by Blake McGowan, CPE
In this month’s enewsletter, I explained how many health and safety professionals underestimate the cost of sitewide workplace stretching programs. Here’s a way to calculate the cost of your organization’s stretching program.
Step 1: Calculate the recommended workplace stretching activity time (in minutes) per week (Equation 1), based on the following guidelines recommended by the American College of Sport Medicine:
 Warm up for 5 minutes, minimum, prior to stretching
 Tailor exercises to commonly performed job duties
 Stretch regularly, minimum 2 to 3 days per week
 Perform stretches correctly:
 Use static or PNF stretches
 Hold stretch 10 to 30 seconds
 Repeat 3 to 4 times per muscle group
 Stretch bilaterally, emphasizing tight muscles
 Stretch to mild level of discomfort only
 Have only trained instructors lead or monitor classes
 Monitor compliance
 Stretch at appropriate work times throughout the day
 Company must be committed to work time and program overhead costs
Equation 1  
Recommended Workplace Stretching Activity Time per Week (minutes)  =  (Warmup Time + (Number of Muscle Groups x Duration of Stretch x Repetitions per Muscle Group)) x Number of Times per Week 
Step 2: Calculate the lowend estimate (Equation 1a) and highend estimate (Equation 1b) for the recommended workplace stretching activity time per week (in minutes).
Equation 1a (Low End)  
Recommended Workplace Stretching Activity Time per Week (minutes)  =  (5 minutes + (8 x 0.167 minute x 3)) x 2 = 18 minutes 
Equation 1b (High End)  
Recommended Workplace Stretching Activity Time per Week (minutes)

=  (5 minutes + (8 x 0.5 minute x 4)) x 3 = 63 minutes 
Step 3: Calculate the range of costs (low and high end).
Based on the calculations in steps 1 and 2, workplace stretching activities account for 18 to 63 minutes of employee work time per week. During the calendar year, this accounts for 15.6 to 54.6 hours per employee. If we choose a reasonable burdened labor cost per employee of $25 per hour, this costs $390 to $1,365 per employee per year. If the sitewide, workplace stretching program is deployed at a mediumsized manufacturing facility (i.e., 1,000 manufacturing employees, spread equally over 3 shifts), the annual costs of the stretching program will range between $390,000 and $1,365,000.
Step 4 (if necessary): In addition to these (salary) costs, calculate the potential for lost revenue (in dollars) if production is discontinued during the stretching activities (Equation 2).
Equation 2  
Lost Revenue (in dollars)  =  Recommended Workplace Stretching Activity Time per Year (hours) x Number of Workplace Employees x Production per Hour (units/hour) x Revenue per Unit. 
Step 5 (if necessary): Calculate the potential for lost profit (Equation 3).
Equation 3  
Lost Profit (in dollars)  =  Lost Revenue x Profit Margin 
No matter how you add it up, workplace stretching programs represent significant nonvalueadded direct costs for an initiative with anecdotal and, at best, marginal results.
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