BODY LEADERSHIP ARTICLE: FEBRUARY 2020
As a physio I see injury prevention has always been divided into two distinct camps. There is the old standard injury prevention…bend knees…keep your back straight style that almost all traditional workplaces implement. Then there are the ‘next level’ injury prevention strategies that until recently have only been accessible to athletes.
When we teach this stuff to our sportspeople in the clinic, we give them a toolkit of strategies. They need to know how to free up tension around joints. They have to be able to quickly ‘deload’ to put less pressure through different parts of the body with lifting as well as using high level core strength techniques aimed at joints as well as specific ranges related to their sport. Basically, they have a super effective toolkit of skills to use anywhere, any time to nip problems in the bud BEFORE getting injured.
The thing is that nothing athletes do to help themselves is hard or difficult to understand or learn. It’s just a toolkit of skills that have to be taught. And the reality is your people are doing MORE than most athletes. Think about it, almost all sports people train in short sharp bursts, rarely for eight to ten hours a day! The time has come to move beyond ‘bend knees, back straight’. EVERYONE doing heavy manual work needs to have access to this same toolkit of skills. The only key difference between an athlete and the program your people can use is the amount of time they spend on it. Some of our athletes spend a couple of hours a day managing tension and optimising themselves. Your people won’t have that time. They need to be able to do stuff quickly, in 20 seconds, one minute, up to 5 minutes a day absolutely max.
There are a number of ways organisations can start to implement these skills and the easiest is through toolbox programs on the phone or ipad. 5 minutes once a week is enough to upskill and support crews. Jodie Kibble, HR Manager at Buildsafe Qld commented, “one of our staff approached me this morning to say he’d been watching the videos and that this is the best thing we have done for the staff since he’s been with the company”. Athletes know this stuff as second nature and it is now available for the first time in the workplace. It’s actually simple, but it needs to be taught and reinforced quickly and easily long term. We’ve had enough of ‘The Broken Scaffy’ culture. It’s time to make a change.
Paul is an injury prevention expert. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org www.workinjuryfree.com.au
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