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Employee Wellness Programs: Focus on Injury Prevention

//Employee Wellness Programs: Focus on Injury Prevention

Employee 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 corporation offers several initiatives—including
line-site process evaluations —to establish potential hazards and help
reduce the chance of injury. As part of an early intervention program, Honda
employees 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 percent of
all manufacturing injuries occurred within the first two hours of each shift.
After starting a program that required production employees to stretch for 10
to 15 minutes at the beginning of their shifts, they saw a dramatic reduction
in injuries.

While the DPI Employee Wellness Plan costs about $75,000 a year to operate,
in conjunction with other corporation 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 data that shows fewer work
days are lost when an staff member 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 organizations in providing
Employee 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:

staff member involvement – To ensure the success of any Employee Wellness Program,
employees must take part 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 employees on the corporation’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 employees informed and provides suggestions
and feedback on the effectiveness of the Employee 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
employees knowledgeable about the corporation’s safe practices.

The corporation 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
start a disability management policy to help injured or ill employees 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 staff member, 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 corporation’s safety efforts. Corporation
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.

2009-05-09T04:49:35+00:00 Employee Wellness|0 Comments

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