Tag Archives: workplace injury

Stop Workplace Falls While Decking the Halls!

November 30, 2017 by 

Workplace safety is important during the holiday season.  Stressing this topic can also reduce workers’ compensation program expenses.  This is especially true as employees are decking the workplace halls — you want to avoid falla falls, falla falls, falls, falls falls!

slips, trips and falls graphic for aritcle, Stop Workplace Falls While Decking the Halls!

The Real Expense of Workplace Safety

Failing to have a safe workplace impacts, everyone.  Employees get injured; overtime costs go up; all employees get stressed.  It also reduces productivity and adds unnecessary costs to the hiring and replacement of talented individuals who cannot return to work.  It adds to healthcare costs in the United States and places an unnecessary burden on emergency rooms.  Now is the time to prevent workplace injuries.

Slip, Trips and Falls in the Workplace

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) tracks injuries and deaths that occur in the American workplace.  Approximately 15% of all deaths in workers’ compensation settings occur when someone falls in a same level or multi-level incident.  Only motor vehicle accidents account for more workplace deaths.

The economic impact of slip/fall injuries is astronomical.  The National Safety Council estimates these types of injuries cost American industry over $13 billion per year.  This averages out to be about $40,000 per incident.  The consequence of poor training and safety compliance continues to grow.  Interested and proactive claims management teams can make a difference and reverse this troubling trend.  It also starts with educating insured on fall avoidance and other safety issues.

Creating a Culture of Safety

OSHA does require training for all employees subject to slip/fall dangers.  Those interested in making a difference in their workplace need to go beyond the minimum requirements

Prevent same level slip and fall injuries:

  • Keep work areas free of clutter, dust and other debris;
  • Require employees to wear low-heeled shoes with no-slip surfaces;
  • Ensure that rugs and mats have skid-proof backing;
  • Avoid having non-tracked flooring installed in workspaces;
  • Discourage horseplay in the workplace. This can include specifically prohibiting conduct that can result in slips, falls or other related injuries;
  • Keep rooms free of clutter, especially on floors; and
  • Use correct lighting in stairwells and hallways.

Employees working at heights such as catwalks, ladders, and scaffolding are in extreme danger for severe injury from falls.  Important measures to implement in the workplace should include:

  • Development and implementation of a fall protection program. This includes training and ongoing evaluation of safety measures for employees and management to use daily;
  • Avoid unprotected side and openings. When these settings are unavoidable, use of a guardrail, safety net or fall arrest systems are paramount;
  • Provide instruction on the safe posting and use of ladders;
  • Purchase and require the use of OSHA compliant ladders when engaging in workplace activities; and
  • Inspection of ladders and scaffolding before and after all use.

While this list is not all-inclusive, there needs to be a proactive approach to employee safety when working at heights.  It is also important to engage management on these issues and foster a culture of compliance with safety procedures and injury avoidance.

Conclusions

The holiday season should be a time of joy and gratitude—not emergency room visits.  While slip/fall injuries will never be eliminated, they can be avoided.  Taking a proactive approach reduces workers’ compensation costs and allows people to focus on the holiday season.

Read more: www.ReduceYourWorkersComp.com Stop the Workplace Falls While Decking the Halls! http://blog.reduceyourworkerscomp.com/2017/11/stop-the-workplace-falls-while-decking-the-halls/#ixzz50QdWkZ1s
Copyright Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc.
Under Creative Commons License: Attribution Non-Commercial No Derivatives

Lower Back Pain and Better Outcomes

09/08/17     Safety National

Millions of dollars are spent annually on treating low back pain (LBP). It accounts for one third of all occupational musculoskeletal injuries and illnesses resulting in work disability. At the 2017 CWC and Risk conference a panel of experts discuss lower back pain and the latest research.

Illustration representing lower back pain for article, Lower Back Pain and Better Outcomes

Conservative treatment options

There is no magic bullet. There is moderate evidence for multiple forms of conservative treatment. Acute lower back pain(LBP) treatment options include reassurance, remain active, heat, manipulation and acupuncture.

Meds can include NSAIDs or muscle relaxants (not opioids). Chronic LBP options are exercise, mindfulness based approaches, cognitive behavioral therapy, multidisciplinary rehab. Meds can include NSAIDs, tramadol. Bed rest is not advised. Physical agents and modalities are of unproven benefit to justify their costs in patients with acute LBP. There is evidence against traction for acute LBP but there is some support for chronic LBP. There is building evidence for stratified care based on risk profile that includes psychological and physical characteristics. Some patients may need a little more than reassurance and simple education. Others may need more advanced “psychologically informed” rehabilitation.

Central sensitization is becoming better understood and represents significant changes within the nervous system. This may require multidisciplinary care that includes specialized physical rehab and pharmacotherapy. People with uncomplicated LBP who are first sent for MRIs are more likely to receive a surgical or injection intervention, require specialty care or visit to an emergency system and LBP related medical charges were higher. MRIs can trigger catastrophic thinking and disability beliefs.

The Power of Words

Words can:

• Reassure or frighten

• Signal interest or not

• Build trust /confidence or distrust or insecurity

• Create expectations – positive or negative

• Grow relationships or not

Words are most powerful when you are seen as a credible authority (benevolent, trustworthy and expert in the matter at hand. When you are familiar with and respect the worker’s specific situation: What are they wondering or worrying about, and what they want to accomplish.

University of California – WorkStrong program

The WorkStrong program is a University of California system-wide program developed with the expertise and collaborative support of UC staff in wellness programs, occupational health and recreational services. It is designed to promote recovery and prevent future workplace injuries. Each UC campus has its own unique program to suit the needs of the employees on its campus. All campuses offer the core services of WorkStrong, which include a 6 month gym membership, exercise guidance and nutrition counseling, while each campus offers their own unique programming to suit the needs of its campus.

Some of the program benefits include:

• Post-rehab wellness program (pre- and post-body composition assessments included)

• Pre- and post-flexibility/mobility and strength assessment

• Flexible hours geared towards what works best for you

• Focused on functional strength for your workplace

[SEE FULL STORY HERE]

Safety Shoes – Selecting the Right Workplace Shoe

By

safety shoe sign
Spring fashion season is here!

What better day to discuss this topic than “Shoe the World Day?” There are multiple factors to consider when selecting the most appropriate foot protection.

The goal is to make sure that your feet are comfortable, supported, and protected. In a recent post, we demonstrated that a pair of safety shoes is an effective piece of personal protective equipment.

However, the hazards are not only falling objects or fork trucks rolling over toes, but discomfort due to improper fit and selection. Choosing the appropriate safety shoe could prevent foot related problems like bunions, corns, calluses, hammertoes, and even prevent discomfort to the legs, hips, and back.

Consider these tips when selecting your next pair.

  1. Safety should be the initial consideration when selecting the correct pair of protective footwear. There are many options in the market but you should choose a pair that will protect your feet from the hazards present. A combination of safety toe caps, metatarsal guards (protection for the top of the foot), steel plate soles (puncture resistant), sole material (slip resistance, electrical insulation, flexibility, and hardness), and overall construction materials used should be considered.
  2. Fit is very important! Did you know that the human foot actually grows during the day and shrinks while you sleep? While that’s not entirely true, everyone’s feet are slightly larger after a hard day’s work. This means the end of the day is the best time to try on a new pair of shoes or boots. Making sure your new shoes fit well is key to preventing future discomfort. About one-third of adult men are wearing shoes that don’t fit properly, so take the time to ensure you are selecting the proper size.
  3. Comfort is a must! The majority of quality safety shoes and boots will not stretch or need a break in period. Make sure that when you’re test driving potential footwear, your feet are immediately comfortable. Areas of comfort include appropriate space in the toe box, no pinching or cramping at the ball of the foot or toe area, and adequate support in the arch and heel. Make sure the padding and materials used are adequate for your work climate. Utilizing a shoe with moisture control technology for both warm and cold climates is a great option, but can affect how your shoe fits. When feet are comfortable, your knees, hips, and lower back are better aligned and supported.

    [READ FULL STORY HERE]

Chronic Pain: A Double Dose of Trouble

September 13, 2016 by Michael B. Stack

chronic pain instagraphicDealing with “chronic pain” is an issue the workers’ compensation claims management team deals with on a daily basis.

This is highlighted by the daily dose of news about the prescription drug epidemic and the countless Americans who are either addicted to these legal medications, or become addicted to street drugs as the result of using them to deal with work-related injuries.  It is important to claim handlers to be proactive on this issue for the benefit of the injured employee and the bottom line.

What is Chronic Pain?

From a clinical standpoint, “chronic pain” is pain symptomology that lasts from three to six months following the onset of injury.  This can be the result of a specific incident such as a slip/fall injury, an aggravation or acceleration of an underlying condition or an injury resulting from workplace exposure or repetitive activity.

In most incidents, healthcare professionals in the United States deal with chronic pain by prescribing opioid-based pain medications.  These medications come in many forms and names people have come to know.  They include:

•  Codeine (available in generic form)
•  Fentanyl (Actiq, Duragesic, Fentora)
•  Hydrocodone (Hysingla ER, Zohydro ER)
•  Hydrocodone/acetaminophen (Lorcet, Lortab, Norco, Vicodin)

These prescriptions are useful as they relieve pain for a period and allow a person to recover from injury.  They are derived from opium, which is commonly processed into the street drug known as heroin. |

Quick Facts on Opioid Addiction

•  From 2000 – 2013, the drug screening industry grew by $1.2 billion.Workers’ compensation insurers in California alone spend about $100 million per year for opioid-based pain medications.

[READ FULL STORY HERE]

Medical Marijuana – Beyond the Obvious

By Safety National 07/29/2016

Medical Marijuana logoAt the 2016 SAWCA Annual Conference, a panel discussed a variety of issues associated with medical marijuana. The panel was:

•  Dr. Robert Howell – Georgia GHSE
•  Eric Haines – Chief Deputy – Escambia County Sheriff’s Office
•  Michael Minardi – Chairman – Regulate Florida
•  Reggie Garcia – United for Care
•  Tom Glasson – Government Affairs Officer – AIG
•  Paul Tauriello – Colorado Division of Workers’ Compensation

Recreational marijuana has been legal in Colorado for 3 years now. Last year the marijuana industry in Colorado generated $996 million in revenue. This resulted in around $200 million in tax revenues for the state. While this may seem like a large number, it is really a very small percentage of the state budget. With tobacco, for every $1 in taxes collected there is $10 in costs to the system including healthcare and regulatory costs. Is marijuana producing a better ratio or is the costs of regulating legalized marijuana higher than taxes collected from its sale?

Alternative to Opioids?

The issue with considering marijuana as an alternative to opioids is that there is no science to support this. Since marijuana is a Schedule 1 drug, there has been no credible testing and studies about its effectiveness for different conditions. Any other prescription medication has to go through extensive testing to be approved. Published articles on this topic are very unscientific and tend to be more driven by personal opinion rather than actual scientific fact.

The question becomes can we stop the opioid epidemic by substituting medical marijuana?  The answer is that this is doubtful. Test subjects report a 30% reduction in pain with marijuana. It is likely that instead of replacing opioids, medical marijuana would be used in addition to it. Continue reading Medical Marijuana – Beyond the Obvious

Stay-At-Work Is The Correct Mindset In Return To Work

October 15, 2015 by Michael B. Stack

cartoon about job descriptionsReturn-to-Work (RTW) programs are designed to have the injured employee brought back to work during their medical recovery process. Partly because they help a company maintain productivity while keeping costs down, an increasing number of companies are altering their RTW programs to include Stay-at-Work (SAW) policies. Under SAW, all but the most critically injured employees are assigned modified duties, or even a totally new and different job immediately following the initial medical visit.

Stay-At-Work Program Assigns Modified Duty Position Immediately

With a SAW program, the employer’s workers’ compensation coordinator contacts the medical provider during the time the injured employee is traveling from the accident scene to the medical provider.  The medical provider is advised the employer will offer the injured employee modified duties that meet medical restrictions imposed by the physician, including providing total sedentary work, if necessary. The workers’ comp coordinator should also request that the employee’s work restrictions be provided immediately following the employee’s first medical visit for the injury.

A comprehensive SAW program incorporates modifications of the employee’s job description, modification of the employee’s work schedule, and changing of the employee’s work station location, if needed.  By being totally flexible, the employer will limit the loss of productivity while also hopefully maintaining a high level of loyalty from the injured employee.

The Benefits of Stay At Work Programs

The integration of a SAW program with a RTW offering compliments and multiplies the benefits obtained from maintaining the latter. By reducing or eliminating the amount of time an injured employee is off work, the dual programs create the following benefits:

  • Fewer lost days
  • Consistent productivity
  • Higher employee morale as the worker sees the employer is concerned they maintain an income comparable to what it was prior to the injury
  • Predictable profits for the employer

[READ FULL STORY HERE] 

Copyright Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc.   Under Creative Commons License: Attribution Non-Commercial No Derivatives

Return-to-Work Programs

By 

The only place success comes before work is in the dictionary” –
Vince Lombardi

At the 2015 WCI Conference this session addressed the issues faced from employees returning to work and to create a successful return-to-work program. .
benefits of return to work programs graphic
The speakers included Margaret Spence, President/CEO, Douglas Claims & Risk Consultants, Inc, and Rose Royo, Supervisor, Workers Compensation, Miami Dade County Public Schools.

Key idea to remember, work smarter not harder. Main focus when creating a return to work program is the employee. The injured worker is an employee not a claimant. Imperative to make sure the employee knows they are vital to you and that you are not just treating them as a claim. The employment situation creates the workers’ compensation situation. It is essential to have a happy medium when working with an employee and the return to work program. The goal is to keep the employee working you do not want to get wrapped up in everything else.

When you create a return to work program, it is helpful follow these guidelines:

• Create an injury management team-this starts with the highest employee in your organization

• Understand the organization’s why- injured employee should be at the center of the focus

• Define the process-make sure there are steps the employee needs to take in order to get back to work

• Embrace your purpose and value-Remember your employee is most important

• Make the business care-costs money to bring new employees into the company, focus on getting the injured worker back to work

• Find ways to engage-this program should be a collaborative effort between several departments

• Create an integrated disability team- build proactive policies

As an employer you cannot be afraid to ask the employees what can we do for you in order to get you back to your job and work at 100%. The saying goes a “happy worker is a happy worker!”

Return to work programs are not something you create in a year and never look at the program again.

[READ FULL STORY HERE]

37% Of Americans Believe Most Workers’ Compensation Claimants “Don’t Want To Work”

If perception is half the battle… then these are fightin’ words!

Survey reveals injuman with beer belly asleep on couch with remotered workers deal with stigma and an overly complex process.Phoenix, AZ

A stubborn stigma persists toward injured workers who file workers’ compensation claims, according to a new survey commissioned by Summit Pharmacy Inc.

  • Nearly two in five Americans (37 percent) believe “most workers’ compensation claims are made by people who don’t want to work.”
  • One in three American workers (34 percent) believe if they were injured on the job, “it would be a nightmare process to get the pain medication(s) my doctor prescribed.”
  • More than one-third of Americans (35 percent) agreed with this statement: “You need a PhD to complete all the necessary paperwork associated with a worker’s compensation claim.”

The survey of more than 2,000 adults (aged 18+) was conducted online from September 29- October 1 by Harris Poll on behalf of Summit Pharmacy, which preserves the rights of injured workers by helping them get the doctor-prescribed medications they need, while working with attorneys and physicians to expedite the worker’s compensation claims process.

“The vast majority of workers are holding up their end of the bargain by putting in an honest day’s effort,” said Dr. Joel Morton, founder, president and medical director, Summit Pharmacy Inc. “Too often, injured workers face stigma and complications as they attempt to wade through complicated and frustrating bureaucracy. Work-related injuries often create a spiral of despair that affects entire families, sometimes permanently.”

[READ REST OF ARTICLE]