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A new kind of flexible working

The term ‘flexible working’ usually refers to employees being able to start and finish work at non-traditional times, but at King Edward Memorial Park, it has taken on a very different meaning.

The team has introduced ‘stretch and flex’ sessions at the beginning of shifts, enabling engineers, site managers and drivers alike to prepare for the day’s tasks while getting a little bit of exercise in the process. With the help of a qualified physio, the team is becoming more adept at preparing their bodies for the rigours of manual work, while also spending time interacting with colleagues.

The sessions are proving so popular that plans are being put in place for them to take place across various other sites on Tideway.

The project's Occupational Health Work Group has been working hard to implement activities across sites to help prevent musculoskeletal disorders at Tideway. Activities include providing guidance on heavy lifting and how to safely work in awkward postures or when having to make repetitive movements. The group is also focused on improving manual handling risk assessments.

Incorrect manual handling is one of the most common causes of workplace misdemeanours, accounting for almost one in three injuries. Poor handling practices can lead to musculoskeletal disorders such as pain and injuries to arms, legs and joints, and repetitive strain injuries of various sorts.

Some of the Tideway operatives recalled doing similar warm-ups on projects overseas where these initiatives have long been recognised as helping to prevent musculoskeletal injuries. Now the success of the exercises at King Edward Memorial Park could soon see more workers on the super sewer beginning their day on the right, or left, foot.