To help curb injuries at work, some workplaces are turning towards stretching as part of overall worker wellness programs. When these programs are initiated as additional strategies of musculoskeletal disorder (MSD) prevention, they may be of some value. But when they’re considered an “ergonomics” program, they do little to benefit the worker or the workplace.
According to Joanette Alpert, MS, PT, CIE, CPE, Vice President and CFO of Woodward, Alpert & Associates, Inc., workplace stretching programs have varying goals and purposes. In labor-intensive jobs, a pre-work stretch might help prepare muscles. In the office, intermittent stretching is intended as compensatory for the work environment. But, cautions Alpert, “[Stretching] is not the [sole] answer. We always want to look at eliminating the cause first.”
In ergonomics, engineering controls
This article originally appeared in The Ergonomics Report™ on 2003-12-01.