Working to reduce your workers' comp insurance mod rate – and therefore your premiums – means working to reduce your injury rate. Targeting injury types with the highest incidence rates is the most sensible place to start. Sprains, strains ,and exertion injuries rank high on that list, accounting for about one third of the top 10 disabling workplace injuries as presented by the 2014 Liberty Mutual Workplace Safety Index.
Preventing these workplace injuries will put a sizable dent in your overall injury numbers, thus lowering your mod rate. Here are three tips that can help.
Hire More Capable Employees
Matching the physical capabilities of the individuals you hire to the physical demands of the job is a very effective means of preventing workplace injuries. Workers who can handle their jobs with ease are much less likely to suffer sprains, strains, and exertion injuries than those who struggle to perform the essential functions of their positions.
The most efficient means of ensuring that the workers you hire possess the physical capabilities necessary for safe and efficient workplace performance is pre-employment Physical Abilities Testing (PAT). A well-designed PAT program offers accurate and objective evaluations – based upon a detailed job demands analysis – of the ability of employment candidates to meet the physical demands of the specific jobs for which they are being considered. This allows employers to screen out candidates who are not a good fit for these jobs, reducing risk of workplace injuries.
Change or Modify the Way Work Gets Done
Among the chief underlying causes of work-related strains, sprains, and overexertion injuries is poor workplace ergonomics. Common ergonomic issues in the workplace as defined by the OSHA include:
- Repetitive motions or tasks
- Forceful exertions, including heavy lifting, pushing/pulling, and controlling equipment or tools
- Extended time spent in awkward postures or the same posture
- Prolonged, localized pressure to a body part
- Excessive vibration from machinery or tools
Professional workplace ergonomics assessments can identify any ergonomic issues that are placing your workers at high risk for strains, sprains, and exertion injuries. Based on those assessments, job modifications can be introduced to improve workplace ergonomics, reducing physical stress on workers and aiding in preventing workplace injuries related to that stress.
Change the Worker in Terms of Work Habits and/or Health
Frequent and comprehensive safety and ergonomics training for workers and supervisors can help reduce the risk of sprains, strains, and exertion injuries. Regular training sessions can teach employees about the importance of safer work habits, including good body mechanics and proper use of safety equipment. Training also ensures that your employees are well-acquainted with your company's safety policies and procedures and are reminded of them regularly to help prevent them from becoming complacent about work habits and safety issues.
Effective wellness programs can help employees become or stay healthy. Employees who are out of shape or have underlying health issues can be more prone to workplace injuries, so offering help in maintaining a healthy lifestyle – and strongly encouraging employee participation – can offer some benefit in preventing workplace injuries.
Rather than implementing only one of these strategies at a time, using PAT, a workplace ergonomics program, and solid employee training programs in tandem will garner the most gains in workplace safety – effectively helping you lower your mod rate more quickly.