The 2008 recession changed our economy forever, and the recent Pandemic of COVID-19 will surely have long lasting effects. What happened to manufacturing post 2008 crash? Companies became very lean and efficient with their spending and personnel, cutting cost everywhere they could to drive up profit margins. This strategy was an effective one, and in the years following, the American economy came roaring back with ferocity. Manufactures began ramping up production and expanding facilities. However, in recent years, many regions have experienced a lack of skilled and unskilled workforce to match the production demand. The result? Companies are still working recession era schedules, 12-hour shifts with frequent overtime. Additionally, most companies also have an aged workforce. Per the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employees over the age of 55 made up 13% of the workforce in 2000. This number rose to 22.1% in 2015 and is expected to rise to 24.8% by 2024. To top it off, America is in a public health crisis (aside from COVID-19): the rate of obesity in adults is at the highest level in history. According to a 2017 CDC study, it was determined that 39.6 of American adults were obese. So, what does all this mean?
Workers are predisposed to work related musculoskeletal disorders (WMSDs) at higher levels than ever before.
You are probably thinking, “Yes, I know all of this, but what can I do about it?” I have conversations with HR and HS&E professionals frequently about this topic. Everyone I talk to is struggling with this question and are looking for solutions. The simple answer is: if companies keep doing “what has always been done,” they will experience limited or negative return on investment (ROI) from their injury prevention initiatives. The days of posting an outdated poster of stretches on the production floor need to go away. Professionals need to be creative in developing a program that is based on current research, is measurable and engaging. Technology should be leveraged to deliver personalized injury prevention approaches that are fast and effective. Additionally, negative behavior patterns need to be identified and addressed through positive social/emotional reinforcement.
Simply put, people need to learn to MOVE again!
This blog is dedicated to teaching people the joy of movement and provide solutions to those in charge of improving the health of their workforce. Posts will occur weekly on Wednesdays and address topics such as: program development, movement routines, ergonomics and injury prevention. Next week, we will be discussing Elements of an Effective Injury Prevention Program.
If I can be of any assistance to you or if you have any questions, please connect with me by your favorite platform below. I would love to start a conversation!
Kevin Winn B.S., CIEE, CSCS, NSCA-CPT
Kevin is the Executive Director of HealthWorks Kinesiology and is a Certified Industrial Ergonomic Evaluator (CIEE), Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) and a Certified Personal Trainer (NSCA-CPT). Kevin holds a bachelor’s degree in Kinesiology and Health Promotion from Louisiana Tech University.
Hales CM, Carroll MD, Fryar CD, Ogden CL (2017). Prevalence of Obesity Among Adults and Youth: United States, 2015–2016 (PDF) (NCHS data brief, no. 288). Hyattsville, MD: National Center for Health Statistics. Retrieved November 22, 2017 – via www.cdc.gov.