A Work Hardening program will involve measuring strength and functional movements, issuing exercise programs, and tracking the worker’s progress. Work Hardening appointments also have a support and wellbeing aspect, where the workplace provider will teach participants independence and self-management strategies.
At the end of the six weeks, we will mark down strength and functional movements and assess if there has been any change. We then recommend whether they would be suitable to move into heavier or more demanding roles in the future. We aim to gradually improve a worker’s physical capabilities and tolerance to load, while minimising the risk of soft tissue and repetitive strain injuries.
Combining exercise coaching with manual handling and ergonomic advice, Work Hardening complements a comprehensive and supportive approach to employee training.
Here are some tips that will help to deliver a successful program:
Supervisors and Managers should flag workers who they think will be suitable to complete the program. Site contacts book selected workers for their initial appointment. Your Workplace Health Provider will manage ongoing appointments.
Work hardening is designed for healthy workers, with the most benefit going to new starters or people moving into different roles.
If you have booked in an injured worker, or if the participant gets an injury while undergoing the program, your Workplace Health Provider will need to make a clinical decision around whether the participant is fit to participate in the program or not.
Work Hardening is a six week program that helps support workers when starting physically demanding roles. Before booking a participant into a Work Hardening appointment, please ensure the worker is able to commit to six visits.
Help workers to understand what Work Hardening is, and encourage them to follow their prescribed exercise programs. Ask your Workplace Health Provider for our handouts that explain Work Hardening for both participants and supervisors. Encourage participants to ask for help if they do not understand their exercise program or if they are having trouble understanding the work hardening concept.
A successful program depends on the participant following the exercise program that has been designed for them. Having a supportive and encouraging team around the participant will increase the likelihood of success. It is important to have regular follow up sessions to get the benefit of the program, so making the workers available for their appointments is essential.
We recommend that participants print out their exercise program and place it where they are reminded to complete it, for example on the fridge or bathroom door. Setting a reminder on their phone or in the Physitrack app with a regular time to perform exercises is also helpful.
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