There are more workplace injuries in the Healthcare & Social Services sector than any other private industry including manufacturing. The result is rising Workers’ Compensation fees for those industries many of which are non-profits with limited budgets and reduced revenues due to the reduction in insurance reimbursements.
The cost containment challenge is increased with the introduction of volunteers, remote workers such as those employed by Visiting Nurse Associations, and high turnover in the lower paying jobs due to the high physical demand and stress.
In the end keeping claims and premiums under control comes down to have a solid Risk Management Program in place – one that is constantly monitored AND managed to. Company leadership also needs to have complete buy in from their team which means upper and middle management must believe in, follow and enforce the program AND be a mentor for the team whom they manage.
Here’s the foundation for any Healthcare Facility Risk Management Program:
Build a Solid Safety Management Program
Many of the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) standards require that a written safety program be developed and communicated to all employees. Beyond being mandated by OSHA, experience shows that companies with fully developed OSHA-compliant programs have fewer accidents.
The 6 Core Elements of a Safety Management Program
According to OSHA there are 6 core elements to a Safety Management Program in the workplace.
- Management Leadership: Safety comes from the top down so management must make safety a top priority and demonstrate their commitment to safety through their actions.
- Employee Participation: Employees participate in designing, implementing, and maintaining the program as they are more likely to support a program that they helped develop.
- Hazard Identification and Assessment: Identify and prioritize the hazards in the workplace.
- Hazard Prevention and Control: Outline methods for preventing and controlling workplace hazards.
- Education & Training: Provide all employees with the knowledge and skills to perform their work safely.
- System Evaluation & Improvement: Implement ongoing monitoring and measuring of the program for efficacy.
Investigate Accidents – Don’t just report
In addition to a comprehensive safety management program, it’s important to go beyond reporting and conduct full accident investigations. Reporting simply states facts whereas investigating goes deeper into the root cause of the accident. Identifying causes helps to prevent and reduce accident occurrences and the fewer accidents you have, the lower your workers’ comp. rates will be.
Ergonomics Reduce Injuries
It’s a known fact in the health care industry that many of the tasks carried out by employees put them at an increased risk of musculoskeletal disorders. Lifting or repositioning patients, repetitive tasks, and standing for more than four hours are all contributors.
Here are a few ways to reduce the risk of health care employee specific injuries:
- Maintain Flexibility & Strength: Dedicating a few minutes to stretching and strengthening exercises before and during a shift will go a long way in preventing common muscle pulls and strains.
- Proper Lifting Techniques: Using proper lifting procedures and utilizing any patient moving equipment available are keys to preventing injuries, especially for younger staff who tend to overestimate their ability to move patients unassisted.
- Choose the Right Shoes: Standing for long periods of time will put employees at risk for foot and joint pain and fatigue, and will place undue stress on other muscles of the legs and back.
Education, prevention, and maintaining employee health will all contribute to fewer injuries in the workplace which will serve to reduce your workers’ comp. costs. At The Workplace Solution, we are dedicated to reducing the risks in your business and keeping your costs down.
Get in touch with us to find out more about our Workers’ Compensation Captive Insurance Program designed for best in class businesses looking for an alternative to traditional insurance.
Dave Sinclair, CEO The WorkPlace Solution