Prevention for professional welders.
The Fitness Manual for Welders.
With training DVD!
What does ergonomics mean?
How can it be useful to welders?
Wikipedia states: “The term ’ergonomics’ (from Greek έργον ergon meaning “work” and νόμος nomos meaning “natural laws”) is the science of the laws of human and automated work. The aim of ergonomics is to arrange the working conditions, workflow, objects to be handled (workpiece, tool, semi-finished product) in as optimum a way as possible in terms of space and time, and to optimise the working equipment for a task such that the working result is ideal (quality and economy) and the people working do not become fatigued or even damaged, even if they perform this work for years.”
As a leading manufacturer of welding technology, ABICOR BINZEL is continuously looking at the effects of welding on the human body, because this is the only way products can be further ergonomically developed from one generation to the next. In addition, ABICOR BINZEL is now in a position to give professional welders valuable tips on how to keep fit – in the form of the new fitness manual for professional welders.
The fitness manual for professional welders.
Tips from research and practice.
ABICOR BINZEL traditionally values personal dialogue with users, who provide valuable information and suggestions directly from their practical point of view. This in turn was a great help in getting a project started which is unique to the industry: The fitness manual for professional welders, developed in direct cooperation with the Department of Sports Medicine at the University of Gießen. The aim was to develop preventative measures and exercises to accompany work in order to avoid excessive physical strain in the long term. Within the context of joint research done over three years, two complex studies were carried out. The strain on welders’ muscles during welding was measured using the EMG method, as well as the effects of fitness training on exactly the same groups of muscles used for welding (see Welder’s World No. 3 and 4). In other words, you can be sure that all the information and recommendations contained in the fitness manual are based on the research results which were oriented towards welders’ everyday work.
The Department of Sports Medicine at the University of Gießen was responsible for the preparation and implementation of the scientific series of tests and the derivation of concrete recommendations based on these. The project was carried out in cooperation with the sector for preventative, movement and performance medicine of the TransMIT society for technology transfer under the direction of Professor Dr. med. Frank C. Mooren and Dr. rer. nat. Karsten Krüger. The idea behind was to bridge the gap between theory and practice and carry out studies together with the industrial partner ABICOR BINZEL, which formed the basis for the Fitness Manual and the accompanying training DVD.
Experienced welders are all too familiar with the high physical strains they face in their work and adjust to them day by day. They all have their own way of balancing the strain through physical activity in their free time. Unfortunately, the number of working days lost through people being unable to work is still very high. One of the reasons, quite often, the special working situation forces the welder to work in the same, almost static posture over a long period of time, for example when doing overhead work. In sports doctors’ jargon and in the world of welding, this is referred to as a “constrained posture” which causes one-sided strain. The blood vessels in the tightened muscles are pressed together for too long. The result: Poor blood flow and thus reduced oxygen supply to the muscle, leading to pain and fast fatigue.
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How can workers themselves take precautions?
After a long work day or during breaks, it is often hard to persuade people to do some kind of physical activity. However, regular fitness training can sometimes work wonders. The fitness manual for professional welders explains why it is so important to tone up the musculoskeletal system, how to prevent chronic tension and where this knowledge comes from. The DVD included with the book helps with fast implementation. Here, welders can find concrete instructions for specific training. Demonstrated by sportsmen who are experts in the field of the musculoskeletal system. Training has been designed in such a way that almost no equipment is needed, which means that relaxation exercises in particular can easily be integrated in daily work routines.
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How can the welding torch contribute to a higher quality of life?
ABICOR BINZEL was able to gain valuable knowledge related to the development of torch ergonomics from the tests and studies carried out over the years. Scientists call this “improvement of user friendliness and thus improvement of the human-machine-interface”. For the users of ABICOR BINZEL products this means: If the torches are lighter and the handles more ergonomical, this serves to keep valuable professional welders healthy, supports and improves the working results and increases their quality of life.
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Every physically demanding activity, including welding, places a strain on the body. However, strain should not necessarily be assessed in a negative way, because our body depends on these strain stimulations. The human musculoskeletal system is indeed programmed to strain. And regular strain is an important factor for a healthy body. In contrast, lack of exercise leads to the structures becoming weaker rather than stronger. Everyone has observed this at one time or another. An arm that has been in a plaster cast for some time and not able to move significantly loses muscle mass. This loss of muscle mass is something that occurs gradually from the age of about 30 – 40 unless people do something about it. Knowledge from performance medicine and sports sciences can also help with occupational medicine and the working world. The aim of preventative and accompanying training is to strengthen the very structures strained by the working processes, and thus to improve their capacity. This specific training of certain structures of the musculoskeletal system improves their power of resistance and thus limits the damaging effects of the work load.
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Welders’ ergonomic problem areas are: shoulders, neck, back, tendons and joints. If the muscles throughout the body are strengthened through regular training, they act like a natural surgical corset. Example: Considerable strain is taken off the spine when people have strong stomach and back muscles. Both groups of muscles must be trained in the correct ratio to one another. In other words, it’s no good training only the back or only the stomach muscles. For this reason, the stomach exercise on the DVD is followed by the coinciding back exercises to do yourself.
Overhead welding, for example, places a great strain on the shoulder muscles. If the load is too one-sided this leads to muscular tension. To prevent this, the shoulders are trained using simple exercises which loosen and build up the muscles at the same time.
Another problem is the risk of overstretching arm and shoulder muscles. So always train stretching as well. The fitness DVD includes exercises which demonstrate how quick and easy this is to do. These can even be done during the lunch break.
Press-ups are popular exercises for strengthening shoulder and chest muscles. The DVD demonstrates how to do them without “cheating”.
Training is not only preventative, it can serve to sooth muscles too, for example to counteract tension in the back, arm or shoulder muscles. After all, this tension is usually caused by unavoidable constrained posture due to the welding task to be done, or by the conditions of special components. Appropriate “mobilisation exercises” help to loosen up the muscles a little again.
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