Workplace Injuries & Safety
Workplace injuries and unsafe practices are a big Productivity Killer. At Productivity Bootcamp we take this very serious. What we have discovered is that most of the trainees are not physically work ready. If they are not physically active through school or when on Centrelink, their muscles are weak which makes them injury prone, mark my word, with the likes of infrastructure being so physical they would be on Workers Comp within 3 months.
We have engaged a Physiotherapist Paul Manaro, a back specialist, to work closely with us to educate our trainees in early prevention. Paul has studied all our activities and has designed a construction industry specific warm-up program for the start of the day. Paul has designed an additional strengthening program, a 45 min training session to build core and legs strength and finishing the day with a stretching program. One of Paul’s successes was the way he explained the lower back in simple terms, to hit their subconscious. Paul explained how the fluid between the discs is like a bubble – so if you bend over for a sustained length of time, the bubble will get pushed out, causing the potential for a bulging disc. Common sense is to regularly arch your back to push the bubble back the other way, but warning not a full arch and muscles must be relaxed – so we created the catchphrase ‘Don’t forget the Bubble’, which is displayed at all workstations. Since we started this, 15 to 20 minutes won’t pass until you see someone arching their back- this is working very well.
The correct way to Arch your back
“After a period of repeated or sustained bending, it is helpful to perform gentle back ‘arching’ exercises. Straighten up, place your fingers or thumbs over the lower back, and arch a small distance backwards, holding this for several seconds. Relax, and repeat this 3 or more times. Take longer with this exercise if you have spent a lot of time bending. Don’t arch all the way back, and use your fingers to feel that the lower back muscles are staying relaxed throughout the exercise. There should be no discomfort. If anything, this should feel like a nice stretch. This will help to reduce the pressure on the ‘bubble’ within the disc, to ‘re-set’ the over-stretched muscles, and relieve stress on ligaments of the lower back. “
This success then prompted us to think outside the box to hit the same subconscious when it comes to Safety
We spend millions every year on safety procedures but the biggest challenge we have, in any industry, is getting people to subconsciously be aware of the dangers that surround them.
We brought these men to the Zoo for a day out. When we came to where the lions were, we asked these men to think about how safe they felt because there were barriers between us and the lions. We then asked them to imagine if these barriers came down, how their survival instincts and awareness would kick in. We then spoke about the dangers in the construction industry that can kill just as quickly and that we can’t just depend on safety procedures alone. Our awareness should be switched on at all times like it would be around wild animals. This planted the seed for a safety campaign, ‘Think Safe – it’s a Jungle out there’.
To give ownership we asked the men to write down all the hazards in the construction industry and match them with wild animals – here’s what they came up with:
From that brainstorm, one of our trainees, a ‘street artist’, had his talents put to more productive use to draw out the dangers of all hazards with the outcome to get home safe to your family. In toolbox talks, we use the ‘animal’ language for example ‘you are working around crocodiles today make sure you cap their teeth, there are snakes running through the Telstra manhole and we have two elephants on site today’.
We could have spent thousands of dollars on a professional artist and given it that 3D effect but ownership is worth more to these young trainees. Will it work? – Time will tell, the real test will be in the field, but we have to keep trying because it is a major problem. Our hope is when these trainees are around machines or live cables Their subconscious will think lions and snakes which will automatically think danger and lift awareness. What I can say is since we started this safety campaign at Bootcamp, bar caps on steel has not been an issue, and we have a lot of steel on site!