Did you know that over 90%* of the injuries we see from our clients are muscular strains and sprains? Regardless of whether the role involves highly physical movements that involve lifting and twisting, or whether it is more sedentary where an employee is at their desk for long hours of the day, we are all susceptible to these particular types of injuries that can be avoided.
Injuries such as these can really impact staffing numbers, productivity and of course, the bottom line through employees injuring themselves, resulting in their taking leave. The positive news is that businesses can help prevent many of these injuries with some preparation, education and communication.
What we see from our clients
Our intuitive injury management dashboard provides us with real-time data to understand the impact of injuries (specific to each of our Employer’s business) in their workplace the ability to identify trends such as the high prevalence of sprains – the top being lumbar strain in the last 12 months.
The most common injuries we see across all our clients, no matter the industry, are muscular strains and sprains, with the #1 injury type being, a lumbar injury.
It goes hand in hand that the volume of claims associated with sprains and strains dominates the associated claims cost. We typically see that this claim type accounting for over 75% of claim costs. What we also know is that early intervention on these claims results in reduction in the duration and total cost.
Through providing our clients with real-time access to data, we can collectively recognise trends and issues, whether it be a particular claim type that’s happening or a particular work site incurring certain injury types. We also use our quarterly reports to provide insights and observations which enables businesses to concentrate efforts to prevent high occurrence claims, such as lumbar, or whatever is particular to their workforce.
How to prevent these injuries in the workplace
Preparation is key when it comes to managing the risk of injury in any workplace. Top tips for helping reduce such injuries can include:
• Communicate or train employees on the best ways to lift heavy items, encourage them not to lift or move items if they are not trained, advise of any existing injuries or whether they should be undertaking lifting as part of their role. Because it is not always possible for managers and supervisors to be there all the time, it is important for managers to ensure the employees are competent to do the tasks assigned to them and that they carry it out responsibly and safely. Supervisors also need to encourage team members to speak up about something they see may lead to injuries to themselves or others.
• Ensure key messages are around the office with tips for preventing muscle strain or injury, in particular, those pertaining to the lumbar region. This could include using our Poster Designer Tool which has many options for stretches at the start of the day, as well as during the day, to prevent muscle fatigue (for office workers) or how to lift heavy items (for office or manual workers).
• Ensure a safe work environment free of hazards and risks as much as is practicable (see the Health and Safety Act). Hazards that can’t be removed should be controlled.
• Having an injury management plan in place so that all employees know what to do if, and when, they are injured, as well as their entitlements. Early reporting allows the all-important early intervention and Gallagher Basset’s guidance, which our data tells us leads to employees returning to work quicker. This is estimated at more than 10 days earlier than the average ACC managed claim. Although many workplaces have injury management plans in place, it’s important to implement regular training refreshers to remind workers what they should do when injured. It’s also critical for employees to understand their responsibilities and entitlements due to work injury, as well as the ability for alternate duties and their need to comply with rehabilitation plans.
With common injuries having the ability to significantly impact productivity, staffing and also result in injury claims, businesses should start considering how to can take some simple steps now to manage risk.
Companies can help prevent these common injuries in the workplace with education, training, information an injury management plan and a safe work environment. Preventing sprains and strains from occurring will dramatically transform businesses productivity and people wellbeing.
Jo Kant, Gallagher Bassett Client Services Manager, is a Registered Nurse, health and wellbeing manager and advisor who understands the risks of injury in a workplace and how companies can not only safeguard their employees but also their injury costs.
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