Workplace Injury; It Pays to have a Prevention Program

By Ryan Cotton, PT, DHS, OCS

According to data from Liberty Mutual and the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are nearly 54,000 workplace injuries annually costing companies nearly $62 billion. OSHA reports that the average workers compensation claim cost is $19,985. No industry is immune to workplace injury and company owners, HR professionals, Safety professionals, and individual employees need to have a continual focus on reducing the risk of workplace injury.

The costs of workplace injuries include more than just the Direct Medical Costs. The Indirect Costs including employee time away, employee replacement or retraining, limited productivity, and staff morale changes can have an even greater impact on a company.

Using a single carpal tunnel diagnosis as an example, OSHA reports the average direct cost of $30,509 and indirect cost of $33,559. Total cost to the company for one carpal tunnel diagnosis is estimated to be $64,068. With this overall cost hitting the bottom line, it certainly makes financial sense to invest in an injury prevention program. Preventing one, if not multiple workplace injuries has a significant effect on a company’s bottom line.

Physical Therapists are experts in musculoskeletal injury prevention and treatment. A PT as part of your injury prevention team has many essential functions.

Job Analysis

Having a PT analyze the essential functions of each job is vital for injury prevention. PTs can identify injury risks inherent to the job and offer modifications to minimize these risks. It is essential to have a document that fully outlines all the essential demands of the job. Using this job description, a job specific test can be developed.  An appropriate job test is an effective tool to guide hiring to ensure that a new employee if physically capable to perform the demands of the job.

Early Intervention

Having a regular presence of a physical therapist on site as part of your safety team has many positive results including:

  • Identifying postures or positions which could put employees at risk of injury
  • Identify  “minor issue” injuries at their onset and address them before they become a recordable injury
  • Education for employees on lifting techniques and posture to prevent injury
  • Education for employees on stretching and strengthening programs that can better equip their bodies to perform their job
  • Changing the environment to focus on injury prevention

No matter how many preventative measures have been put in place, work place injuries can still happen. A physical therapist who works onsite on a regular basis will have intimate knowledge of the job demands and the work environment. This will help the therapist guide treatment while focusing on returning the employee to work.

Injury Analysis

Body One Work Solutions wants to work with your company to help reduce the impact of injuries on your bottom line. Our team can deliver the insight and expertise you need to keep injuries from burdening your team, reduce the number of injury reports filed, and eliminate some of the financial obligations tied to caring for injured employees.