Safely ramping up physically demanding jobs after a shutdown or pandemic lockdown

man wearing workclothes and using handcart to move a big plastic barrel

Addressing worker deconditioning due to an absence from the workplace due to shutdown, Quarantine or COVID illness:

This article was first published on LinkedIn by ABL’s Occupational Wellness Manager, Carla Villalta, on February 11th, 2021


A decrease in activity can cause a loss of fitness which may end in the rise of accidents and injuries. Deconditioning may include reduced endurance, increased fatigue, or reduced movement in joints.

How To PLAN To Limit the Potential For Injuries Of Workers Who Have Been Off And Then Return to Work:

  • Plan during time off
    Encourage exercise and regular activity at home during the shutdown
  • Plan to return to work
    Promote stretching, getting adequate sleep, and being active to help workers recondition themselves
  • Plan at the worksite
    Workers and employers should re-assess and talk about any work hazards before restarting work again: Has anything changed since the shutdown? Is there a need for reorientation or updated training?
  • Plan the work
    Use equipment to lessen any physical loads. Gradually add lifting loads and carrying activities: Can any of the tasks be eliminated or modified? Encourage pacing and taking micro-breaks between repetitions
  • Plan to Communicate
    Talk about how processes or work environments have changed and what needs to be done to ensure health and safety standards are met

Carla can provide advice and assistance on designing “return to work” programs and initiatives, whether they be focused on ramping up a workforce after being on a shutdown, or after an injury or illness.

In her role as Occupational Wellness Manager, Carla offers personalized workplace training seminars and workshops, including virtual options. She is also a Red Cross Certified First Aid Instructor, and will work with your company to create the kinds or learning materials, resources, and initiatives that support your efforts to work towards a comprehensive safety culture.

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