Ergonomics is the scientific study of people at work. The goal of ergonomics is to reduce stress and eliminate injuries and disorders associated with the overuse of muscles, bad posture, and repeated tasks. This is accomplished by designing tasks, work spaces, controls, displays, tools, lighting, and equipment to fit the employee´s physical capabilities and limitations.
Governor Snyder’s 4×4 Plan for Health Aims to Build a Stronger Michigan
Every Michigander has a role to play in improving the health of our state. Governor Rick Snyder announced his vision for building a stronger Michigan on September 14. The Governor indicated that health and wellness is the foundation for Michigan’s economic transformation as well as overall quality of life, and that each Michigan citizen who takes responsibility for his or her health will make a difference for our state.
As a part of his presentation, he laid out the Michigan 4×4 Plan, which encourages all Michiganders to practice four key healthy behaviors:
- Maintain a healthy diet
- Engage in regular exercise
- Get an annual physical examination
- Avoid all tobacco use
In conjunction with these key healthy behaviors, we should all be aware of four key health measures that are closely tied to the incidence of chronic disease:
- Body Mass Index (BMI)
- Blood pressure
- Cholesterol level
- Blood sugar level
“By taking responsibility for our health and making a commitment to Governor Snyder’s 4×4 plan, each Michigander is able to make a difference for our state,” said Marilyn Lieber, president and CEO of the Governor’s Council on Physical Fitness, and the Michigan Fitness Foundation. “We can all do our part to lift Michigan up and improve health status, the economy and ultimately quality of life in our state.”
The Governor’s announcement addressed a number of health issues, including obesity, chronic disease and health care costs. The online “dashboard” for health and wellness can be found on Governor Snyder’s website.
As America’s baby boomers grow older and creakier, some companies are trying to keep those with hard-to-replace skills fit enough to remain on the job.
Harley-Davidson has a gym at its Menomonee Falls, Wis., factory where workers like Mike Snow, above, get exercise routines tailored to their jobs.
To avoid the early retirement of key workers, employers have redesigned work areas to minimize kneeling or awkward twisting of muscles and joints. Others have gone even further. Duke Energy Corp. offers a special stretching program for its line technicians before they start a shift. Harley-Davidson Inc. has trainers stand ready to ice down inflammations between shifts at one of its engine plants.
Given high unemployment, companies could hire young workers to replace older ones, but many jobs require years of on-the-job training. Boomers “can be role models and mentors for the younger folks,” says Joel Lunsford, a training manager at Duke Energy, an electric-power utility based in Charlotte, N.C. It takes about eight years for a line technician—people who make repairs on power lines—to master the main skills needed, he says. The average age of line technicians at Duke Energy is 50 to 55.
Health is one of the most important and complex issues faced by our country today, and the workplace has a central role to play. Not only is the workplace the source of health insurance for most Americans, but it also has significant influence on worker health, both in terms of how job conditions protect or threaten workers’ health and safety, and how the job promotes or interferes with personal wellness.
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