Julie Edelson, PT, helped create a pre-work warm-up and stretching program for a concrete construction firm in Washington, D.C. about two years ago. The employer, who according to Edelson was already very active in workplace ergonomics, brought the idea to her.
“It’s a custom-designed program,” says Edelson, who indicated that developing a course that would be readily adopted by the predominantly male construction crews was a task in itself. And overall, it wasn’t an inexpensive or simple program to produce. “Prepackaged programs aren’t appropriate,” states Edelson.
As part of the program launch, the actual exercises were developed, time was devoted to training and explanation, and trainer guidelines were determined. In addition, the high turnover rate in the construction industry meant a continual retraining of the employees.
Overall, however, when combined with the employer’s additional commitment to safety and ergonomics, both compliance-related and otherwise, Edelson’s client has seen success. In February 2001, Edelson indicated that the employer showed 52 recordable injuries; by 2003, that number had dropped to 13. The decline in injuries can’t necessarily be attributed to the stretching program, but Edelson believes it played a part in the success.
“The on-site programs need to be creative and focus on worker efficiency, safety and body awareness versus
This article originally appeared in The Ergonomics Report™ on 2004-01-01.