Remember the Health of Your Employees During Incredibly Busy Times

September 11, 2020 | Breaking the manufacturing ceiling Jason Horras, DPT, Vice President, Director of Occupational Health, 21st Century Rehab, P.C.,

Right here in Iowa, many manufacturing and transportation businesses are booming during the pandemic. Some companies are as busy or busier than ever with the changing landscape of buyer needs and demands. This is fantastic for the financial health of these businesses but has put extra strain on their current workforce. Employees are being asked to work many hours of overtime, including 6-7 days/week for consecutive weeks. Some employees can handle this extra work while others break down physically and mentally. Not allowing employees proper time to recover can lead to more frequent and extensive cumulative trauma and injuries.

In a rush to hire new workers to keep up with demand, there can be a tendency to skip good hiring practices. Don’t forget to continue due diligence in hiring the right employees for the job. Cutting corners and hiring workers that don’t have the physical ability to handle the critical demands of the job can create more headaches and expense than solve problems.

Below are a few simple things to keep in mind when your business is working above normal capacity to prevent mental and physical injuries that could further reduce your workforce and ability to meet customer demands:

  1. Consider longer breaks or more work breaks each day, if working longer hours per week
  2. Alternate the mandated requirement to work overtime among employees
  3. Maintain due diligence in hiring workers to keep up with demand—make sure they are still qualified employees who can perform the job safely
  4. Keep employees properly hydrated—helps maintain soft-tissue health
  5. 5. Offer ways to say “thank you” and make their extra hard work feel appreciated, not just expected
  6. 6. Remember the mental stress component of fatigue associated with increased work in addition to the stress of the current pandemic