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The Costs of Ignoring Injury Prevention in the Workplace

August 13, 2019
Published 
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Businesses are constantly looking for ways to increase productivity while decreasing business expenses. In order to see positive results in both of these areas, businesses must focus on their most important assets, their people. Workplace injuries cost U.S. businesses more than $60 billion a year according to Liberty Mutual's Workplace Safety Index. Direct and indirect costs related to employee injuries can significantly pressure profit margins, as these expenses have a direct impact on the bottom line. 


Ignoring injury prevention in the workplace can be a catastrophic mistake for any business. Employees deserve to be supported by injury prevention programs; in turn, they are inspired by the investment made in them.  Additionally, if an accident occurs, these programs can also assist during and after, to help workers get back to health and helping the business achieve its objectives. This article will highlight injury prevention program components which can help lower costs related to workplace injuries. These programs give business owners and their employees the support needed to provide a safe working environment, leading to a more profitable business. 


Programs to Help Businesses Lower the Costs of Workplace Injuries


Businesses cannot simply ignore the costs related to absent or improper injury prevention programs as these have a direct impact on the organization's profitability. Below are a few programs which will help organizations lower costs while helping employees bounce back from workplace injuries quicker. 


Injury Prevention Programs

Prevention is the first line of defense. Even the smallest incident or accident can be costly – either in dollars or in employee morale. A mindset and culture of injury prevention produces both significant cost savings and an environment in which employees feel valued. Comprehensive safety training for all company members is the first step in building a robust injury prevention culture.  Education in health and wellness, ergonomics, biomechanics coaching and the promotion of employee fitness are all building blocks to create an environment where injury prevention and employee health are top of mind.  


First Aid Programs

According to OSHA, first aid is defined as medical attention that is commonly administered immediately after an injury occurs at the location where it occurred. It mainly consists of one-time, short-term treatments requiring little technology or training to administer. Examples of first aid can include cleaning minor cuts, treating a minor burn or providing drinking fluids to relieve heat stress.


Businesses should have a first aid program as a part of their overall health and safety system to assist employees immediately after a workplace accident. Benefits of a first aid program include: saving employee lives, reducing the number of employee accidents, reducing recovery time, and assisting in building a risk-aware culture in the workplace. 


Return to Work Programs

A large part of injury prevention is ensuring that after an accident employees are put on a plan to get safely back to work once they are fit for duty. Every day an employee is off duty due to an injury the business loses productivity and incurs extra expenses to keep the business running while employees are out. Return to work programs are a crucial part of any employee injury prevention program. 


Return to work programs set a plan for getting employees the treatment they need in a timely manner, and getting them back to work as soon as they are capable. Return to work programs help businesses retain experienced staff who otherwise may become dispirited sitting at home. Empowering and valuing injured employees in this way decreases employee turnover as well as the likelihood that they will seek legal representation. Also, costs are reduced as injured employees are provided fill-in positions to help the business while recovering to full capacity. Return to work programs give business owners the freedom to find ways to get injured employees involved, which helps both the business and employee morale.


Employee Referral Networks

A great way to help lower the costs of employee injuries is to provide the resources to support workers during their rehabilitation. Businesses can access medical referral networks through their workers' compensation insurance provider which provides employees a network of certified medical professionals who can provide the best treatment to help them return to work.


Referral networks have the added benefit of giving employees options regarding their injury diagnosis and following treatment programs. When an employee is supported by a strong network of medical providers it helps streamline the rehabilitation process to get workers back to full duty. Referral networks also have the added benefit of giving employees the option of qualified second opinions without going outside of the insurance company's preferred network. Employees who have options when it comes to treatment are less likely to feel negatively about their recovery, which again lowers risks such as employee turnover and seeking legal representation. 


Wrapping Up

Healthy businesses strive to create a culture of safety and value, and make workplace injuries one hundred percent preventable. When injuries do occur, the financial and cultural costs can be controlled by implementing programs that provide excellent care and help speed recovery. There is a long list of benefits of implementing programs such as injury prevention, return to work and referral networks. The time is now for business to take back control of their expenses and instill injury prevention strategies across the entire organization. 


If your business is in need of assistance when it comes to workplace injury prevention and care, please contact Work-Fit to see how our services can help your company today!


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