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Toolbox: Micro Breaks

Micro breaks are an excellent way to assist workers in providing the means to protect themselves at work during the work day. The micro break is an opportunity to have some stretching and range of motion exercises done in order to prevent muscle groups from becoming less flexible and more prone to injury.

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Workers, when remaining in static positions for prolonged periods of time are most at risk when attempting to reach, lift and change positions as some examples of injury causation. Horizon has witnessed a spike in the number of reported sprains and strains in the last week.  The concept of micro breaks ties in with the intent to find additional ways to prevent injuries and short and long term recovery periods for the injured worker. Evidence suggests micro breaks actually reduce muscle fatigue by as much as 20-50 percent in an eight-hour day.

 

The micro break can be as simple of shoulder shrugs, head/neck rotations, stretching and flexing arms, legs, calves etc.  The key to the micro break is to do the activity in moderation which means no extreme stretching motions, instead gentle to moderate motions.

 

When should the micro breaks be done? The micro break can be completed when you are about to move on to a different task or are moving from a crouching to a standing task or about to lift something for the first time as examples. The micro breaks can also be initiated at the start of the shift for workers.

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