Injury Prevention: How To Reduce Common Workplace Injuries
What Is Injury Prevention At Work?
Injury Prevention is the act of seeking out ways to prevent, reduce and eliminate injuries in your workplace. It’s a proactive mindset rather than a reactive approach, and it’s something that we at Bodycare take pride in specialising in.
We have all heard the phrase “prevention is better than cure”. While there are effective “cures” for musculoskeletal injury i.e. physiotherapy treatment, surgery and so on, they are often extremely costly and leave the injured person or business feeling exceptionally light in the pocket. Often, the so-called “cure” is a band-aid to the symptom of a deeper-rooted problem.
Adopting a preventative approach to avoiding workplace injuries requires a strategic mindset, some lateral thinking, a healthy dose of collaboration with co-workers and the courage to try to do things differently.
An injury prevention model is about swimming upstream and implementing programs that will pay significant cultural and financial dividends for years to come.
The Cost of Workplace Injuries
Injuries in the workplace cost the Australian economy more than $60 billion a year. That’s a lot of money for something that could very well be avoided.
The problem with how many businesses handle workplace injuries is that they opt to fix rather than prevent them. It’s easy to fix a problem when it’s injuring your employees but harder to identify that problem before it causes an injury. In the same way that you service your car to prevent an accident, you should be servicing your workforce. The cost of preventing an injury from happening far outweighs the cost of fixing an injury that has already happened – mostly due to costly worker compensation claims.
Within the first 12 months of introducing Bodycare’s Onsite Injury Prevention Services to Fuchs Lubricants, the number of workers’ compensation claims for sprains and strains had decreased by 79% which represented a cost saving to the business of over $460,000. Similarly, Amcor reported a saving of $338,270 in insurance premiums after utilising Bodycare’s services, and Metcash saw a wage saving to the business of $116,337 at the Victorian DC.
Onsite Injury Prevention and Physiotherapy
If reducing premiums, keeping your workers healthy and taking a proactive approach to workplace safety are priorities for your organisation, then implementing an onsite early intervention injury prevention and onsite physiotherapy program is an investment that you may wish to consider.
Having a tailored injury prevention plan that addresses the musculoskeletal injury risks of your organisation can result in significant reductions in LTI’s, MTI’s, Workers Compensation Claims and their associated costs. For example, businesses operating in the logistics or manufacturing industries may benefit from having an onsite physiotherapist who can provide early intervention hands-on treatment for niggles, aches and pains while also recommending programs and initiatives such as functional conditioning programs, functional movement screens, pre-shift warm-ups, or tailored manual handling training to prevent future injuries from occurring.
On the other hand, white-collar organisations such as advertising or accounting firms would benefit from regular ergonomics assessments, as well as attending educational sessions delivered at lunchtime to address larger health issues like the importance of exercise and stress management.
Injury Prevention Is Not Just Physiotherapy
Injury prevention is more than just physiotherapy. Whilst physiotherapy makes up a component of injury prevention, it’s only one piece of the puzzle. Take manual handling training, for instance. Learning how to identify harmful lifting risks at work and correctly moving items around the workplace can be just as important as hands-on treatment in reducing the likelihood of a minor niggle becoming a major injury.
At the core of this belief system is that being proactive is the answer to injury prevention. Organisations shouldn’t accept the “break-fix” model of waiting for an employee to be injured before sending them off for treatment. It’s already too late then. Organisations should analyse root causes, develop programs to lower risk profiles and act fast to minimise harm, in conjunction with system and process improvements.
The Benefits of Preventing Workplace Injuries
As well as the numerous financial benefits, injury prevention can do wonders for a company’s culture. Amcor workers, for example, developed improved body awareness, strength, manual handling techniques and increased longevity for their ageing workforce after Bodycare’s intervention. The culture of the workforce shifted to one where early reporting of injuries, risks and health concerns are encouraged and facilitated by the site presence of the occupational physiotherapist.
It’s time that Australian businesses stop fixing injuries after they occur and start preventing them from happening in the first place.