There is a frightening trend among my clients.
It reveals cracks in our current WHS and wellness programs.
While we think employees in their 20’s as the least likely to get soft tissue injuries (tendonitis, chapel tunnel), these are exactly the group that concerns me the most.
Why? Because we now know over 80% of employees in offices, experience aches, pains and musculoskeletal discomfort related to work and that Gen Y is entering the workforce already injured due to high levels of screen use. That just two years after leaving farm work my client developed tendonitis in both index fingers and a friend who’s 11-year-old son has carpel tunnel in both thumbs from gaming.
One recent example,
“My daughter (24) and her boyfriend (25) are both seeing chiros and doctors for RSI related injuries due to excessive computer use. His is particularly bad leaving his right hand almost useless at the moment and he is seeking a work cover claim. Being so young, I worry for what his prospects are for his next 40 years of work as his work is all tech related and he is a mad gamer.”
Our twenty-first-century workforce is facing unique challenges, the consequences of which are only just starting to be revealed. When I am training, my programs include additional personalised recommendations on sports, exercises, stretches and time away from screens to give tired muscles time to recover. I know these recommendations are often filed away in the ‘I know I should but who has the time’ basket and here is why. Clients talk of a long commute to work, screen-based work all day, breaks are filled with social media catching ups, then a long commute home (always checking their phones), dinner via Uber because they are too tired to cook, and weekends filled with gaming either perched on the couch or the end of their bed.
How can a talk, office ergonomic checklist or workstation assessments ever hope to provide the skills to manage telecommuting, sit-stand workstations, activity-based workplaces, or the fast rate of lifestyle change with such significant and largely unforeseen health and safety consequences?
It’s time to re-imagine WHS programs and look holistically at wellness. Employers must provide training specifically designed to translate the latest ergonomics and self-care recommendations for office workers into work skills.
That’s the Beyond Ergo training difference. We build programs that ensure employees gain knowledge and skills to make informed health and safety decisions. Programs that guarantee transfer, so self-care competencies are automatically applied in any work or leisure situation.
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