Workplace injuries can be a major issue for employers of all sizes. In fact, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, as many as 3 million on-the-job injuries happened in the year 2017. Because of this, reducing workplace injuries has been a topic of discussion for business owners for quite some time. After all, who doesn’t want to minimize expenses in business?
Safety is always a major priority for every company no matter the industry. Maintaining a proactive approach to preventing injuries in the workplace not only effectively demonstrates how committed you are to ensuring the well-being of your company’s biggest assets, but it also helps save you money.
Because injuries can occur for various reasons, it’s necessary to look at the programs you currently have to ensure they are serving the direct needs of your company as a whole. Here are some of the 1st hand examples of different businesses we’ve worked with at HealthFitness that have utilized workplace injury prevention and treatment programs to come up with a way to maintain a safer work environment for their employees and to boost their bottom line because of it:
Injury Prevention Across Different Facilities
A single client wanted to have a broader injury prevention and treatment program integrated into their business for as many as 9,000 employees. These employees work across various facilities. Having to deal with more workplace injuries meant that absenteeism skyrocketed, OSHA recordable rates went up, and they had more expenses related to short and long-term disability payouts. We went ahead and looked to address these challenges within the company by creating and integrating a series of different health programs. For one, we implemented a new-hire work conditioning program, early intervention program, self-care, first-aid follow-ups, lone worker apps and even an exercise conditioning program that lasted 9 weeks.
This program yielded incredible results that included:
– 90% resolution of musculoskeletal disorders
– 83% of respondents reported less discomfort
– $2.5 million in cost avoidance. This was effectively calculated by the number of participants x the average cost of their OSHA recordable from injuries related to ergonomics
There was another one of our clients Boston Scientific who wanted to correct and optimize its current program. They wanted to be proactive in eliminating and reducing the risk of injuries to keep their employees pain-free and safe. One of the major points that led to this was the skyrocketing number of ergonomic injuries at their manufacturing plant. We had a team working on-site and they ended up integrating a new stretching program with all of the stretching movements tailored to each workstation. These programs were designed to be fun to keep the employees engaged.
The biggest contributor to the success of this program was using a musical cue to announce these stretching breaks that the staff would partake in. The song that was chosen was Dark Vader’s theme. Everyone took part in this stretching routine when the song started which was a major factor in its success. This includes the company’s leadership at each level. Once the cue comes on, everyone was encouraged to stretch whether they were the sales team, executives, or production workers. When everyone gets involved, the entire company benefits.
Equipping The New Hires For Safety
Lastly, there was a client that dealt with manufacturing that started to notice a lot more injuries and illnesses disrupting business operations. These were isolated to new hires too. This ended up increasing the OSHA recordable rates, boosting turnover rates, and increasing worker’s comp costs. The program that was designed for them primarily focused on assessing the different work tasks and the safety practices that were gone over throughout the hiring process. This ensured that all of the new hires were comprehensively briefed and trained on what they should be doing. This ended up proactively decreasing OSHA recordable rates by as much as 60% within the first year and it was followed by an 18% reduction the year after that. Also, having fewer OSHA recordable ended up yielding a savings of $12 to $25k per case.
While you may assume that your business is entirely different and these case studies aren’t relevant to your situation. However, these injuries occur in every business. They occur for various reasons and the reasons are constantly changing as the workplace environments shift. Every company can benefit from integrating a much more proactive approach.
According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), 4 primary factors have led to the increased need for these programs.
- Work Is Being Automated
One of them is the fact that work is increasingly becoming more automated. As more automation gets introduced, it’s bringing new hazards into the work environment.
- More Diversity
Another thing that is changing is the diversity present in the workplace. This can create more communication barriers and problems. People from all walks of life have to work cohesively together.
- The Workforce Is Aging
Another thing that is leading to changes is the aging workforce. There is a greater risk of musculoskeletal injuries and disorders. These things are on the rise, especially as more and more people live sedentary lives.
- The Nature of Employment Is Changing
Nowadays, the relationships between employees and employers are changing. There are more contracted workers and temporary workers being hired. Thus, safety programs need to account for this and adjust accordingly.
Having a comprehensive approach to prevention and treatment is a good way to minimize expenses caused by these injuries. It can help your company maximize efficiency and productivity. It can also improve performance across the board. There’s no doubt that employees feel safer and more valued when their employer shows such initiative in helping them remain safe and healthy.