ERGONOMICS/JOB-ACTIVITY HAZARD ANALYSIS

 

Overexertion and repetitive motion injuries associated with musculo-skeletal disorders (including those from lifting, pushing, pulling, holding, carrying, or throwing) cost U.S. businesses $12.75 billion (U.S.) in direct costs in 2009 and accounted for more than a quarter of the overall national burden [Liberty Mutual Research Institute for Safety 2011].  These work related injuries primarily affect the muscles, nerves, and tendons of the neck, upper extremities and low back which can be costly.  Occupational Safety and Health, Inc. has decades of experience in conducting ergonomics task analyses to determine the potential for these injuries and recommend corrective action with engineering controls for employee protection.  The primary focus is to proactively identify these hazards by evaluating risk factors before a chronic injury occurs from repetitive motion that may not be realized until it is reported.  Results have also proven to increase production by alleviating unnecessary tasks or redesign of the process.

ACCIDENT INVESTIGATION

 

Obviously the goal of any organization is zero accidents.  Most in the safety and health field believe the philosophy that every accident is preventable.  But let's face it... we are not in complete control of every life event.  Thus, it's more important how we respond to what life has to offer on a daily basis and how we react to the circumstances surrounding them.

 

It's imperative that accidents be investigated as soon as they occur and the scene is safe.  There are vital components and key information that if not obtained and documented, may be lost and/or affect the determination of the root cause.  We have extensive knowledge and expertise in thoroughly investigating an accident with assistance in taking measures for corrective action to prevent re-occurrence. We are also considered “subject matter experts” when it comes to litigation cases and claims.

LOSS/TREND ANALYSIS - BENCHMARKING

 

It was once said that if we don't learn from our past, we are prone to repeat the same mistakes in the future.  There are certain aspects of analyzing not only losses from employee injuries, but identifying trends as an area of focus to reduce and/or prevent future losses. It's important to consider that incidents do not have to result in a loss in order to be considered in the analysis so that measures can be taken to prevent a similar incident from occurring. There are comparative analyses that can be conducted to establish a benchmark for accountability as well, whether it is to the industry or corporate wide that can include inter-departmental.  The results can be shared in many formats to represent the effectiveness of your safety and health program efforts.

RETURN-TO-WORK

 

An effective early Return-to-Work Program serves many purposes.  None the least of which, studies have shown increases the injured employee's recovery rate.  Once an injured employee has received prompt and professional medical attention, the next priority is to return those employees suffering injuries that temporarily restrict or limit their physical capabilities back to work as quickly and as safely as possible. Establishing an effective Return-to-Work Program is key to fostering employee health and well being and minimizing workers’ compensation costs.

 

The goal of the program is to get the employee back to work in a modified duty job that will accommodate their physical restrictions, giving the employee the opportunity to transition into their regular job.  By maintaining an effective program, your company will create an environment of care and concern that serves to communicate the importance of every employee whether injured or healthy. This is beneficial to both the injured employee and to the company, rather than allowing injured employees to be completely off work. This program provides a degree of rehabilitation and often expedites recovery while enabling the injured employee to continue being a productive and valuable asset to the organization.

Advantages/Cost Savings (aspects to consider):

 

Once an employee has received medical attention and determined by the attending physician that he/she may not return to work without restrictions or limitations, there are certain steps that should be followed.  It's a natural tendency for an injured person to feel neglected and find fault in regards to the cause of their pain, whether it occurred on the job or at home.  If it is a work-related injury, they are most likely going to blame their employer.  That's why it's imperative to assure that the injured employee is cared for and shown your concern for their well-being.  Maintaining contact with them on a regular basis also goes a long ways.  Otherwise, they may become disgruntled seeking the advice of an attorney to determine whether they were treated fairly or deserve additional compensation. Unfortunately, they don't realize that many states have statutes with limits as to how much an injured employee is entitled to and attorneys get on average 30% of what they would have received originally.  That's why it's important to return any employee injured on the job as soon as possible meeting the restrictions specified by the physician.  This dramatically reduces costs associated with the claim and as mentioned, increases their recovery rate.  Case management efforts are also more effective by establishing this communication.

Our Evaluate – Correct – Implement (ECI™) Program has proven effective over the years as a step by step process in order to protect your most valuable resource – employees and the environment in which they work.  It includes all of the metrics necessary for any business that is an integral part of development for the future. It includes a comprehensive audit (evaluate) of your employee safety and health procedures and policies with recommendations for improvement (correct), and implementation such as training.

LOSS CONTROL/RISK MANAGEMENT

In today's economic climate every budgetary item affecting a company's 'bottom line' is scrutinized more than ever.  We have been asked on several occasions how much should a company invest in their employee safety and health program.  The answer is never definitive and cannot be relative to a percentage or portion of revenue generated.  Nor can it be a figure defined by the number of employees.  Occupational Safety & Health, Inc. can assist in evaluating your organization's exposures and make recommendations to prevent or control losses. It's important to comprehend that the direct losses (monetary loss of an accident in terms of medical costs and indemnity) alone should not be the sole factor used.  Studies of shown that for every $1 spent as a direct cost to an accident, indirect costs (workplace disruption, loss of productivity, worker replacement, training, increased insurance premiums, and attorney fees to name a few) are estimated to be 2 to 6 times the direct costs and as much as 7 times for the construction industry.  Think about it, the average cost of a worker's compensation claim in 2012 according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics was $39,000.  The resulting total costs (indirect plus direct costs) can be $78,000 to as much as $273,000 or more on average depending on the severity that is many times not realized or captured in regards to human capital investment.  So it's not so much "can we afford to invest in implementing these policies and procedures for employee protection", but more importantly "can we afford not to"?

REGULATORY COMPLIANCE AUDITS

 

An initial assessment of operations in conjunction with interviewing of key personnel would be conducted to determine the deficiencies within the Safety Program. Physical inspections are also conducted to identify unacceptable hazards and a comprehensive report provided after each visit with formal recommendations.  These areas are industry specific for regulatory compliance and include, but not limited to:

 

Accident investigation

Back Injury Prevention

Job Safety Analysis

Hazard Communication

Hearing Conservation

Lockout-Tagout

Bloodborne Pathogen

Safety Committees

Electrical Safety

Employee Orientation

Light-Duty

Fleet Safety

Incentive program

Behavior-Based Safety

Ergonomics

Program Elements

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