At Branco, establishing a safety-first culture is critical. We aim to reduce the risk of accidents that occur on the job by being proactive in our employee training. One established way we choose to be proactive is by requiring our employees to spend at a minimum of 3-5 minutes, at the beginning of each workday, stretching.
Beginning and maintaining a routine for your days can be beneficial in many different ways. Having a routine can be an anchor; routines reduce stress levels, help us with forming healthier habits, and take all of the uncertainty and guesswork out of our day. Implementing a routine of stretching prior to beginning your workday is just one step in maintaining healthy daily habits, both mentally and physically.
Branco aims to be proactive instead of reactive. We care about the health and safety of our employees and sub-contractors. We put your physical well-being as a top priority, for you and for your team. It’s easy to plan for the potential ‘common’ hazards on a job site, you know to wear the correct personal protective equipment – safety toe boots, hard hats, safety glasses and gloves. But what about the hazards of this job that we don’t give a second thought to? Your job can take a physical toll on your body, regardless of wearing the proper safety equipment, that’s why it is crucial to be aware of musculoskeletal disorders and potential injuries.
What Is a Musculoskeletal Disorder and Am I At Risk?
Often, and if not prevented, repetitive motions and heavy lifting used throughout our daily lives can cause us to develop soft-tissue injuries called MSDs, or musculoskeletal disorders. The most common areas affected are usually those with which we use the most force, such as our muscles, joints, neck, and back. The construction industry specifically sustains a large number of MSDs when not prevented, due to your sometimes-labor-intensive work.
In the construction industry alone, MSDs are the single largest cause of work-related illness, with 77% of reported illness being related to some form of MSD obtained while on the job. Likewise, MSDs involving the back muscles account for 62% of all work-related injuries.
SOURCE Bureau of Labor Statistics
With that being said, there are multiple types of musculoskeletal injuries that you should be aware of. MSDs can be as common as Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, which is a problem of the nerve in the hand and wrist, and as serious as Degenerative Disc Disease, which is caused by damaging the cushions between your spinal vertebrae. When those gel-like cushions are damaged, workers can feel pain throughout their entire back, legs and hips.
In the construction industry specifically, your work duties would be highly affected by the occurrence of MSDs and bodily injury. It is important for us, Branco, to educate our employees and identify preventative measures that we can help you take in order to eliminate the possibility of injury.
What are the Causes of Musculoskeletal Injury?
MSDs occur when the body is not physically prepared for the movement it is about to perform. Without proper stretching, posture and technique your body will become physically strained and unable to withstand the force your movement has created. MSDs also occur due to repetitive motion without relent. If you are constantly raising your arms above your head, bending over, or even standing in one spot without movement, your body can begin to break down its soft-tissue. Musculoskeletal injuries not only impact your daily life but can prevent productivity on the job, leading to a loss of days worked and the potential for eventual disability.
Early Intervention is Key – Safety First
Stretching might seem mundane or unnecessary to you if it isn’t yet a part of your routine, but simple stretches will make sure that your body is warmed up and will reduce the possibility of incurring any muscle strain or bodily injury. Branco provides a Job Site Stretching Guide with stretches that we feel will be most beneficial to maintaining your health. None of these stretches are labor intensive and can all be done within the 3-5-minute window before your shift begins.
Construction workers need to warm up to meet the job’s physical demands, we have identified nine physical stretches that will help warm up your muscles, improve muscle elasticity, and help keep you comfortable while at work. Having a plan in place will aide you in maintaining a daily routine, we hope that we can help create that plan.
While performing the Branco approved stretches provided for you, employees should remember a few key factors. Do not forget to breathe while exercising; never hold your breath when stretching, maintaining blood flow and oxygen to your brain is important. Don’t forget to exercise regularly; developing a pattern of exercising various parts of your body at regular intervals will alleviate any discomfort before it can begin. Employees should stretch gently; avoid jerky movements and go easy at first. You can start with a few exercises you are comfortable with and gradually increase at your own pace. Lastly, discontinue any stretches or exercise if pain occurs. Pain and discomfort while performing any movements may indicate that you are pushing your body past its physical limits. Consult a medical professional when in doubt.
To download Branco’s Job Site Stretching Guide, click here.
Having a routine in place for your day will help you remember to exercise and stretch before beginning your workday and, never forget, stretching and exercise do not solely benefit the physical body. There is a strong scientific link between your mental health and physical exercise, when you stretch your body releases endorphins. Endorphins not only cause your mind to feel more positive and energized, but also reduce your pain perception, leading to a more productive and positive workday.
Branco wants you to continue to be your physical and mental best!
Let’s Stretch Our Health as Far as We Can
As mentioned, musculoskeletal disorders can be a common occurrence in the construction industry, your industry. However, we can work together in order to prevent injury and accident, we can be a healthier and more productive company as a whole – which leads to further opportunity for all of us. You are warned against driving your vehicle in the cold weather before warming it up, the same thought and care should apply to your body!
We encourage our employees to take the same care of their physical health and see it with as much importance as we here, at Branco, do. The benefits greatly surpass the small amount of time we ask you to stretch before a shift, remember it is simply 3-5 minutes of your day. That cup of coffee is important before work, but don’t underestimate the physical and mental benefits that a simple stretch will impact your day, and your lives.