If you are a local to Invermere, BC or one of the may who vacation here and are in Love with our local Kicking Horse Coffee; you most likely heard about their amazing and well deserved title of Canada’s best places to work!

Kicking Horse as well as other companies in the valley have always and are continuing to put the health and wellness of their employees first and foremost. I am happy to be able to say that I was able to aid in their goal and play a part in the health and wellbeing of their companies.

How, you say?? 

I was OVER THE MOON to see the mention of the stretching program in Kicking Horse Coffees’ blog post;  “11 KICK-ASS REASONS WHY KICKING HORSE COFFEE IS CANADA’S BEST PLACE TO WORK”. 

Whilst I was working in the packaging department at Kicking Horse Coffee, I had the pleasure of experiencing first hand how close knit the Kicking Horse Coffee Family is AND still feel this since of community (I feel like a celebrity when I visit the cafe haha!). 

I started to notice there were some common aches and pains throughout company with the staff. After discussion with the Human Resources Department and the owner of Kicking Horse Coffee, we all agreed that health and wellness of the staff is and always will be, priority. They were excited to start a new program in order to maintain their unparalleled values.

We came to an agreement which aligned with the company and worked toward developing the program so that it could be integrated with ease into the staff’s on-boarding training. Part of this program included the mentioned stretching program which is carried out by the staff daily. 

We trained stretching champions to carry out the daily sessions, and the staff were equipped with a binder to which had three week programs with 5 minute stretching routines. These were designed to help the staff with their chronic pain, discomfort, increase mental fatigue, re-fresh their minds and bodies, as well as prevent injury from occurring. The programs included various movements (yoga, dynamic stretches, static stretching, functional movements) to stretch, mobilize, warm up and re-fresh all areas of the body including; neck, shoulders, back, arms, legs and etc.

Since working with Kicking Horse Coffee on their Ergonomics and Stretching Programming, I have also had the pleasure of working with other companies to develop similar programming; Fairmont Hot Springs resort being one of such companies. 

Thats right! There was also another aspect to the program; Ergonomics! 

The ergonomics training program was based on my shadowing the staff directly to see what exactly movements, postures and lifts they do on a daily bases. This information was used to design a program which was specific to the departments being trained.

We overviewed potential chronic and acute injuries (mental, medical, musculoskeletal) likely to occur, proper injury reporting procedure if a staff member were to become injured, postural techniques, stabilization techniques and lifting techniques.

To elaborate:

  • Postural techniques 
    • Help the staff to see what body parts may be compromised due to an “abnormal” posture, we went through activities which helped the staff to feel where they were tight or weak and how they may fix such postural deficiencies. 

 

  • Stabilization techniques 
    • Utilized to ensure that the staff are properly protecting their bodies whilst they carry out their day to day movements; core stabilization, shoulder setting, and posterior chain firing work to protect the body when they are in the “untypical” positions used (reaching, bending over a rail, outstretched arms, kneeling, etc).

  • Lifting Techniques
    • For the “text book” lifting techniques that were seen in their daily movements we reviewed the proper lifting, from & to the ground, overhead lifting, carrying, pushing, pulling, crouching and etc. We also addressed if the staff were not able to do the proper techniques, how to fix it and what they were able to do instead, based on their individual needs.

 

Once this program is complete the staff go 2-3 weeks of working with the information they have been trained on, and after which I return to the workplace and do a follow up meeting to make sure all questions, concerns and changes are made.

I for one, feel so very proud to be a part of the way these companies are being health forward and doing everything in their power to educate, protect and prevent injury in their valued team members.

I send out a Big THANK YOU to those companies who have made this program a success.

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