Injury: The Leading Cause of Death Among Persons 1-44In 2007 in the United States, injuries, including all causes of unintentional and violence-related injuries combined, accounted for 51% of all deaths among persons ages 1-44 years of age – that is more deaths than non-communicable diseases and infectious diseases combined.Injury Deaths Compared to Other Leading Causes of Death for Persons Ages 1-44, United States, 2007Injury FactsMore than 180,000 deaths from injury each year — 1 person every 3 minutes. Leading cause of death for people ages 1-44 in the US. More than 2.8 million people hospitalized with injury each year. More than 29 million people treated in Emergency Department for injury each year. More than $406 billion annually in medical costs and lost productivity.
Not all Employers are the same and neither are the results of their risk management efforts. High performing companies follow these 5 key strategies.
- First is safety intervention, that is, the attempt to prevent injuries from happening at all (measured as Safety Diligence, Ergonomic Solutions, and Safety Training).
- Second is disability management, the set of strategies to minimize the disability consequences of a given injury or disease arising from the workplace (measured as Disability Case Monitoring and Proactive Return-to-Work Program).
- Third is health promotion, which represents an attempt to intervene directly with individuals to encourage more healthy lifestyles, in the expectation that this will reduce the likelihood of a workplace accident or disease, or reduce the lost work time resulting from a given injury or disease (measured as Wellness Orientation).
- Fourth is the general environment of the firm and the orientation of its management in areas measured as People Oriented Culture and Active Safety Leadership.
- Fifth is the implementation, measurement and adjustment of the first four.
Disability can be managed and those who do it well can expect to be rewarded with lower disability costs, more satisfied workers, higher productivity and, ultimately, higher profits.
Continuous Improvement through Measurement & Benchmarking
The Safety Excellence Model shown below is a framework for applying a safety management system on a continuous basis. It is a process-oriented approach that emphasizes people’s contributions to long-range, permanent solutions for problems. The core requirements for safety excellence are leadership and engagement, safety systems, risk reduction and performance measurement. The benefits of applying this model include alignment of actions with business objectives, more focused effort, and reduced injuries and illness. Together these steps provide the tools for the Journey to Safety Excellence.
via National Safety Council
A study of 5,568 employers in 29 different industries conducted by Michigan State University and the W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research gives some insight regarding injury prevention and loss control. The study findings, issued in 1993, show that employers with the “best” records (fewest workers’ compensation claims) had these common qualities.
- Placed great emphasis on safety and prevention practices;
- Were more inclined to have “open” managerial styles that encourage shared decision making; and
- Had consciously developed disability prevention and management strategies.
Employers are encouraged to look at their individual operations with a critical eye toward identifying ways to further reduce injuries and illness, thus improving working environments while cutting workers’ compensation claims cost. Michigan companies that have successfully reduced workers’ compensation costs have offered the following cost-saving suggestions.
- Set safety goals.
- Create an employee incentive program.
- Improve accident reporting and investigating.
- Make review of injury reports part of the job of top managers (even the very top).
- Review injury reports promptly.
- Have front-line supervisors and employees design injury prevention programs.
- Establish training programs in safe lifting techniques, hand safety and hazard recognition.
- Purchase appropriate equipment along with making other ergonomic changes.
- Develop return-to-work programs in which injured employees are allowed to return gradually, from simulated work settings to meaningful transitional or part-time assignments to full-time duty.
- Write job descriptions that include “physical capability” requirements.
By making an effort to improve the safety of the workplace, companies can reduce their workers’ compensation insurance costs in two ways:
- They can reduce the dollar value of business losses by limiting the severity of accidents or by eliminating them altogether.
- They may make the business eligible for schedule rating credits, premium credits and other incentive programs offered by carriers.
State and federal bans, combined with the arrest of a man accused of being the area dealer, have slowed down Midland County’s ordeal with a new, and very dangerous, designer drug.
Bath salts, a designer drug that has nothing to do with bathing products, is synthesized in overseas super labs then sold through the Internet. It became popular in Europe in 2007. By 2009, it had made it’s way to the United States.
Recently it was the root of an epidemic in northern Michigan, causing Marquette County Health Department officials to declare an emergency public health order when they tallied 13 emergency room visits by people high on the drug from November 2010 to February. There were two deaths.
To often the interest in safety comes after a serious accident which is unfortunate. The key is to treat near misses as if they could have been serious.
Frank Bird, a US safety researcher, discovered that for every serious workplace accident there were 600 near misses. Bird’s findings are shown in the pyramid diagram below.
The total value of health is much more than just medical/hospital & drug costs yet that is what most employers concentrate on. Add to the list absenteeism, disability, worker’s comp, effectiveness on job, recruitment, retention & morale of a workforce. To be effective employers must deploy strategies that keep their employees heathy& safe at home and at work. This will have a huge positive impact on a company’s bottom line.
At no time in recent history has it been more important to rein in workers compensation costs.
With workers compensation markets hardening, medical costs rising and the threat of inflation looming, brokers, agents and buyers face growing total workers compensation costs.
Despite those ominous trends, however, it is possible for workers compensation brokers, buyers and insurers to successfully control these costs by achieving the best claims outcomes possible. This requires close partnerships, advanced claim mitigation strategies and powerful loss control services. In fact, now is the ideal time for workers compensation buyers — collaborating with brokers, agents and insurers — to review their programs to ensure they are doing everything possible to protect employees and bottom lines.
According to Maureen McCarthy, senior vice president and manager for workers compensation claims at Liberty Mutual, the key is to identify and implement program improvements by focusing on the two areas critical to lowering the total cost of risk: managing claims effectively and improving safety.
Ergonomics is the scientific study of people at work. The goal of ergonomics is to reduce stress and eliminate injuries and disorders associated with the overuse of muscles, bad posture, and repeated tasks. This is accomplished by designing tasks, work spaces, controls, displays, tools, lighting, and equipment to fit the employee´s physical capabilities and limitations.
As America’s baby boomers grow older and creakier, some companies are trying to keep those with hard-to-replace skills fit enough to remain on the job.
Harley-Davidson has a gym at its Menomonee Falls, Wis., factory where workers like Mike Snow, above, get exercise routines tailored to their jobs.
To avoid the early retirement of key workers, employers have redesigned work areas to minimize kneeling or awkward twisting of muscles and joints. Others have gone even further. Duke Energy Corp. offers a special stretching program for its line technicians before they start a shift. Harley-Davidson Inc. has trainers stand ready to ice down inflammations between shifts at one of its engine plants.
Given high unemployment, companies could hire young workers to replace older ones, but many jobs require years of on-the-job training. Boomers “can be role models and mentors for the younger folks,” says Joel Lunsford, a training manager at Duke Energy, an electric-power utility based in Charlotte, N.C. It takes about eight years for a line technician—people who make repairs on power lines—to master the main skills needed, he says. The average age of line technicians at Duke Energy is 50 to 55.