Learn the health promotion strategies you can use to keep workplace athletes healthy and productive.
Have you heard of the NIOSH Total Worker Health program?
Based on mountains of research, the program advocates a strategy integrating protection from safety hazards with promotion of injury prevention efforts in order to advance worker well-being.
Here is a short explanation straight from the NIOSH website:
“Total Worker Health® is defined as policies, programs, and practices that integrate protection from work-related safety and health hazards with promotion of injury and illness prevention efforts to advance worker well-being.”
At Ergonomics Plus, we’ve been an advocate for “Total Worker Health” since before NIOSH created this initiative. We call it “Workplace Athlete Health”.
A Workplace Athlete Health program:
- Protects workplace athletes from ergonomic risk factors (work-related hazards) by proactively implementing an ergonomics improvement process.
- Promotes workplace athlete health through training and one-on-one interactions with an on-site injury prevention specialist (Licensed Athletic Trainer).
- Advances workplace athlete well-being and performance.
The result of this comprehensive approach is drastically lower risk of musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs). Not only is this great for workplace athletes, but the organizations that implement Workplace Athlete Health programs benefit with lower costs, improved productivity and many other benefits.
Workplace athlete health promotion basics
When combined with a proactive ergonomics improvement process, the following workplace athlete health promotion tactics lower injury risk and advance the overall health and well-being of workplace athletes.
Group training workshops
Education and training workplace athletes helps them learn how to work properly, recovery from each workday, and advance their overall well-being.
- Ergonomics awareness
- MSD awareness and prevention
- Body mechanics and work practices
- Lifting technique (individual and team lifting)
- Rest and recovery
- Health habits
Early intervention is a proactive way to discover early warning signs of MSDs and put control measures in place to prevent an injury from occurring. Team members are encouraged to report early warning signs (excessive fatigue and discomfort) of MSDs. When the early report is received, an on-site injury prevention specialist (licensed athletic trainer) should conduct an early intervention consultation to identify root causes and consult the team member on injury prevention best practices
Warm-up and stretching
Stretching is a vital part of a healthy fitness regimen. Pre-shift stretching and warm-up exercises reduce the risk of musculoskeletal injuries by reducing fatigue, improving muscular balance and posture, and improving muscle coordination.
Marketing and communication
Internal communication has a substantial impact on your organization, whether you realize it or not. Ongoing marketing and communication efforts should be made promoting your workplace athlete health program. The results of this ongoing communication — paired with the tactics described above — shape the culture of your organization. The workplace athlete program is a tangible way to communicate that you care about advancing the well-being of those inside your organization.
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