Talk With Your People About the Relationship Between Poor Fitness and the Risk of Injury

As a supervisor, when you’re assigning tasks, you have to think about the general fitness of your crew. For example, before you ask someone to unload a pallet that was just delivered, you have to consider the weight of the heavy boxes and the ability of the individual you assign to the task.
Making those assessments takes some effort and attention in normal times, but COVID-19 has thrown a wrench into “normal.” For the last several weeks, people have been in varying degrees of isolation. Even folks who are still working on the jobsite may not be getting the regular exercise they used to get. When they’re home, they’re in isolation. They aren’t going to the gym. They aren’t meeting friends for a pickup game of basketball or hockey. They aren’t even taking their dogs for long walks. They zip in and out of the grocery store quickly and efficiently, without wandering to window-shop and without getting their 10,000 steps. And, according to anecdotal evidence, we’ve all been moving less and eating more.

You can’t force your employees to work out at home so that they’re healthier and more fit for work. But when you talk to them about injury prevention, you can suggest that they spend a little time at home to maintain a strong core. Remind your people that strengthening their core muscles—abdominal muscles, back muscles, and the muscles around the pelvis—will make it easier to work, lift, and even sit and stand. Older adults who have strong cores are less likely to suffer debilitating falls. Developing strong core muscles can help relieve lower back pain, too.

The Mayo Clinic has created a helpful slide show of exercises—designed for many different types of bodies and abilities—that can help build core strength. You can suggest that your people to watch it here.

Safety isn’t just about avoiding injuries. It’s also about preventing injuries by being proactive. When your people invest in their own health, they’re building a foundation for a safer jobsite and a healthier, more comfortable future for themselves.