The House of Safety
Building a solid safety and injury management program is a lot like building a house, according to two presenters at the NWCDC in New Orleans on Dec. 1.
“If you don’t have a solid foundation to build on, your program will fail,” said Mitchell Chastain, a manager of logistics safety, loss prevention & security with Mohawk Industries.
Starting in 2011, Chastain partnered with Keith Myers, a regional director with BenchMark Rehab Partners, to build a safety program, including post-offer physical assessments coupled with an injury management program.
“If you don’t have a solid foundation to build on, your program will fail.”– Mitchell Chastain, a manager of logistics safety, loss prevention & security, Mohawk Industries.
In the first month of the program, the company conducted four post-offer physical assessments for Mohawk. It now conducts more than 200, said Myers.
Some applicants fail the test and must work with a trainer or physical therapist to become fit enough to work.
The goal, according to Myers, is not to prevent people from working. It’s to make sure people are in the right job and are fit for that job.
“We need to get very specific with these jobs,” he said.
Myers said he takes a sports conditioning approach to getting employees in shape for their work. That includes stretching exercises to improve range of motion.
Communicating clearly that the company is invested in employee safety and health is a key his program’s success, said Chastain.
In the event of an injury, even the hint of one, Chastain revealed something that is quite common in risk management: Sometimes it is the simplest, most common-sense approach that produces the best results.
Chastain said all Mohawk truck drivers have ice packs in their vehicles and are instructed to ice an area of their body when they feel tightness or pain; and to take an anti-inflammatory.
“You would be amazed at how much we have reduced injuries,” Chastain.