Does a little tai chi before work give workers a boost in preventing musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) or are programs that require workers to stretch and move before tackling the job really just exercises in futility? That’s the answer Britain’s Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is hoping to find through a new project that will look at workplaces and studies to determine if the HSE should recommend stretching as an injury reduction tool for the country’s workers.
According to a press statement from the HSE, the goal of the project, being conducted for the HSE by a British ergonomics consulting firm and Japan’s Waseda University, is to find out if stretching and exercise in the workplace can help the 1.1 million workers each year in Great Britain who develop work-related MSDs.
The project will take into account existing literature on stretching and exercise programs in the workplace as well as look at workplaces that currently have related programs for their employees. Finally, if the project deems stretching or exercise to have a value in MSD reduction, something that science to date has not been able to prove, the HSE will attempt to determine what obstacles may exist when attempting to adopt such programs into the British workforce.
While the results of the project aren’t expected anytime soon, Ergoweb’s monthly publication, The Ergonomics ReportTM, will take its own in-depth look at the effectiveness of stretching, wellness and other work-related New Year’s resolutions in its January, 2004 issue.