Date of Award

Spring 2015

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science in Occupational Safety and Health Engineering - (M.S.)

Department

Mechanical and Industrial Engineering

First Advisor

Arijit K. Sengupta

Second Advisor

Athanassios K. Bladikas

Third Advisor

George W. Olsen

Abstract

To fight high incidence of musculoskeletal pain and discomfort complaints among the maintenance workers in a large transportation company, this pilot intervention study of an on-site stretch and flex exercise program was implemented. The participants (n=62) were maintenance workers; whose age ranged from 26 to 69 years.

A 4½-minute video was created which included still images of human figures performing stretches, while a voice recording instructed how to perform each stretch. Exercises targeted the neck, shoulders, triceps, hamstrings, and quadriceps. The exercise program was conducted 5 days a week for 5 consecutive weeks, during daily shift meetings.

The results of the intervention revealed that average discomfort levels reduced significantly (p<0.1) in neck (1.4 down to 0.76), in upper extremity (1.4 down to 0.79), in lower extremity (2.2 down to 1.29), and while performing activities of daily living in terms of personal care (0.3 down to 0.05), and lifting (0.52 down to 0.22) activities. Employee attitude towards performing stretch flex exercise at work had also improved after participating for 5 weeks. The study results strongly suggest that an on-site stretch and flex exercise program is an effective means of relieving pain and discomforts from manual work, and perceived to be beneficial by the workers.

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