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Cost of Doing Nothing

As we begin a new year, this is the time most organizations are reviewing accident data, workers compensation claims costs, frequency and severity, plus other data that can point to areas of prevention and cost savings.  

Musculoskeletal injuries remain the #1 problem year over year, yet many employers don’t take action to correct the underlying workplace root (or contributing) causes.  

 


Karen W2

Written November 2021

by Karen Wollgast &

Deborah Read MOTR/L

ErgoFit Consulting, Inc.

This is a time of great opportunity to shore up your injury prevention programs to add value and a competitive advantage to your organization. With a small investment, we can help your organization reap a hefty ROI in lowered claims cost (occupational and non-occupational), less absenteeism and presenteeism, lower healthcare spend, increased productivity, improved morale, and higher employee retention.

 

It seems like a no-brainer business strategy, yet some organizations resist investing in musculoskeletal injury prevention out of fear, worry, failed prior half-hearted attempts, lack of having energy to make things better, or thinking that “doing nothing, costs nothing”. Resistance to invest in these programs may include:

  • Fear of what they might uncover.

  • Worry about the costs of equipment.

  • Concern about seeing a spike in claims as employees are made more aware of risks and encouraged to report issues – “the earlier the better”.

  • A prior purchase equipment that is not being utilized or is not providing the solution it was intended for.

  • Often, the perception is that 'doing nothing' is the easiest thing to do, and people mistakenly convince themselves that doing nothing costs nothing. 

 

BUT… doing nothing means that nothing changes, nothing improves, injuries continue or increase, worker compensation costs increase, productivity drops, profit decreases, and employees quit.

Yikes.

It turns out that doing nothing not only gains nothing, but it can also cause harm to the organization.

Instead, embrace the notion that the only way to gain a competitive advantage is to improve! And what better time of year to promote health, well-being, and injury prevention programs?

 

Here are some good starting points for organizations to consider:

 

    • Show employees that the organization cares about employee health and well-being and values them as important to achieve the organization's mission. 
    • Get a handle on purchasing or process change. Make sure that solutions you are investing in are reviewed by all stakeholders ahead of time, including safety, maintenance, and those who will use it. Run a trial or prototype first. 
    • Evaluate different solutions. Designing-out risk is always the #1 goal, but there are other solutions to consider also.  Enlist the help of a safety and health professional to assist you in evaluating solutions, getting user/stakeholder feedback on the trials/prototypes, modifying the solution accordingly, and planning implementation.
    • Don’t skip training.  Develop and provide training on the equipment or process change for employees that includes “why”, hands-on rehearsal time, and any reporting process for issues they may be experiencing. 
    • Measure productivity impacts of solutions.  Workers in pain are less productive.  Even gaining increased productivity in 30% of workers can have a positive impact on operational costs.
    • Consider tracking these metrics:
      • Productivity / cycle time
      • Re-work
      • Quality errors
      • Absenteeism
      • Employee retention / turnover
      • Hiring costs due to turnover
      • Workers compensation claims frequency
      • Workers compensation claims costs
      • Workers compensation lost time, days away from work
      • Overtime costs
      • Temp employee costs
      • Anonymous Employee discomfort levels
      • Employee engagement and experience

While some companies are fearful of “opening Pandora’s Box”, you can’t improve what you can’t measure. Taking the steps to know the current state of every metric outlined above, combined with our Ergonomics Benchmarking Survey, will allow you to intelligently develop your goals with cross-functional teams and stakeholders. Then you can develop a corresponding improvement plan with strategies and tactics and budget, working with business partners to support you meeting your goals. 

Using your metrics, you can tweak the plan every year to keep improving. Since most ergonomic solutions pay for themselves in less than a year, these can be easy wins right out of the gate that will result in you getting more budget. 

And since these are most often categorized as “health and safety” programs integrating wellness can be another big boost for employee morale, absenteeism and productivity. At ErgoFit Consulting, we believe advocating for employee health and wellness goes a long way toward improving an organization’s bottom line and beyond. We take great pride in making organizations better!

 

Reach out to us to find out how we can assist you! 

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