Keys to a Successful Health and Wellness Room and Educational Light Duty Programs

While it is still work, Health and Wellness Room programs gives all your Injured Employees a Safe Place to recover from their work-related injury without compromising the treatment plan, wrongly motivating other employees, or skyrocketing your severity rates. It also allows for you to utilize the Health and Wellness Room Coordinator for other tasks that will help improve your safety performance, like, safety and equipment training, first aid, health and fitness training, etc. Five keys to implementation of a successful program include:

Management Connection: It is crucial for the Management Team to support the objectives of the Health and Wellness Room Program. Managers should help relay the importance of the Return-to-Work and Injury Prevention Program to the workforce. Also, communicate the need to control costs by providing employees with a safe and effective means for Light Duty. Educate your management team on the decisions that led you to form a Health and Wellness Room and the need for them to provide full support when requested.

Medical Management: Make sure the medical providers also share the same goals as set forth in your injury prevention program. Often, physicians are unaware of the high expense and loss of productivity that can occur from malingering claims and lengthy treatment plans…or they don’t care.

Claims Management: Insist that your claims adjusters establish an open line of communication with the Health and Wellness Room Coordinator. Often, the visual observations and daily discussions with the injured employee by the Health and Wellness Room Coordinator can provide to be a valuable tool for claims management. The Health and Wellness Room Coordinator will usually receive volunteered updates from the injured employee immediately following the appointment. We also hear about hobbies and “outside” activities that may conflict with their treatment plan.

Human Resources: The Health and Wellness Room is an aggressive and pro-active approach to controlling your worker’s compensation expenditures. Our success is also largely dependent on the execution of your Company’s Policies and Procedures when management support and even when disciplinary action is required. The Health and Wellness Room Program is still work and those attendee’s in violation of your Policies and Procedures can be disciplined accordingly.

Conclusion: The Health and Wellness Room Program accomplishes all of these goals. It is designed to be inspirational and motivating to employees who are injured on the job. It is also aimed to serve as a deterrent against those who don’t want to work and use the Worker’s Compensation Laws to their advantage. Don’t be mislead that “income loss” will provide incentive to return to work. It is often minimal and injured employees often prefer to stay home. No daycare, no gas, no lunch money, no supervisor…you get the picture.

Eye Safety, Prevention & Care in the Workplace

January is National Eye Safety Month! 

Your eyesight is a priceless commodity and once lost can never be brought back.  Every day in the workplace employees are exposed to numerous hazards to the eyes from chemicals to flying objects.  Protecting your eyes starts with education and utilizing the right equipment. 

There are many different types of eye protection available to you and choosing the right equipment should be based on the hazards YOU face in your environment.  Your eye protection should be;

•Strong, durable & lightweight

•Resistant to impact, penetration & heat

•Easy to clean

Eye Protection can include safety glasses,goggles,face shields or helmets.  They should always fit snugly and be comfortable without becoming obtrusive throughout the workday.  If you wear contact lenses be especially careful because they can absorb or trap particles and gases that can injure your eyes.

Remember: Regular prescription glasses can’t protect you on the job!   You must wear only “approved” protective gear (check with your employer).  OSHA requires that safety glasses or goggles meet standards developed by ANSI (American National Standards Institute).

Too many eye injuries occur because eye protection was required, issued & available- and NOT USED!!!

KNOW WHAT TO DO IN AN EMERGENCY 

♦Particles in the eyes- Flush eyes with water until the particle comes out.

♦Chemical splash or burn- Hold your eyes open and flush with water for at least 15 minutes.  Get immediate medical attention and check your MSDS for specific 1st aid treatment.

♦Blow to the eye- Apply a cold compress for 15 minutes to reduce pain & swelling.

♦Cuts near the eye- Bandage the eyes loosely and get immediate medical attention.

Always seek professional medical attention if warrented!

EYE CARE

Regular care of your eyes is also very important, eye exams on a regular basis (every 2-5 years) can uncover underlying medical problems such as diabetes , hypertension or the onset of Glaucoma.   And for eye diseases such as Glaucoma, the damage may be detected through your normal exams before you notice any signs or symptoms.

According to the study “Vision Problems in the U.S.” by Prevent Blindness America and the National Eye Institute (NEI), there are nearly 2.3 million Americans ages 40 and older who have glaucoma.  Glaucoma is the second leading cause of blindness in the world and the leading cause of blindness in African American and Hispanic populations in America. 

Pertinent risk factors for Glaucoma;

•Over 40 years of age

•Race- Leading cause of blindness in african and hispanic populations

•Family history

•Diabetes- If you have diabetes you have a higher risk of developing Glaucoma

•Nearsightedness

•Eye injury or surgery

•Extended use of steroid medications

REMEMBER TO TAKE CARE OF YOUR EYES!

 

 

Accident Investigations: An Essential Tool in Every Work Comp Management Program

Performing accident investigations when an employee gets injured is an important step in carrying out your company’s work comp management program. The first reason that comes to many people’s minds for conducting an accident investigation is probably to prevent a fraudulent claim from being filed, but there are many other good reasons for conducting these investigations.

Accident investigations help to identify the root cause of the injury. Was an inadequate workstation to blame? Or, maybe a malfunctioning tool or machine? If it is found that one of these scenarios was the cause of the accident, they can be promptly corrected before another employee suffers a similar fate. Maybe the employee had a pre-existing problem with their injured body part. Or, maybe they were doing something that they weren’t supposed to be doing so there is no equipment that needs to be fixed.

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Showing Compassion for Employees on Disability Can Reduce Work Comp Costs

What happens when an employee gets injured while on the job and goes on temporary disability? They can’t come into work anymore and are forced to sit at home, or they’re in the hospital with almost no contact from anyone at work. In many cases, the only work-related person who they get to talk to is the claim adjuster. They become cut-off from their peers and supervisors.

Sadly, this kind of treatment often leads the employee to feel lost, scared, abandoned, and perhaps even angry. They begin to feel as if they are not wanted around and that their company doesn’t really care about them at all. In many cases, the result of such thinking will end up leading to attorney’s becoming involved and the employee ends up being out for far longer than would otherwise be necessary. This situation is neither beneficial to the company or the employee and most employees would rather it not come to that but feel that they have no other option.

Preventing this from happening can be very simple. All it takes is a simple phone call about once a week to follow up with the injured employee and ask how they are doing. They will be glad to hear from someone from work other than the claim adjuster and it is a good way to monitor the employee’s progress. Sometimes, the information that an employee reveals through conversation can help to better understand the notes from their doctor. A small gift such as flowers or a “get well soon” card is another nice gesture that may be extended to go that extra mile and really make the injured employee feel reassured that they are cared for and eager to return to work.

Are You on Top of Your Injured Worker’s Progress?

The old saying “out of sight, out of mind” seems to be the perfect phrase to sum up most workers’ compensation claims. Malingering claims seem to develop when you lose contact with an injured employee. Not following up or tracking their progress can cost companies considerable amounts of money.

Health and Wellness Rooms can help keep you in the loop with that injured employee. Constant tracking of their restrictions allows you to see if your injured employee is improving or worsening. When they are at home, they are most likely not following their plan for rehabilitation. Utilizing the Health and Wellness Room allows you to get firsthand knowledge on their restrictions and any changes that may occur. The Health and Wellness Room can help motivate your injured worker to follow through with their therapy and exercise. Keeping structure for the employee helps them stay on track with their recovery.

Another benefit of keeping in touch and following each case is that it allows you to track the progress from the doctor or clinic that you have chosen for your work comp clinic. Let’s face it, some doctors are just not on the same page as you. Getting the injured worker back to work, or referred out to a specialist, may not be a priority for that doctor.

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Prescription Drugs: Legal and Lethal

If you are at home watching television during prime time, how many prescription drug commercials do you see in one sitting? One, two, even five will sometimes cross the airwaves in one hour. The concern becomes, if there are so many commercials for these medications, who are the people taking them? Chances are that your employees have seen those prescription commercials and could be tempted to contact their doctor for a prescription. Although it is good for your employees to communicate with their physicians, they could potentially be at risk of abusing prescription medications.

Most of these commercials are for things like cholesterol, diabetes, and osteoporosis – but what about the prescriptions that aren’t advertised like Vicodin, Oxycontin, or Percodan? These medications work by blocking pain perception, and are prescribed for acute pain, chronic pain, or pain following surgery.

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Instruments of Recuperation

“Just reading the material made me realize I could lose weight without having to exercise that much,” one of my injured employees said to me the other day. Simple eating changes accompanied by drinking plenty of water every day can improve health, weight, and skin problems – no matter what your activity level. Being idle because of an injury does not mean that you need to have an idle mind. When attending Health and Wellness Rooms injured employees don’t sit and watch television or get lost in the system – they get moving. Whether it is a walk, stretching or wellness education, nobody is left behind with a tailor made schedule to fit all work modifications. We want your employees to be BETTER, faster!

What could be better than finding out that even though you have an injury you can maintain and/or even improve your habits

The simplicity of having your employees on a modified work status program, coming into the Health and Wellness Room to learn about the injury that they suffer from, and discovering alternative ways to maintain weight and health while incapacitated, is reason enough to be excited that this option is out there for any sized company. I’ve been told by some employees in our Los Angeles Health and Wellness Room that they look forward to coming in after the weekend because they are getting better from stretching, walking, and maintaining a routine. Not only that, but the forestallment of future injuries is money saved as well. Because we are an advocate for the employer, we are your ally in employee recovery.

Costly Medical Errors – Surgery Is Not Always The Answer

“Potentially preventable medical errors that occur during or after surgery may cost employers nearly $1.5 billion a year, according to new estimates by the Department of Health & Human Services’ (HHS) Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ).”

“In a study published in the July 28 issue of the journal Health Services Research, AHRQ’s William E. Encinosa, Ph.D. and Fred J. Hellinger, Ph.D., found that insurers paid an additional $28,218 (52 percent more) and an additional $19,480 (48 percent more) for surgery patients who experienced acute respiratory failure or post-operative infections, respectively, compared with patients who did not experience either error.”

The authors also found these additional costs for surgery patients who experienced the following medical errors compared with those who did not: More…

Maintaining Your Youth – “Use it or Lose it”

To many people, growing older means that life will slowly go downhill -but it doesn’t have to be that way.  The misconception most have of aging as “a time of gradual loss of function” isn’t necessarily accurate.  While aging is inevitable, loss of function isn’t. Much of the decline in our ability to function at the level of your youth (i.e. walk, run, climb stairs, or even work a physically demanding job) is due to inactivity – not aging – and can be prevented. When it comes to strength, energy, and fitness, the old saying still applies: “use it or lose it.”

The benefits of regular activity have been studied and well documented. Exercise strengthens muscles and maintains joint flexibility. It can lower cholesterol, blood pressure, and the risk of osteoarthritis, and help maintain healthy blood glucose levels. In addition, exercise can also help you lose weight, reduce stress, and improve sleep, digestion, circulation, energy levels and self-esteem. Finally, regular exercise can help you to function better – at home and at the job – and remain independent (as you age) in spite of health problems.

The good news is that it is never too late to start exercising. Everyone can benefit from regular physical activity. But it is older people who have more at stake as they struggle to manage chronic health issues and maintain independence. The people most successful at aging are those who are physically active.  Even a little physical activity can have great benefits for health and well-being.

By “physically active,” the Surgeon General recommends 1-hour of moderate activity (like brisk walking) on five or more days of the week. The 1-hour can be accomplished in one stretch or in a few short bursts. Muscle strengthening and flexibility exercises are also important to a complete activity program. 

As always, it is imperative that you talk with your physician before starting any exercise program. There may be some activities or exercises that you should avoid, and you should know about them ahead of time. On-the-job-injuries also become more common as employees age. For preventative measures, keeping your muscles flexible helps your joints maintain the range of motion (ROM) needed to complete daily activities, while on the job. 

There are many resources out there should you have any questions or concerns about your exercise program. A physical therapist, exercise physiologist or an occupational therapist can help you get started on an exercise program designed specifically for you. Theses professionals have special training in creating exercise routines and can teach you how to do you program correctly and safely.

Lastly, conditioning builds your endurance so that you feel fatigue less quickly and are better able to tolerate prolonged activity -if working a physically demanding job. Conditioning assures that you have enough energy to complete your everyday tasks and those activities that bring you joy to your life, such as golf, a game of basketball and playing with the grandchildren.

Remember, while accidents do happen, being educated on the fundamentals of reducing workplace injuries and having strength, energy and fitness will ultimately prevent further accidents from happening – especially those repeat occurrences.

If you are interested in finding out more about Proof:Positive Consulting and the services we provide, please contact us.

Osteoarthritis, the Result of “Wear and Tear” on the Body?

Knee Injury and Osteoarthritis (OA): The notion is widespread that exercise or intensive physical labor can cause osteoarthritis in the knees and other joints of the body, especially in older people, and yes even those professional athletes who succumb to the constant wear and tear on their bodies season after season. In the wake of the NBA playoff series now underway, several athletes are not battling one another up and down the hardwood, but rather battling something of a different opponent. To date, the NBA injury report reads…

  • 5 knee surgery’s, out for season
  • 5 knee soreness, out 4-6 weeks
  • 3 torn knee ligament’s, out 6-8 weeks
  • 3 knee sprains
  • 1 torn meniscus, out for season
  • 1 torn cartilage

The prevailing idea is that too much pounding can bring about the cartilage loss, and the subsequent pain, that is the combatant OA.  However, a recent study published in the February 2007 issue of Arthritis Care & Research finds that, contrary to popular belief, exercise and a physical demanding job has no effect on the risk of developing OA. More…

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