Ergonomics done right.®
September 22nd, 2011

Your Thoughts on Workplace Stretching Programs?

We’ve received a lot of feedback on our September ErgoAccelerator E-news article, What is the Cost of Your Stretching Program? One recent comment is below. What are your thoughts? We’d like to hear from you too.

While I agree with Blake’ s comments in terms of little scientific evidence that exercises reduce incidents of MSDs I do think the article forgets to mention that it does have an important role to play if exercise regimes compliment risk mitigation efforts which our organisation have been conscientiously doing over the last 10 years.

My company manufactures surgical sutures. These jobs can be repetitive and some product codes require intensive hand and eye activity while sitting in fixed static postures so a programme of targeted formal or informal workstation exercises does allow the joints to move, activating the muscles which allows the blood supply to return and waste products to be removed – a common source of temporary muscle and soft tissue ache. Even optimising the working postures, following assessments and implementation of control measures, will lead to reduced muscle effort, less loading on the joints and allow the most efficient muscles to leverage the movement but these muscles will still need to be stretched occasionally beyond their normal cycle range.

It is also interesting to look at the evidence of athletes and their warm up / down exercises and the evidence seems to point to more benefit (reduced chance of injury) after the event rather than before.

Blake’s points on CBA of exercise programmes are very valid and adds emphasis to having associate and health (physiotherapist) involvement in designing, leading and updating the exercises that are carefully targeted for those activities so that they provide sustained ‘muscle relief’. The Goggins et al. (2009) bar chart is an interesting visual display quantifying ergonomic control effectiveness showing elimination of risk exposure being the most effective.

Thanks for sharing.

Kevin Tesh