Could stretching following a work-break be the key to reducing worker injuries?

 

Asahi’s Hotspot Program

Employers in manual labour industries have long seen the benefits of a workplace stretching program. In fact, WFR’s Warm Up 4 Work stretching program is one of our most popular solutions – forming a part of most injury prevention strategies. Not only do they feel good and are great for team morale, they go a long way to improving your people’s musculoskeletal health.

“Every day over 200 people injure their joints, muscles or tendons at work seriously enough to require at least one week off work,” said Safe Work Australia CEO Rex Hoy. So not considering the musculoskeletal health of your people is a costly mistake for employers.

Asahi Beverages have long had a proactive injury prevention strategy in place. Among other strategies, staff in manual roles start each work day with a stretch routine. A daily ritual that has been working well for the business.

Always looking to improve the wellbeing of their people, Asahi conducted a review of their injury statistics in 2019. While this review showed that injuries were trending down overall – there were five roles with a higher potential  for injury compared to others.

The review also found specific times during the work day where the risk of injury was higher, and it was generally within 30-min of a work-break. This is a result of the body’s musculoskeletal system cooling down during the break, so when staff returned to work they were not physically prepared for the work they needed to do.

Enter Project Hotspot, an Asahi project team was tasked with creating new initiatives to target the five roles with higher potential for injury.

The team concluded that customised stretching programs should be developed for the five roles to ensure the stretches were specific for the tasks they were performing. In addition, the team recommended that the workplace stretching ritual already in place across the business should be increased to include stretching after work-breaks.

Asahi partnered with Worksite Fitness and Rehabilitation to design and deliver these initiatives.

 

Asahi Hotspot Stretching Program Snapshot

  • WFR spent time observing and profiling the five identified job roles, to better understand the physical demands of the job and ensure that an appropriate stretch program was designed.
    The new stretch programs were rolled out to teams across the country between May July of this year.
  • Programs were kept short to encourage stretching at multiple times throughout the day. Stretching before starting work and after each work break was facilitated through the program, however workers were encouraged to stretch at other points throughout the day and at the end of the day to cool down.
  • There was an education component to the stretching program so workers understood why they were being asked to stretch at multiple times throughout the day and why specific stretches had been selected.
  • The program was delivered in-person by a WFR Exercise Physiologist and continued via webinar in some locations when COVID-19 travel and social distancing restrictions were implemented.
  • Resources (such as stretch cards and posters) were provided to the team in running their own sessions – helping the program to be self-sustaining.

 

“The Hotspot Stretching program has been well received by our business and flexibility with delivery was key during the COVID-19 challenges we faced. Workers now have an enhanced understanding of how best to warm up and stretch throughout the day. They can further use the developed stretch cards which are task specific as a reference and it heightens their awareness of the manual nature of the task they are completing. The program has been so successful that we have received requests for further delivery and an extension of the roles covered, this is an indication that workers are feeling the benefits of the program too”.

Natalie Tabone, Group Head of Environment, Health & Safety at Asahi Beverages.

 

If you want to discuss a proactive injury prevention strategy for your business? Contact us today!