Stretching programs are becoming more and more commonplace in the manufacturing and construction industries. Lots of companies are doing it, but does it really work? Well, new research is coming out every month and results are pretty positive for injury reduction.
In a recent article I was reading, a group of researchers looked at 13 construction firms with employees ranging between 75-2000. Results are shown here on the graph.
Stretching programs reduced work related musculoskeletal disorders (WMSD), OSHA recordables and also lost days at work.
There are also some surprising results of stretching programs. Several companies expressed increased communication, camaraderie, and collaboration. Having employees get together in a team setting every day is an awesome way to get to know each other and also allow leadership to make sure every is fit for duty that day.
It is difficulty to determine full efficacy of stretching programs as most companies utilize multiple resources and programs for safety and injury prevention. However, it seems to be a great adjunct and a way for the individual employee to participate in his/her own health every day.
Just with every other program your company may have, integration, consistency and “buy in” are the most important characteristics to assure your program is successful. Leaders must be positive and consistent in making sure employees understand the importance of these programs, how they benefit them, and implement programs like this every day.
Choi, Sang & Rajendran, Sathy & Ahn, Kwangseog. (2017). Stretch & flex programs: Effects on the reduction of musculoskeletal disorders & injuries. Professional safety. 62. 38-43.