are able to work on-site with ready access to their employer’s facilities or must work remotely, EHS professionals can continue to have a measurable impact on their organization’s ability to deal with the effects of COVID-19 on their enterprises. The implementation of workplace stretching programs provides a feel-good aspect to injury prevention. 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. With new guidance and local requirements now in place in many areas of the world, EHS has moved deeper into areas involving industrial hygiene and occupational health. Stretching as a group each morning is a great way to kick the day off with a focus on safety. Does a potential reduction in musculoskeletal injuries justify the expenditure for these programs? 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. Sean Salvas is senior market strategy lead-EHS with Origami Risk LLC, a provider of risk management solutions. A preshift stretching program was implemented to evaluate its effectiveness in preventing work-related musculoskeletal disorders (WMSD). 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. Advocates of workplace stretching programs claim that improving flexibility can prevent work-related musculoskeletal injuries. be stretching every day. I will no longer have to spend endless hours trying to develop my own stretching program for my clients. You only have to follow the guidelines and implement them to make your body stretchable and potential. Consequently minimising cost by reducing the frequency of worker compensation claims and time lost due to injury. 1. According to Gunsch (1993), no baseline data were collected. Protect. Hazards in the workplace can be controlled by several methods; usually engineering controls, where the hazard is designed out, is the first choice. Have a physical therapist review your work activities and design a basic stretching program for your employees. 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. The following are some simple stretching exercises you can do at your work station. 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. 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. Stretching the Hands & Forearms 1. Implementing a Successful Stretching Program When implementing a stretching program, there are three key elements to consider: Leadership buy-in and support; … 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. 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. Slowly stretch into the desired position, as far as 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. Injuries are a source of concern for any type of business. Select the right program for your facility. 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. 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. OSHA’s Form 300A posting deadline is February 1! 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. Some employees might refuse to participate or won't participate because of religious reasons. By using virtual assessments, EHS professionals can get a better handle on varied office setup risks while helping manage work/rest cycles, awkward angles and repetitive tasks (typing/clicking), all of which represent injury risks that can be addressed with effective ergonomics solutions and best practices. Train management and all team members. Workplace on-the-job stretching programs are controversial, some safety professionals believe in them while others think they are a waste of time. 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