Dr. Alicia Turner has traversed the Mid-Atlantic Division, taking her message of wellness to Company employees from the office to the pit.
“You’ve got to keep moving,” she says. “We were built to move, not to sit all day. If you do sit, you’ve got to actively fight against that.”
Turner, owner of PhysioFunction, a North Carolina-based physical therapy and ergonomics consulting firm, is part of a division initiative designed to help employees fend off repetitive motion and other orthopedic injuries.
With support from Carlton Brady, the division’s director of human resources and safety, she has visited 52 different Mid-Atlantic Division locations since February. By October, she plans to have returned to each site several times to measure employee progress, field questions and address concerns.
The doctor of physical therapy holds workshops on the value of stretching and leads Martin Marietta crews in exercises that can be performed in the field, office or home without the aid of equipment.
Much of her program, created specifically for miners, focuses on symmetry.
Utility Person Hadath Fisher stretches during a group session with Dr. Alicia Turner at Fountain Quarry.
Turner preaches moving in a “smart way” while demonstrating exercises meant to reverse the strain on muscles often forced to perform repetitive tasks on the job. She targets the whole body, particularly the core muscles in the abdomen and back and the joints in the shoulders, hips, knees, elbows, wrists and fingers.
Also included in the program are brief lessons on anatomy, posture, spinal and body mechanics and lift training – information especially relevant to men and women in a physically demanding industry.
“Developing this was quite a challenge,” she says. “I couldn’t do what I typically would for a group of office workers. These are industrial athletes.”
Mid-Atlantic Division President John Tiberi, who says he often performs Turner’s exercises, believes the program has been a great benefit for employees of every age and rank.
“As we grow older, it’s harder to do the physical things that we could do as young people,” he says. “This initiative, really, is something we’ve put in place to prepare our bodies to go to work.”
Jeff Dover, a gyratory crusher operator at North Carolina’s Fountain Quarry, agrees.
Dover, who volunteered to lead his colleagues in a daily exercise routine after sitting through a session with Turner, says keeping his body in motion and trying to move properly have helped him in his work.
“While walking the catwalks, you’re at an incline and when you’re working, you’re twisting without a second thought, trying to get things done,” he says. “But you’ve got to slow down a bit and think about how you’re lifting and how you’re moving.”