Better health and better backs at Greiner Assistec’s plant in Březová

22/01/2021 | 2 min read
Ilona Szpaková

Working with a certified physiotherapist, we have launched a pilot initiative to prevent and treat work-related back problems and other ailments in Březová, Czech Republic. We hope that it will be replicated far and wide…

Inactivity, poor posture, too much stress, and a lack of fitness combined with just one wrong movement can be a recipe for pain. When this happens, the same factors can produce difficult-to-define discomfort throughout the body, which can seriously impair physical health, mental health, and the ability to work. To help support the health of employees at our Czech plant in Březová, the location’s HR manager, Ilona Szpakova, worked together with assembly and renovation manager Adolf Staffa and the University of Ostrava to launch a unique initiative.

Back pain is a work-ending condition

It was with this fact in mind that physiotherapist Petr Barnet, who works closely on energy consumption and efficiency in the human body, came to Greiner Assistec’s Březová plant to get the project off the ground.

This joint effort involved working actively on the employees’ back health, with members of staff given the opportunity during regularly scheduled sessions to test out how a form of rehab can be practiced in the workplace. One group actively participated in the exercises, while the other did not take part. The group involved in the exercises focused on therapeutic training, which was aimed at strengthening the parts of their bodies that undergo the most strain within seven weeks and boosting their muscular coordination, strength, and relaxation.

The results for this group were impressive, with the participants achieving an 82 percent improvement. They felt a positive change, including a significant reduction in body temperature spikes during their work. This, in turn, prompted positive feedback from the workers.

I can objectively say that keeping the exercises going is a no-brainer for our employees, and that these activities also give our business a great edge – including in how we present ourselves to the outside world.

Ilona Szpakova, HR manager

Workouts instead of brochures with exercise instructions

The original idea of creating a brochure for all Assistec employees at every location with training instructions for the overstressed muscle groups was quickly taken off the table. Greiner Assistec’s collaboration with certified physiotherapist Petr Barnet is a pilot model with great potential for the future. The opportunity to do back exercises together in the workplace was very well received by the staff. The participants saw this as a major plus-point both for themselves and for the company. Unfortunately, the current COVID-19 situation has temporarily put a halt to Assistec’s ability to continue implementing the sessions in its everyday work life. However, we hope to continue as soon as the pandemic allows us to do these exercises together and make a positive difference on our back health.

Resoundingly positive feedback after just a few weeks

In addition to the excellent internal feedback, I was particularly surprised by the great interest shown by the plant workers. Many were extremely eager to take part in the program right away. That’s why we’re working tirelessly to ensure that group back exercise sessions with the physiotherapist are part of the daily routine at Greiner Assistec in the future.

Adolf Staffa, assembly and renovation manager

The physiotherapist, Petr Barnet, also praised the project and is looking forward to resuming his work in the future: “After seven weeks, we noticed a clear improvement in physique among the treatment group, which means improved muscle coordination, more muscle strength, and greater muscular flexibility thanks to the stretching exercises. These physical changes ensure better energy consumption, which greatly improves physical efficiency. This project has given me a huge range of new experiences, and it was exciting for me to get an inside view of how a production setup is structured and how a company like Greiner Assistec operates.”

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