Friday, September 16, 2011

A Different Kind of Athlete

Athletes. They come in all shapes, size and types. They are high performance, professional, amateur, recreational, college and high school. They are also industrial. Unlike the sporting athlete who is physically trained to participate in their sport, encouraged to take the appropriate amount of rest, receives professional sports medicine and nutritional advice, the industrial athlete is not. They do not have the luxury to rest for a few days after many sessions of physical labour, and most often do not receive physical support services. Injuries to the industrial athlete can cause down time in production, lost revenue, and an increase in injury claims.

The “Industrial Athlete is an industrial fitness and rehabilitation service provider for the company whose employees’ normal work day in the manual material handling (MMH) world requires repetitive carrying, lifting, twisting, turning and moving, often under extreme conditions. Companies such as Cintas, reported by Report on Business Magazine as one of Canada’s Best Employers, have incorporated a new training initiative for thousands of their employees, who wash and move products such as heavy mats and uniforms, to some 800,000 businesses across North America. In an effort to reduce the risk of injuries to their service representatives on the road, and workers in the plants and  distribution centers, Cintas uses the Industrial Athlete Sports Medicine Model program which includes daily warm ups (“Stretch and Flex” exercises), proper lifting and carrying training, rehabilitation, advice on nutrition, and how to achieve the all important work-life balance. For this effort, Cintas’ Workers’ Compensation premiums are 22 percent better than the industry average.

Companies that have implemented similar programs have found that employees are responsive to exercises and appreciate that getting their bodies ready for work makes good sense. So treat employees like professional athletes by respecting them as industrial athletes. This not only affects the bottom line financially, it also allows workers to lead safer, more comfortable lives on and off the job.

Contact SIRC for more information on athlete injury prevention!

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