Healthier and happier animal technicians - happier animals
In order to maintain a high standard in laboratory animal husbandry the health, well-being and work motivation of the animal technicians are very important. The work is physically and mentally strenuous. Musculoskeletal disorders lead
to long term absenteeisms, and as the average age among technicians is high disability pensions are increasing.
It is believed that early rehabilitation can result in more effective utilization of the employees' work ing capacity by decreasing the amount of sickleave taken and increasing performance levels in daily tasks. It can also reduce the costs of disability pensions.
In the Central Animal Laboratory, University of Turku, an early rehabilitation programme was set. up in August 1994. The laboratory head and 12 animal technicians took part and the programme was voluntary. It consisted of physical fitness
tests, physical exercise groups, phychological discussions and a lecture on ergonomics. The aim of the programme was to test basic endurance, motivate physical exercise, provide knowledge on ergonomy and help in dealing with stress and problem solving The results, though mainly descriptive at the moment, were promising, indicating that by decreasing symptoms and work-related stress it is possible to maintain and improve the employees’ health and working capacity, Motivation to keep up physical fitness increased, both in and out of work.