What does the Spock Vulcan grip, a knight's pose, and wings all have in common? They're weird and wonderful metaphors relating to sprains and strains in our industry.
Spock Vulcan grip
As seen in the graphic above, the Vulcan grip is when the artery in the neck is pinched. It's also used in martial arts, where a 'chopping' movement to the artery causes dizziness and loss of consciousness. This is important to know because it happens due to temporarily stopping the blood flow to the brain. As scaffolders and riggers, many workers carry heavy loads on their shoulders and put pressure in this important area.
The knight's pose, down on one knee like a classic marriage proposal, is a way of remembering how you can position yourself to save your knees. Rather than applying pressure to both knees, the knight's pose applies reduced pressure to one. Your other leg helps take on weight and pressure, saving a lot of compression on your knee. You're also able to alternate legs which can reduce pressure sores.
Keep your wings tucked in
When lifting scaffold up above your head, keep your elbows tucked in. This reduces load on your shoulders. Having your 'wings' out puts strain on other muscles that shouldn't be part of the movement.
SARNZ and Work Should Not Hurt teamed up to visit sites around the country and get the message into more yards and share practices and advice for management of sprains and strains.
Chris Polaczuk, Programme Manager for Work Should Not Hurt, fronted all the events and delivered his talks in an informative, funny and relatable way. He gets people to start talking about their pain and discomfort which often people just let go quietly under the radar. He also got people to break out of their comfort zone and try some stretches.
Each day featured a Toolbox talk in the morning, and an evening event for managers and leaders. It was awesome to see how it could be implemented at the ground level, and how businesses can include it into their wider strategies.
We love hearing the voices in our industry, so seeing people in the evening events asking questions and starting conversations was a real buzz. There's often lots of challenges when implementing new practices or behaviours into what is already routine. Keith Archer from Scaffm8 said it best at our 2023 Conference and Trade show, "You all do the same stuff, but completely differently".
This is where what Chris does is so great - he gets the teams at every site to do a Wall of Pain - identifying where their pain points are and why. Every business will have slightly different ways of doing things, so identifying what you have, what aches and pains are troubling your people, and then finding personalise solutions for managing them is so important.
Vertical Horizonz not only catered and hosted the evening events, but in every region, their staff got amongst it, asked questions and had conversations. Coming from this, Vertical Horizonz will be implementing it into their apprenticeship programme. Marcus Bathan, Chief Operations Officer of Vertical Horizonz said, "Implementing the 'Work Should Not Hurt' program into our block courses from 2024 for apprentices is a no brainer. The programme's focus on enabling tradespeople to enjoy long, pain-free careers and to retire when they choose aligns well with our commitment to enhancing safety and well-being. By introducing these principles at the apprentice level, we believe we're setting them up for the best chance of long-term success in their careers."
The Roadshow was a fantastic way for us to meet with people in the industry who are keen to learn how to prevent and manage sprains and strains, and work towards a future where work does not hurt.
Huge thanks to everyone who got involved!
Chris Polaczuk on the Roadshow
"It was my pleasure to be part of the great SARNZ Work Should Not Hurt 2023 Roadshow - the very first of its kind in New Zealand and the scaffolding world.
With musculoskeletal problems the number one injury and cause of lost time in the profession it was great to see industry get behind it.
Thanks to ISS in Hamilton for kicking it all off with a presentation, and a slap up bbq breakfast by SARNZ. It was great to have Bruce and all the ISS leadership team there leading by example and supporting this ongoing Kaupapa. ISS are also a big part of rigging and rope access in New Zealand and will be helping us customise Work Should Not Hurt for that sector - once again leading from the front. These guys are the people who put the equipment in to save everyone else from strain and injury so are a vital part of everyones work. Hats off to what they achieve physically and mentally and there's a lot we can do to take the hurt out of their mahi.
Next it was onto IScaff in Porirua with one of the most compact, tidy and organised scaffolding yards I have ever seen, where we were joined by Physiotherapist for Scaffolders, Chris Desmond, to take the IScaff team through some of our injury prevention exercises. It was also a privilege to hear a few words from Vadim Spice telling it like it is and a very healthy bbq spread put on by SARNZ.
We rounded off our roadshow at Excel Scaffolding where we engaged the team in a talk about looking after themselves throughout their career by avoiding unnecessary wear and tear on our bodies and minds.
A huge thanks to Vertical Horizonz for their support of Work Should Not Hurt and hosting our evening employer presentations at their premises. Its great to have the support of a major training organisation that’s willing to promote our messages of a long, healthy career in scaffolding."