Staying limber while on the job mightn’t seem like the top thing on your daily priority list but for operators of heavy machinery, it is a vital part of workplace health and safety procedures. If you’re a machinery operator, truck driver, or project supervisor it is not uncommon to spend a typical 40 hour week in a seated position. While sitting at a desk or in the drivers’ seat while operating heavy machinery is an essential part of the job it can, however, have detrimental effects on the health of your body and overall well-being.
A recent Australian study found that for sedentary workers, the rate of chronic ailments reported (including back pain, stiff neck, and overall unhappiness from lack of moving and activity) are increasing steadily. The classic 2pm slump is a direct result of lack of movement during the work day. While many workers opt for a coffee hit, sugar kick, or energy boost from food, taking a minute to get up and stretch or go for a quick walk is often neglected. However, “interspersing short movements and exercises throughout the workday can boost employee energy, engagement and efficiency – whether it’s stretching periodically in your seat or getting up to take a short walk, small actions can go a long way toward improving both individual and company performance,” says sports scientist Jack Groppel in a recent article with Forbes US.
Some simple exercise you and your employees can do daily include:
- Getting up and moving around for 5 minute intervals
- Simple stretches using your shoulders, upper arms, chest, back, neck, wrists, and forearms.
- Wrists and forearms: Lift your arms out in front of you. Keeping your arms straight, move your hands in circles, first in a clockwise direction then anti-clockwise. Repeat this motion 10 times in each direction.
- Shoulders: Rotate your right shoulder forwards then backward in a circular motion, repeating this 10 times for each shoulder. You’ll soon feel looser through your upper back, shoulders, and neck. Remember to keep a strong, straight posture while doing this exercise and try not to move your chest forward.
- Arms and upper back: Clasping your hands together with intertwined fingers, palm facing away from you, stretch your arms out forward to stretch along your upper back. Hold for 20 seconds and repeat at least twice. You can repeat this same movement in the opposite direction, with your hands behind your back, stretching your chest and upper arms.
- Neck and upper back: Looking straight ahead, pulling your chin towards your chest, gently rock your head from left to right in a circular motion (imagine you are making a semi-circle with your head, chin rolling against your chest). Repeat this movement 2-3 times. You should feel the stretch along the sides of your neck. Pull your shoulders down gently to increase the effectiveness of the stretch.
Looking to the future, Artificial Intelligence (AI) and the commonality of automated processes will see a shift in the kind of work undertaken by employees from sedentary to active and moving teams. This is where the real impact can be made. Changing current work models from unproductive and unhealthy to proactive, productive and positive working environments. The new generation and innovations in technology are impacting when, where and how employees work and collaborate in a healthier environment for all.
Our workers are our most valuable resource and we have a duty of care to minimise their level of exposure to known hazards. The health and wellness of our employees, particularly those on construction and project sites should always be a priority.
At RDW, we have a broad range of machines from a variety of manufacturers in stock. This allows you the unique opportunity to try several different machines at the same time, so you can evaluate which machine has most suitable ergonomics for you, your application, and your operator.
At RDW we exceed expectations across our four business units, to provide quality customer service, coupled with specialist advice and industry knowledge, providing power to your project. If you have a big project coming up but don’t quite have the power or machinery to take it to completion, contact our specialists today to find out we can help see your project to fruition. We have everything you need, from machinery to parts and servicing, to get your project underway.