How Do Leading Indicators Fit Into The Planning and Implementation of Health and Safety Plans?

By Terry Bogyo 28/11/2012 13:50:00I’ve had a lot more questions about leading indicators and how they fit into the planning and implementation of health and safety plans, and so, I thought a further example and simple graphic organizer may help.

A few years ago, I was speaking with the head of the safety and wellness program for a large US manufacturing firm. The company has factories in several states. I asked her how she knew her programs were working. Her responses gave me a practical insight how leading indicators fit into that process.

Central to her approach, was a sound theory of behavioural change and a clear logic model of the factors that lead to injuries.

Occupational injuries and illnesses, near misses, and individual health issues like obesity, diabetes, and hearing loss are usually multi-causal. The physical plant, equipment design, training, and behaviors such as the adherence to safe work procedures, were very important but underlying these are attitudes. She pointed out that behaviors such as violating safe-work procedures had a feedback effect: the more violations of safe-worker procedures that occur or are tolerated or ignored, the more they will occur. Before she could change the behaviors that opened employees to injury, she needed a model of what drives behaviour and a way to integrate that into planning and implementation of health, safety and wellness.

leading indicators of workplace health and safety graphic organizerFrom a planning perspective, the “theory of reasoned action” and its revised version, the “theory of planned behaviour,” suggest that attitudes and beliefs determine much of voluntary behaviour. Changing behaviour must rely on changing attitudes and beliefs. This is consistent with concepts such as “bounded rationality” and safety culture. Workers and managers act rationally and if safety and health are demonstrably important to supervisors and upper management, that will get translated to the shop floor.

My US contact described her approach to eliminating eye injuries in their plants. Her model included many components. She and her staff looked at design (including guards), considered awareness sessions, worked to have supervisors insist on and reinforce compliance with wearing eye protection, as well as consistently modelling the behaviour will likely contribute to your goal.

Her final planning step was to decide the inputs, resource, activities, and products her plan would encounter (and to seek budgetary approval where required).

Remember, her goal was to eliminate eye injuries. Counting the number of workers who suffer eye injuries is a trailing indicator. She developed several possible leading indicators including the percentage of staff participating in awareness sessions and observational data on violations detected by her safety officers. She also made the inspection of guards and shields routine with a plant manager report on guards filed monthly.

I hope this example helps. Leading indicators are a powerful prevention tool that may make your prevention program more effective.

About Terry Bogyo:

Terry is the Director of Corporate Planning and Development for WorkSafeBC. His current responsibilities include environmental scanning, strategic planning and inter-jurisdictional comparisons.

Terry says of himself: I am a student of workers’ compensation systems. Many years ago I discovered two things about this area. First, workers’ comp and OH&S are of vital importance to people. Protecting, caring for and providing compensation to workers are important, noble and morally responsible endeavors. The second thing I learned was that no matter how much I knew about workers’ comp/OH&S, there was always so much more to learn. This is an endlessly challenging area of study. My purpose, therefore, is not to lecture, but to reflect on the ideas and issues that are topical in this area… and to invite others to share in a learning experience. By adding your knowledge and insights, others with similar interests can participate in the discovery and study of this important domain.

His blog is Workers’ Compensation Perspectives

Quick Review: Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Issues

ADA logo wheelchair handicap accessIf an employee with restrictions can perform essential functions of the pre-injury job, with or without accommodations, employers are required to provide these accommodations.

For companies covered by ADA, there may be serious implications when an employee is capable of returning to work but the employer does not have a transitional duty program if they are otherwise unable to accommodate the injured employee.

Keep the following key points in mind:

1. Covered employers should not have a black-and-white policy on the maximum length of leave available to employees; employers must at least be willing to consider a longer period, if necessary, to accommodate reasonably the employee’s disability, and notify employees on leave of this right.

2. Employers must consider disabled employees for open positions for which they qualify on the same basis as other employees. Any program restricting certain light-duty jobs to a certain class of individuals is likely to conflict with the ADA.

3. Covered employers should consider providing notice to employees on leave about their ability to apply for reasonable accommodations during the leave process. By offering reasonable accommodations, employers increase the likelihood the courts will view the notice process as sufficient.

Healthy Eating, Exercise Linked With Workplace Productivity

Healthy Food Increases Workplace ProductivityAnother reason to drop the donuts at work: it can hinder your job performance.

Eating poorly and not exercising could be taking a toll on areas other than your waistline — it could also affect how productive you are at work, new research suggests.

A new study that will be published in the journal Population Health Management shows that eating unhealthily is linked with a 66 percent increased risk of loss of productivity, while rare exercise is linked with a 50 percent increased risk of low productivity.

Eating poorly and not exercising could be taking a toll on areas other than your waistline — it could also affect how productive you are at work, new research suggests.

A new study that will be published in thejournal Population Health Management shows that eating unhealthily is linked with a 66 percent increased risk of loss of productivity, while rare exercise is linked with a 50 percent increased risk of low productivity.

And smoking is linked with a 28 percent increased risk of loss of productivity, researchers found.

“Total health-related employee productivity loss accounts for 77 percent of all such loss and costs employers two to three times more than annual healthcare expenses,” study researcher Ray Merrill, a health science professor at Brigham Young University, said in a statement.

The study included 19,803 people who worked at one of three large companies. The research was conducted by researchers at Brigham Young University, the Center for Health Research at Healthways and the Health Enhancement Research Organization.

Read full story and find out what other bad health habits could hinder your work performance in HuffPost Healthy Living.

More from HuffPost Healthy Living:

6 New Reasons Not to Sit All Day

25 Ways to Move More

Head-to-Toe Tips for a Healthier Workstation

Treadmill Desks Might be Next Office Health Trend

Workers at the financial consulting firm Salo use their treadmill desks. (Salo LLC/NPR)

Nose grindstones soon to be replaced?

By  | The Sideshow

Will health-conscious office workers soon be skipping trips to the gym for an extended shift at the desk? It could be a healthy alternative, as some companies have begun experimenting with treadmill desks.

NPR’s Patti Neighmond made a transition to the treadmill by first converting her sitting desk into a standing desk. After getting acclimated to standing, she installed a “discreet” treadmill, minus handrails, below the standing desk.

“I’m into my second week now and walking at a pretty slow, casual pace, about 1.4 miles an hour,” Neighmond writes. “When I first started, I thought I’d simply hop on the treadmill and be off walking all day while working. But it turns out it’s really hard to walk, talk, think and concentrate.”

Last year, The New York Times reported on Salo, a Minnesota-based financial consulting company that tried a similar experiment with some of its employees. And so far, the results have been positive both for employee health and for the company’s financial bottom line: During the six months that Salo took part in a Mayo Clinic treadmill desk study, the firm experienced record earnings.

“Remarkable,” Salo director of operations Craig Dexheimer told NPR. “We didn’t even go to a gym. We just went to work!” Dexheimer says he has lost 25 pounds since switching to the treadmill desk.
You can buy a treadmill desk, which typically costs several hundred dollars. Or, if you’re in do-it-yourself mode, this website shows how to build your own treadmill desk for just $39, not including the cost of the treadmill.

Still, the doctor who headed up the Mayo Clinic study says you shouldn’t jump right into running a minimarathon each day at work.

“There’s a tendency to want to jump on the treadmill and walk for hours and hours a day,” Dr. James Levine told NPR. “Don’t do that. Certainly, at the absolute maximum, do half-hour on, half an hour off, for two to three hours a day.”
You can watch a recent video of Levine discussing the effect of workplace mobility below:

California Works to Get Word Out on Health Insurance Exchange

November 14, 2012|By Anna Gorman and Chad Terhune, Los Angeles Times

Covered California (health exchange) logo
How many Californians know what this means?

The state faces a daunting task in getting enough people — healthy and unhealthy, uninsured and insured — to enroll in the crucial element of the national healthcare overhaul.

Nearly every day, worried Californians call a Pacoima hotline asking what lies ahead in healthcare reform: Do I have to get private insurance? Will I lose my Medi-Cal? How much will it cost? When does it start?

“There’s mass confusion already,” said Katie Murphy, managing attorney at Neighborhood Legal Services of Los Angeles County, which runs the call line.

With the presidential election over and the nation’s healthcare overhaul moving forward, California officials have less than a year to clear up widespread uncertainty about future medical coverage options.

“We are in our countdown period,” said Peter Lee, executive director of Covered California, the state’s new health insurance marketplace that opens in October 2013.

[ MORE ]