Workforce Productivity Solutions

Ergonomics - Stretch and Flex Program Risk-Specific Analysis

Now that your organization has decided to implement a stretch & flex program, here are some primary considerations:Female at a Seated Workstation

  1. What stretches will be appropriate?
  2. What type of stretch materials will be required? See Customized Stretch Materials
  3. How will the program be rolled out? See Program Setup and Launch

Choosing Your Stretches

The stretches that are selected should help to remediate against risk factors found in the environments and job functions which have the highest potential for contributing to a repetitive motion injury (RMI). The selection process can be complicated in several ways:

  • There are limitations to the number of stretches that will fit on a stretch document and that an employee will actually perform on a regular basis. Stretch groups, derived from functionally similar jobs, usually require 8 to 16 stretches per document, depending on where they are to be used and the document format chosen.
  • Budgetary constraints may limit the number of different stretch groups that can be produced. This can be an issue where a large variation of job tasks and environments exist within a single organization.
  • While seemingly targeted at relevant muscle groups, some stretches simply do not have the potential to remediate against certain RMI’s.

All of these issues must be balanced to create a mix of stretch groups that achieves the desired result in a cost effective way. It is simply not possible to create a stretch program that will remediate against every possible risk factor. There must be a methodology used to identify and prioritize risk/stretches, as well as their remediative potential, all tailored to your work environment. With the possible exception of a seated office environment where most risks are well known in the ergonomics industry, this exercise should not be easily dismissed.

How do we select stretches?

Pelletier & Associates has created the following stretch selection methodology:

  • We start by understanding where RMI-based injuries are occurring in your organization.
  • Job observation tells us what RMI risk exposures are present in those environments.
  • Job demands analysis tells us what critical activities or specific job tasks are generating risk.
  • Functionally similar jobs (and their associated risks) are grouped together to form a stretch group. Stretch groups are intended to be applied to sets of stretch materials; for example, a workstation handout, a wallet fanfold, and a department poster.
  • Risks are then prioritized within each stretch group based on frequency of occurrence, injury potential, and potential to remediate through stretching.
  • Generally, the top 20 ranked risks within a stretch group become the targets for developing stretches. Usually, multiple risks can be remediated by the same stretches.
  • Stretches are developed for the top prioritized risks within each stretch group.
  • On the final stretch materials, specific job activities are paired with stretches for employee reference.

We have developed tools that allow us to quickly move through this process, usually within about a week after the on-site observation. Once given client approval for the selected risks and stretches, the final stretch materials can be delivered in about 2 – 3 weeks.



Related Products and Services:
Stretch Programs
Customized Stretch Materials
Program Setup & Launch
Stretch and Flex Collaterals



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