Introduction Terminals in the port of Santos, the largest in Latin America, are constantly working to minimise physical impacts of work on employees. Aiming at the prevention of musculoskeletal injuries and quality of life improvement, we implemented a series of functional and ergonomic measures in 2014, which resulted in significant absenteeism reduction and excellent acceptance from employees, with a relevant improvement to their quality of life.
Methods The program begins with a health evaluation on the employee’s admission that includes anthropometry, dynamometry and surface electromyography. On the first month of work, the employee’s last 40 min of the workday are held in a gym inside the terminal, where specific exercises, conducted by 3 physical educators professionals. After this period this routine becomes optional, but with a strong incentive for its continuity (outside of the work period). Also, there is a daily labour gymnastics program maintained for all employees. Concomitantly, research is done on ergonomic conditions, where employees give opinions about job satisfaction and possible adverse conditions, suggesting actions that will be evaluated by the Ergonomics Committee that study and treat these cases.
Result Since 2015, when the program started, if compared to 2014, there was a 30% reduction of absenteism caused by osteo-muscular injuries. From 2015 to 2016 there was a 46% absenteism reduction from the same causes. When comparing 2014 with 2016, there was an overall reduction of 62%. Additionally, in 2016, 132 employees suggestions on ergonomic aspects were raised and addressed by the Ergonomics Committee. A relevant index show that 78% of the employees were practicing some physical activity by the end of 2016 and of those, 48% performed the activities inside the Terminal’s gym.
Discussion Musculoskeletal injuries are the major causes of dockworkers absenteeism. The Program implementation and employees suggestions significantly reduced absenteeism reates, encouraged the physical activities practice in the workplace and consequently improved their quality of life.
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