Hit pause on recordables with a worksite prevention program

[fa icon="calendar'] Jun 22, 2017 11:48:46 AM / by Deborah Lechner

Although the new recordkeeping requirements for workplace injury and illness set forth by the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) have been delayed until further notice, keeping a close eye on workplace injuries means employers will be ready when the changes take effect.

A recordable, as defined by OSHA, is any work-related injury or illness that that requires medical treatment beyond first aid, as well as one that causes death, days away from work, restricted work or transfer to another job, or loss of consciousness.

Fortunately, the overall frequency of recordable injuries has been on the decline in recent years. According to the most recent data from the U.S. Department of Labor, there were an average of three recorded workplace incidents per 100 workers in 2015. That’s down significantly from 2003, when there were five recorded workplace incidents per 100 workers.

To make sure your company stays well below that national average of recordables, it’s important to identify and prevent one of the main causes of workplace injury: musculoskeletal disorders.  Musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) accounted for one-third of worker injury and illness cases in 2013, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

The good news: most MSDs can be identified and treated through a worksite musculoskeletal first aid program before they develop into a serious injury and a six-figure expense for your company.

MSDs are caused by fatigue from employees performing tasks that require repetitive or awkward motions and strenuous lifting. MSDs can be the result of a single very strenuous motion or task.  But often they are not just a single event; they are the result of cumulative trauma compounded over time. Lifting heavy supplies with improper technique or constantly overreaching on the assembly line can be damaging to an employee’s muscles and eventually lead to a MSD.

Implementing a worksite musculoskeletal first aid program that’s proactive in early reporting of excessive fatigue or discomfort can make a huge difference for the physical health of employees. It’s also less expensive for the employer, improves productivity and avoids serious injury.

However, there is a common misconception that proactive programs that address potential MSD cases could increase recordables. This is actually untrue — the identification and improvement of fatigue and discomfort don’t count as a recordable. And they can often be effectively managed through OSHA-compliant first aid interventions like massage, applications of heat and cold, kinesio taping, and ergonomic workstation evaluation and modification, which will not convert into a recordable medical treatment.

By addressing musculoskeletal complaints early, recordables can be decreased. At ErgoScience, we send trained professionals who know the difference between a first aid intervention (not recordable) and OSHA-defined medical treatment (recordable), physical therapists, athletic trainers or exercise physiologists to the worksite to deliver the OSHA-compliant musculoskeletal first aid. They can concurrently observe employees in their work environment and make recommendations to correct technique, improve work posture and form exercise plans so that their physical work is made easier and safer. Worksite prevention programs are an effective way to make your employees work safer while saving your bottom line from costly workplace injuries. If you’re interested in starting a worksite prevention program, contact ErgoScience to get started today.

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Topics: Workplace Safety, Injury Prevention, Workplace Wellness

Deborah Lechner

Written by Deborah Lechner

Deborah Lechner, ErgoScience President, combines an extensive research background with 25-plus years of clinical experience. Under her leadership, ErgoScience continues to use the science of work to improve workplace safety, productivity and profitability.