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Tracking and Removing Low Back Risk

Identify Risk with RiskTracker

Is a deconditioned workforce resulting in higher risk of injuries in your workplace? Companies that can identify and reduce risk early gain a competitive advantage by decreasing healthcare costs, absenteeism, and time loss expenditures, while improving the health and productivity of employees. InjuryFree has launched a new software program called BioPhysical RiskTracker™ that identifies and reports employees’ biophysical risk based on comparison to healthy population norms. This article will focus on the BioPhysical RiskTracker™ software and how it is helping Kimberly-Clark’s Belmont, Michigan facility identify and eliminate the risk of low back injuries.

Solution for Low Back Risk

Whether in an office or industrial environment, the low back is one of the body’s highest risk areas. The National Council of Compensation Insurance (NCCI) published their Annual Statistical Bulletin in 2010 which determined that the average reported low back claim from data collected in 2006-2007 cost industry over $23,297. The cost of low back claims by itself may be but the tip of the “expenditures iceberg.” For every worker with an open low back claim there can be untold numbers of them working with unreported low back pain that ultimately affects absenteeism and productivity. Companies that identify biophysical risks early and provide solutions on-site to combat these biophysical risks have a tremendous opportunity to save hundreds of thousands of dollars annually.

Identify Risk and Track Progress with BioPhyiscal RiskTracker™

Among the greatest challenges for companies with on-site health and wellness solutions is measuring human risk factors and demonstrating changes in biophysical health over time. On October 24th, 2011, InjuryFree launched a new software program called BioPhysical RiskTracker™ that quantifies risk based on normative data collected for healthy, 18 to 78-year-old workers. Kimberly-Clark’s Belmont, Michigan employees start by completing a subjective job-task survey. They were then invited to take part in an initial assessment that isolates the low back for strength, range of motion, and endurance testing. A risk score was then generated for each participant based on these findings.

Initial Assessment

The diagram below illustrates how BioPhysical RiskTracker™ associates each employee to a specific level of risk. This makes BioPhysical RiskTracker™ a vital tool not only for tracking the changes in employees’ risk throughout employment, but also for measuring the effectiveness of on-site low back injury prevention programs.

K-C Belmont Low Back Study - All Participants

In the first 8 weeks of a new on-site injury prevention program’s operation, 110 Kimberly-Clark employees participated in the initial physical assessment. As the graph illustrates, 83 employees (75 percent) were assigned to either the high, medium-high, or medium risk category based on their individual risk score. Following baseline testing, employees participated in a targeted, low back-specific training program designed to improve strength, range of motion, and endurance.

Follow-Up Results

Of the 110 initial tests, 36 participants have been re-assessed at this time to measure individual changes in biophysical risk. This graph shows the initial risk scores for those participants that have been re-tested. 30 employees of the 36-employee test group (83 percent) were assigned to the high, medium-high, or medium risk categories.

K-C Belmont Low Back Study - Test Group

Follow-up assessments occur between six and ten weeks after the initial test based on each individual’s training program. As you can see in the follow-up assessment graph below, 15 of the original 30 (only 50 percent) employees remain in the high, medium-high, and medium risk categories. The remaining 15 employees (50 percent of the total) have shifted into the medium-low and low risk categories.

K-C Belmont Low Back Study - Test Group Followup

Cynthia Monroe“InjuryFree has relieved me of probably 80 percent of pain and stiffness – pain so bad I could barely walk. I really cannot think of anything that InjuryFree could do better for me. I would also like to thank Kimberly-Clark for caring enough about their employees to provide InjuryFree, it has made a big difference in my life.”Cynthia Monroe, Kimberly-Clark Belmont Employee

Final Outcome

The 104 initial participants will continue with their individualized low back specific training program and be tracked through the risk-reduction process, while other employees at this facility are still being introduced to the program. Our primary goal is to lower the biophysical risk and demonstrate the reduction of risk with the BioPhysical RiskTracker™ software.

Are you interested in implementing an on-site solution that allows you to see your employees’ risk levels for a work-related injury? Contact an InjuryFree team member today by sending us an email or calling (800) 445-3519.

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