1:18 am April 4, 2019

Paper Industry:
How Physical Therapists Reduce Impactable Claims

Source: Brian Boyle, PT, DPT

Forest ProductsAccording to the U.S. Department of Labor, the manufacturing of pulp and paper is one of the world’s oldest and largest industries and in the U.S. alone is responsible for more than 9 million tons of pulp annually and over 26 billion newspapers, books, and magazines.

Unfortunately, the industry is also one of the most dangerous due to large rolls of paper which weigh extraordinary amounts, hazardous chemical exposure, dangerous noise levels, and also falling, rolling, and/or sliding pulpwood loads. Safeguards are a must and the safety of employees is essential because of the hazards present in the workplace.

While typically it is thought that many of the injuries fall outside of what would be considered an impactable claim for physical therapy (think lacerations, chemical burns), there is still much that having a physical therapist(PT) onsite can do for you as an employer.

A physical therapist assessing ergonomic risk can be essential to reduce strain in these situations:

  • Employees using hoses and other tools for start-up and clean up
  • Assessing how employees are accessing workspaces to reduce slips, trips and falls
  • Body conditioning training for your new employees and aging workforce to reduce muscle-related discomfort and pain from working around heavy equipment

Injuries from these scenarios cause impactable claims, which can be prevented. You can also reduce the indirect impacts, including employee turnover, decreased productivity and time off for clinic re-checks.

These are the reasons behind the growing use of onsite workplace injury prevention programs for paper and pulp companies. While all programs produce some results, the very best of the breed have PTs right in the workplace. The average return-on-investment runs 3:1 to 5:1 along with a 36% reduction in the average employee’s time away from work. And the space needed is an area as small 8’ x 10.’

To see how easily you can bring an onsite injury prevention program to your own workplace, try WorkWell’s unique data model (field tested for 5 years, 70,000 visits). It compares your claims data to industry results to pinpoint exactly what services you need.

Building a business case? Contact WorkWell today for more information on these results.

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