Every company has a unique workforce with distinct business needs.
Office-based workers have different needs than say those working in construction or manufacturing. It extends beyond the sector, too. Some companies may attract or recruit more experienced and tenured employees while others do not.
It seems logical, then, that employers need to build workforce safety programs that are as distinct as their workforces. But many still use generic employee safety and injury prevention programs.
“If we know the claims experiences they’ve had, we can also tailor the services to meet what they might need,” Allison Scaia, vice president of Health Services, The Hartford, explained.
“As a leading provider of both workers’ compensation and group benefits, we are able to use data to find innovative ways to mitigate injury risk and help return employees to active, productive lives as a soon and safely as possible after an injury or illness.”
To help achieve this, The Hartford offers injury prevention programs, in partnership with trusted clinical vendors, that can be customized based on a review of claims data. They offer onsite and virtual services, including ergonomic and safety assessments, post-offer employment testing and other programs.
It’s no secret that common workplace injuries like sprains, strains and other musculoskeletal injuries can be costly for companies.
Look at the manufacturing sector as an example. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) found that manufacturing employees experienced 64,930 work-related injuries in 2020 and that their employers paid 88% of costs related to an employee absence. Many of these injuries could have been prevented, the BLS report concluded, if proper programs and training had been in place.
“Many of the injuries could have been preventable, especially common occurrences such as sprains, strains, tears and repetitive motion,” Scaia said.
Preventing workplace injuries should be of utmost importance for companies. Not only do happy, healthy workers have a better quality of life, but they also tend to be more productive at work.
On the other hand, employees who are injured or working in uncomfortable positions may be less productive or have to miss work entirely. This can have a major impact on an employee’s health and quality of life in addition to affecting the company’s balance sheet.
That’s where injury prevention services come in. These tools can help employers prevent injuries before they occur and they can help employees who are recovering get back to work quickly.
“Our goal is to work with employers to find solutions that are optimal for their workforce based on their industry, job profile / nature of work, job site, location and more,” said Scaia.
To help prevent and treat these common injuries, an employer might consider implementing in-person or virtual injury prevention services, including post-offer employment testing, physical ability testing, ergonomic assessments, onsite clinicians or athletic trainers or other services.
One way employers can assess an employee’s safety risk is through physical ability testing. These tests assess the physical demands of a particular job and a worker’s ability to complete necessary tasks safely.
“We work to make sure we understand what a job actually requires,” Scaia said. “When you think about understanding what a job truly physically entails, that will also help make sure that our employers hire the right individuals.”
Another way to improve safety in the workplace is through the use of onsite clinicians like physical therapists or athletic trainers. These folks can help correct any improper or unsafe movements they see while on the job and they can serve as a resource for an employee who may be feeling any pain or discomfort, allowing an employer to intervene before an injury occurs.
“We can make sure that folks are doing the right activities at their jobs. Making sure that they’re physically stretching or reaching correctly,” Scaia said. “If an injury happens, the on-site clinician is able to quickly respond. The medical professional is really able to triage and address whatever situation.”
“If someone’s just having a little bit of pain initially — say they’re on the job site and they’re saying, ‘Oh, my shoulder hurts a little bit.’ That’s a great opportunity to go visit an athletic trainer onsite,” Scaia said.
These injury prevention and response services can go a long way in reducing injury rates and helping workers return-to-work after an injury. Studies have found that onsite Industrial Performance Programs have resulted in a 67% reduction1.
Historically, many employers preferred the benefits of an in-person offering, but the COVID-19 pandemic has proved that virtual options offer a robust alternative. Virtual programming can include stretching and exercise regimens to help workers stay healthy on the job, one-on-one assessments for employees who report pain or discomfort and videos and online safety education services.
The company leverages its years of experience, data expertise and robust technologies to craft injury prevention programs that are tailored to an employer’s unique needs. The dedicated clinical solutions consultants at The Hartford work with employers to create customized programs, including physical demand analysis, which helps them understand the needs of a position and the safety risks it may pose.
If claims data shows that a lot of workers are getting injured in the first year on the job, The Hartford can help implement post-offer testing programs or safety training for new workers, for example.
“We’re relying on the data to really derive what the right services are for the employer,” Scaia said.
Even with the best injury prevention services, injuries may still happen while workers are on the job. If a claim occurs, The Hartford Productivity AdvantageSM (THPA) offers coordinated claims services and absence reporting for employers.
THPA reduces the administrative burden on employers by cutting down the average number of steps in the claims service and reporting process from an average of 55 different steps to 13. The Hartford has estimated that employers who use THPA spend 76% less time on individual claims coordination.
“We’re able to take a workers’ comp claim, and if there’s lost time, we’re able to indicate a leave. That really helps an employer stay and be compliant with FMLA,” Scaia said.
“We’re also able to initiate short-term disability or long-term disability, depending on the situation. That’s really helping the employer, again, making it simpler for them and helping their employees in terms of a seamless experience.”
To learn more about The Hartford’s Productivity AdvantageSM (THPA) services, please visit https://www.thehartford.com/the-hartford-productivity-advantage or http://www.thehartford.com/ips.
1 Unify Health Services. Customers who implement an on-site Industrial Performance Program have reduced musculoskeletal injuries by an average of 30% within the first 6 months and 67% within 18 months
The information provided in these materials is intended to be general and advisory in nature. It shall not be considered legal advice. The Hartford does not warrant that the implementation of any view or recommendation contained herein will: (i) result in the elimination of any unsafe conditions at your business locations or with respect to your business operations; or (ii) be an appropriate legal or business practice. The Hartford assumes no responsibility for the control or correction of hazards or legal compliance with respect to your business practices, and the views and recommendations contained herein shall not constitute our undertaking, on your behalf or for the benefit of others, to determine or warrant that your business premises, locations or operations are safe or healthful, or are in compliance with any law, rule or regulation. Readers seeking to resolve specific safety, legal or business issues or concerns related to the information provided in these materials should consult their safety consultant, attorney or business advisors. All information and representations contained herein are as of March 2022.
The Hartford Financial Services Group, Inc., (NYSE: HIG) operates through its subsidiaries, including the underwriting company Hartford Fire insurance Company, under the brand name, The Hartford®, and is headquartered in Hartford, CT. For additional details, please read The Hartford’s legal notice at www.thehartford.com.
This article was produced by the R&I Brand Studio, a unit of the advertising department of Risk & Insurance, in collaboration with The Hartford. The editorial staff of Risk & Insurance had no role in its preparation.
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