13 Tips for Manufacturing Employees Restarting Work
As standard operations and the pace of production starts to revert to normal, both employers and employees must consider the possibility of physical deconditioning.
Manufacturing jobs are often physically demanding. When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, many employees with “non-essential” jobs spent months either not working or working reduced hours. As standard operations and the pace of production starts to revert to normal, both employers and employees must consider the possibility of physical deconditioning—negative changes to the body that develop over time due to reduced physical activity. Restarting work after physical deconditioning occurs places employees at higher risk of developing musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs). It can also affect production standards by reducing employee productivity and product quality.
As you restart work, you may notice some of the following:
Reduced muscle strength
The average adult can lose up to three percent of muscle strength per day. Over the course of multiple weeks, it is easy to see how a noticeable reduction in strength might occur if an individual is maintaining sedentary behavior.
Reduced cardiovascular fitness and physical endurance
Much like your muscles, over time your heart can lose strength with a lack of physical activity. A weaker heart makes it more challenging to quickly pump blood to working muscles during physical activity. This will cause the body to fatigue more quickly due to less oxygen and energy molecules getting to the working muscles. Less oxygen getting to your muscles and tissue means lactic acid build-up; this will contribute to earlier muscle fatigue and delayed-onset muscle soreness following the activity.
Reduced range of motion
Extended periods of time with reduced activity will likely limit one’s ability to extend or bend certain body segments. Your body’s joints will have less elasticity and you’ll experience increased muscle stiffness. This may require you to change the way you complete certain tasks when returning to work in order to reduce the risk of muscle strain.