Tag Archives: injury prevention

4 Data-Based Tips for Workers’ Comp Injury Prevention

10:00 in the morning is an expensive time of day for many organizations. There is a spike in injury frequency in the service/hospitality, construction/natural resources and healthcare industries, according to Pinnacol Assurance. The Colorado workers’ compensation insurer released trends based on five years of its claims data in four industries. The results can help employers in the industries take positive steps toward improved workers’ comp injury prevention.

cost of soft tissue injuries info graphic for article, 4 Data-Based Tips for Workers’ Comp Injury Prevention


Injury Frequency. While many injuries occur to newly hired workers, some industries were noteworthy for other spikes in injury frequency

  • Healthcare – 3 – 4 years after the hire date
  • Clerical/professional – more than 10 years after the hiring date

Also, in healthcare, 38% of injuries happen during the first year on the job, whether the worker is new to the organization OR new to the industry.

Danger Zone TimesA drop in blood sugar levels is speculated as a reason

for the increase in injuries at 10 a.m. in several industries. Additional times of frequency spikes include:

  • Service Hospitality: 9 p.m. saw a spike in the most expensive injuries
  • Construction/natural resources: 9 – 11 a.m. and 1 – 3 p.m.
  • Clerical/professional: 8 – 11 a.m., with a significant spike at 2:00

Vulnerable Body PartsThe lower back is the most commonly injured body part in both the professional/clerical and construction/natural resources fields.  It’s also the most expensive location for injuries in construction/natural resources.  Other commonly injured and/or expensive body parts injured include

  • Service/hospitality: fingers, hands and lower back are most commonly injured. Lacerations, contusions, strains, sprains, and burns are the most expensive injuries.
  • Construction/natural resources: lower back, knee, foot, lower leg, and fingers are the most expensive body parts injured.
  • Healthcare: lower back, shoulder, knee, wrist, and ankle are the most expensive. Strains, strikes (needlesticks) and strains (lifting/carrying) are the most frequent causes of injuries, while animals are number 8 on the list of causes, due to home health care incidents.
  • Clerical/professional: lower back, knee, fingers, shoulder and wrist are the most commonly injured body parts. The most expensive injury types are contusions, strains, sprains, fractures and The most frequent causes of injures are strains from lifting, falls from ice/snow, falls on the same level, repetitive motion, and motor vehicle incidents.


7 Ways to Proactively Reduce Comorbidity Costs

photo of fat guy to illustrate comorbidityAs if managing workers’ compensation claims isn’t challenging enough, we’re increasingly seeing comorbid conditions among injured workers. We know that these health issues can increase the likelihood of workplace injuries and illnesses, and then add to the complexity and costs of managing a claim. The aging workforce means we’ll probably see more multiple comorbidities per claim in the years ahead.

Some jurisdiction, such as California, require employers to pay for treatment of a comorbidity if it hampers recovery. Even in states that don’t have that requirement, it still benefits payers to identify and address comorbid conditions that are present or, ideally, try to prevent them in the first place.

The Stats

The rate of claims with comorbid conditions per claim nearly tripled between 2000 and 2009.  These claims are more likely to include lost time and have about two times higher medical costs than comparable claims.

Obesity, addiction, mental health and hypertension are those with the greatest impacts on negative outcomes. Obese workers, for example, file two times as many claims as non-obese workers, have medical costs that are seven times higher, and incur an average 13 times more days away from work.

Diabetes has one of the lowest impacts on claims among comorbidities; and yet it is associated with increased recovery times, delayed healing, an increase in the likelihood of infections and other complications, and results in increased reserves.

When more than one comorbidity is present the increases are staggering.

  • 76 percent increase in claims duration.
  • 341 percent increase in total incurred costs.
  • 285 percent increase in temporary total disability days.
  • 147 percent increase in litigation rates
  • 123 percent increase in surgery rates


How Technology Is Changing Workers’ Compensation

By Denise Johnson | February 22, 2017

tech trends in workers' compensationNew technologies are improving workers’ compensation programs in everything from communications and training to health care delivery and claims, according to experts.

Tom Ryan, market research leader for Marsh’s Workers Compensation Center of Excellence, speaking during a recent Marsh broadcast, identified several areas of workers’ compensation that can benefit from technology:

•   In communications with employees. Information critical to prevent injuries and claim updates can be provided to employees via smartphone mobile applications.
•   In sharing workforce training via an employer’s intranet or through smartphone applications.
•   In delivering care to injured workers through telemedicine and via mobile apps that can direct injured workers to preferred medical providers.
•   In managing claims by providing customizable email alerts, such as notifications when prescriptions are ready.

Wearable technology is also having an impact. Wearables can monitor employee movements and alert co-workers of danger, as well as monitor fatigue, body temperature and repetitive motion. The information can be used in training, fraud prevention and wellness programs, Ryan said.
wearble technology, injury prevention, incident reporting, workforce training, smartphone, apps, telemedicine
Construction industry wearables include high tech vests and helmets that have lights or vibrate to alert employees of potentially dangerous changes in surroundings.
The use of telemedicine has resulted in higher network penetration, lower claims severity and lower claims costs at Bank of America.


New Smartphone Apps Help Reinforce Workplace Safety, Train Teen Workers

They had me at training a teen!

By WorkersCompensation.com  February 23, 2017

Workplace Safety app for iOS and Android
   There’s a YouTube video that shows how to use the app.

Tumwater, WA – Improving workplace safety just got easier with two new free apps available from the Department of Labor & Industries (L&I). They were developed with grant money awarded by L&I’s Safety and Health Investment Projects (SHIP) Program. Both can be downloaded for IOS or Android devices.

The SHIP Program funds innovative projects that prevent workplace injuries, illnesses, and fatalities and help injured workers return to work.

“We hope all employers will give these apps a try,” said Jenifer Jellison, program manager for L&I’s SHIP grant program. “They’re convenient, easy to use in the workplace, and offer a great new way to prevent injuries and reinforce safe work practices.”

Capture and report safety incidents instantly

The Good Observation, Near-Miss and Accident Reporting app provides a simple and effective way to document safety incidents in the workplace. Employers can use it to photograph a safe practice, a near-miss or an accident, and then use the finger-drawing tool to markup the photo. A quick-report feature lets you save the photo, add a few details and send to others in your organization.

This new workplace safety tool was developed by three companies working together — John W. Shervey & Associates, Schuchart Construction and Mellora — using a $45,735 SHIP grant.

The app is suitable for most industries and can be used for training, hazard recognition, risk analysis or process improvement. There’s also a Spanish version, and there’s a YouTube video that shows how to use the app. Download the app at WA-HSEQ app.


Humanize Work Comp To Realize Medical Savings

May 3, 2016 by Michael B. Stack Leave a Comment

graphic for; Humanize, Understanding, Manage, Analyze, NurtureMedical costs continue to account for a significant portion of every workers’ compensation claims.  In order to address this matter, innovative teams are seeking improvements in the way they direct medical care and treatment in their claims.

Barriers in Directing Medical Care

All workers’ compensation programs are subject to a rigid statutory and regulatory framework that impacts the medical portion of every claim.  Notwithstanding the use of treatment parameters and fee schedules, the medical component in every jurisdiction can create challenges.  Some common barriers faced by the claim management team include:

• Choice of medical providers and the ability of the employee to switch providers during the course of medical treatment;

• Failure to use correctly an independent medical examination (IME) to mitigate exposure on a claim. This can often include selecting a doctor who lacks the correct credentials or familiarity with the injury in the claim; and

• Problems dealing with medical care that enables the injured worker to malinger.

Dealing with Common Pitfalls in Medical Care

The claim handler in charge of the claim is on the front lines when it comes to dealing with injured workers and making sure they receive the benefits, care and treatment they are entitled to post-injury.  This requires that member of the claim management team to take a proactive approach to dealing with these issues and reducing future exposures.

Here are some important things to consider:

• Educate the employer/clients regarding injury prevention;

• Be proactive when it comes to reporting claims. Time is of the essence.  A promote injury response can also buy good will from the employee and their attorney; Continue reading Humanize Work Comp To Realize Medical Savings

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