Corporate Wellness Programs: Focus on Injury Prevention

Preventing injuries is a high priority for employers, especially in factory settings such as Honda. That’s why the business offers several initiatives—including line-site process evaluations —to identify potential hazards and help reduce the chance of injury. As part of an early intervention program, Honda staff members who are feeling pain can receive a massage of the affected area during work time.

Stretching initiatives are another effective tool in injury prevention. According to the Best Practices in Manufacturing Web site, Dayton Parts, Inc. (DPI) in Harrisburg, Pa., conducted research that revealed approximately 80% of all manufacturing injuries occurred within the first two hours of each shift. After implementing a program that required production staff members to stretch for 10 to 15 minutes at the beginning of their shifts, they saw a dramatic reduction in injuries.

While the DPI Corporate Wellness Program costs about $75,000 a year to operate, in conjunction with other business initiatives, it has helped bring the annual cost of workers’ compensation from $700,000 to $200,000 per year.6

To help prevent lengthy absences and reduce workers’ compensation claims, Honda instituted a work recovery program. Through the program, workers who have had an injury can work in a modified job—getting better. Employees in the program spend their work days receiving physical conditioning to increase overall fitness, physical therapy to restore functionality, health education and nutrition counseling. The program is based on information that shows fewer work days are lost when an employee stays connected to the work environment.

The Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation, www.ohiobwc.com, provides a “10-Step Business Plan” as a guide for employers in providing Corporate Wellness Programs that aim to reduce injuries. The plan includes information on safety and health initiatives to prevent occurrences of on-the-job accidents, including:

employee involvement – To ensure the success of any Corporate Wellness Program, staff members must participate in the safety and health-management process. This can be done through safety and health audits, accident investigations, or by forming safety and health involvement teams, focus groups or committees.

Orientation and training plan – Conduct orientation and training sessions to educate staff members on the business’s safety policies. These sessions should include procedures for the safe use of machinery and tools, chemical hazards and how to prevent contact or exposure, specific job/task safe practices, and hazard recognition and prevention.

Communication – Open communication keeps staff members informed and provides suggestions and feedback on the effectiveness of the Corporate Wellness Program. Through memos, bulletin boards and staff meetings, important safety and health information can be conveyed throughout the organization, keeping all management staff and staff members knowledgeable about the business’s safe practices.

The business plan also outlines incentives for post-injury procedures, including:

Medical treatment and return-to-work practices – arly return-to-work strategies help injured or ill workers return to work in a timely manner. Companies should establish a disability management policy to help injured or ill staff members obtain quality medical treatment, making their transition back to work quick and effortless.

Timely notification of claims – Employers should document workplace injuries immediately after they occur and promptly send that documentation to a claims handler. Quickly providing claim information demonstrates care and concern for the injured employee, prevents delays and confusion with the claim process, and reduces the potential for abuse or needless litigation.

Record keeping – Internal documents should be kept to record work-time injuries and to assess the success of the business’s safety efforts. Business audits, surveys and injury or illness reports can all be used to analyze which safety practices and policies have proven successful, and what areas of health and wellness need improvement.

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