Humans are key to your business – so look after them
For a business to maintain and indeed increase productivity, it’s essential that their workforce is happy, healthy and engaged. To that end, the prevention or management of injuries is a critical component in the pursuit of maintaining an effective labour force. Implementing and managing health and wellbeing programs of any workforce can come at a cost. But the cost of reactive strategies far outweighs those of a more proactive/preventative model.
As a society we are moving less. With the advancement of smart technologies and automation it has become less incumbent on the individual to maintain the same level of physical activity as previous generations. Compounding this, the rise and obsession with social media, gaming and streaming platforms has undoubtedly resulted in a less active group of humans.
The prevention or management of injuries is a critical component in the pursuit of maintaining an effective labour force.
Not only are we moving less, some might suggest we are also moving less optimally. Further to this, some would argue that quality of movement is as, if not more important than movement itself. The ever-increasing impact on our body’s capacity to move well as a result of hours spent sitting or lounging on the couch, spending hours seated at a desk, looking down at our smartphones or completing marathon gaming sessions, is becoming increasingly relevant to the health and wellbeing of humans.
The body is the most amazing compensation machine. As experts in the assessment and management of musculoskeletal injury in the workplace, we see this every day. We observe workers operating in fast paced, highly repetitive and physical environments, with common compensatory movement patterns- the body’s attempt to reduce pain or perform a specific task at a specific rate. Inevitably local or distant tissues/structures reach breaking point and subsequently fail, resulting in injury.
As a business there are a number of preventative measures that can be employed to reduce the occurrence or rate of injury.
A complete and highly detailed job bank with up to date task descriptions, work instruction, current manual handling risk assessments, physical/postural demands and video log of all tasks associated with a role. This in itself is a powerful tool that can be used to generate, drive and mine critical data and trends about injuries and or injury rates. Through this, task specific manual handling training and or task modification can be implemented to drive the rate of injury down.
A highly detailed job bank itself is a powerful tool that can be used to generate, drive and mine critical data and trends about injuries and or injury rates.
When engaging in any physical activity it’s important to prime your muscles, joints and neurological system in preparation for the task at hand. An obvious example of this is that of the typical sports person and their pre-game routine: a warm up is critical to not only game day performance but also reducing the risk of injury.
Understanding a production role and the demands on the body allows us to tailor warm-up solutions specific to a role or task. These could be completed on site prior to the commencement of a shift or at home prior to the employee presenting for work.
Prehabilitation, preventative rehab or prehab is a training measure that can be used to reduce the risk of injury and improve overall physical capacity. By doing so, prehab serves to minimise the need for rehabilitation.
Having a firm origin in the setting of orthopedics, prehab was once and still is a strategy used to improve prognosis and functional capacity of patients preparing for surgery. Recognising the beneficial application in this setting, prehab has now taken a foothold in the health and fitness space, and has the potential to profoundly change the landscape of injury management in manual handling industries.
It achieves this through graded and repeated exposure to training protocols that are specific to a job or task. Having a detailed understanding of the specific physical demands, types and rates of injury, the cohort of workers and the environment in which they work, it’s possible to deliver effective prehab programs/interventions.
By improving or restoring dysfunctional movement patterns, building strength and endurance in muscle groups specific to a task, improving joint mobility and tissue tolerance, it’s possible to bulletproof regions of the body that would otherwise be at risk of injury as a direct result of the job/task a worker performs.
It’s possible to bulletproof regions of the body that would otherwise be at risk of injury as a direct result of the job/task a worker performs.
By utilising a combination of robust preventative and proactive measures, it’s possible for a business to add a layer of protection or armour against the rigours of a hugely repetitive and physically demanding industry. It’s the critical strategic measure required to reduce significant financial burden on any business whilst maintaining a happy, healthy and productive workforce.