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Reducing Workplace Injuries

According to an article about workplace injuries in a recent issue of the Supervisor's Guide to Employment Practices, researchers have found evidence that physically active people are less likely to suffer from the effects of job-related Repetitive Strain Injuries (RSIs). The findings were based on research conducted by a Canadian team at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver. Nearly 60,000 full-time workers, ranging in age from 15 to 74, were surveyed.

The researchers surmised that regular exercise may help reduce the incidences of RSIs by building physical strength, endurance, flexibility and better coordination Regular exercise may also reduce tension, which can be a factor in developing RSIs. Also noted in the study:

• Upper-body RSIs accounted for 63 percent of those reported.
• Such factors as stress, obesity, physically demanding work and even smoking were associated with higher rates of RSIs.
• Women tended to be at higher risk than men.
• Rates were also higher among those between ages 30 and 49, and tended to drop among those over age 50.

At SLAC, our experience has been that we have few RSI injuries, but overexertion injuries (e.g., strains, sprains) continue to be one of our leading types of workplace injuries. For the same reasons that regular exercise helps reduce the incidence of RSIs, it would be expected to reduce the risk of other ergonomic injuries. In addition, proper work planning (e.g., evaluating the hazard and determining the safe way to handle materials) will also greatly help to reduce the risk of injury. If you have a question or need advice on evaluating the ergonomic risks and controls for the work you do, please contact the ES&H Service Desk (x4554).

Stanford's Health Improvement Program (HIP) offers classes to encourage employees to become more physically active. Classes for the summer quarter begin this week, and it's not too late to sign up. Those offered at SLAC are:

• Pilates Essentials - Mondays, 5:15-6:15 p.m.
• Pilates Essentials - Wednesdays, 5:30-6:30 p.m.
• Mid-Day Yoga: Relax & Renew - Fridays, 11-12 p.m.
• Mid-Day Yoga: Relax & Renew - Fridays, 12-1 p.m.
• Cardio Dance & Strength Fusion - Mon & Wed, 11-11:55 a.m.
• Cardio Dance & Strength Fusion - Mon & Wed, 12-12:55 p.m.
• Cardio Dance & Strength Fusion - Tues & Thurs, 5:15-6:15 p.m.
• Cardio & Healthy Back Exercise using the Stability Ball - Tues & Thurs, 12-1 p.m.

For additional information and registration, visit the HIP website. There, you can also view the complete schedule of classes including those held on the Stanford campus. SLAC employees are eligible for both.

There is a gym conveniently located on-site in the northwest corner of Building 34. Contact Kelley Ramsey (x8663) to join or for more information. Soccer is played on the front lawn, Mondays and Thursdays at noon. Contact Rafael Miranda (x4471) or Tu Ly (x4442) for more information.

It's never too late to become physically fit and reduce the possibility of having a workplace injury!

Sharon Haynes, SLAC Today, June 24, 2008