The job of safety professionals is not to reduce cost, or to reduce injury statistics, but to reduce workplace injuries and illness. By taking care of that singular goal, all of the secondary objectives, including productivity and quality improvements, will be realized as a consequence. This is especially true of ergonomic-related musculoskeletal (MSD) injuries.
MSDs are one of the most costly causes of both short- and long-term pain and disability to U.S. businesses. Once a MSD injury occurs, the risk of the injury becoming a chronic condition rises exponentially. The key to avoiding these costly injuries is to adopt risk prevention strategies that provide an early warning to potential MSD injuries. Most companies provide employees with ergonomic education and awareness campaigns that have helped to stem the prevalence of these injuries, but an important component is missing in many injury prevention programs.
Biophysical Technology Quantifies MSD Risk
Biophysics is the ingredient missing in many workplace injury prevention programs. The technology is quickly gaining ground as a next generation risk assessment tool for ergonomic injury prevention in the 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.
The BioPhysical RiskTracker™ identifies and reports employees’ biophysical risk based on comparison to healthy population norms. By identifying biophysical risk before an injury occurs allows management to implement an intervention process to prevent a full-scale injury from occurring. The intervention can range from job reassignment to a rehabilitation program designed to strengthen and condition soft tissue damage.
A brief case study on the use of The BioPhysical RiskTracker™ at Kimberly-Clark titled
“Tracking and Removing Low Back Risk” graphically illustrates the effectiveness of the tool.
Injury Prevention Funding a Major Concern
In an Occupational Health & Safety benchmark study, it is estimated that more than 90% of companies have trouble getting funding for injury prevention solutions. The authors suggest that the main obstacle to sufficient funding is that many safety professionals are not proficient in the process. An effective funding request must not only state the benefits of the injury prevention initiative, but quantify them through cost-benefit-analysis (CBA) and return-on-investment (ROI). The study authors state, “If funding is not available, the organization is not prepared for success.”
For many company executives, safety and health are cost centers that must be tightly controlled in order to be profitable. But study after study reveal that strategic investments in injury and illness prevention provide a substantial return to the bottom line. (For more information on ROI read our article “Harvard Study: Wellness Programs in the Workplace Reduce Medical Costs”).
More Companies using Technology to Identify Ergonomic Risk
Leading companies are taking a proactive approach to ergonomic injury prevention by using technology to identify and quantify risk as an intervention strategy rather than manage the consequences of an injury after it happens. According to the benchmark study, the use of ergonomic software solutions has grown from 27% in 2009 to more than 50% in 2011.
If you would like more information on BioPhysical RiskTracker™ or would like a complimentary cost-benefit-analysis (CBA) to help with your funding requests, contact an InjuryFree team member now by sending us an email or calling (800) 445-3519(800) 445-3519(800) 445-3519