1:55 am March 7, 2019

Preventing Injuries in Food Manufacturing Right at the Site

Source: Cory Austin

The food industry faces multiple challenges today in its drive to be efficient, profitable and sustainable. Chief among them are ensuring food safety from farm to table. Achieving regulatory compliance within stringent FSMA rules. And hitting productivity goals while managing waste and risks throughout every step of the supply chain. Just one misstep can have severe consequences, which makes it imperative for companies to avoid distractions that take time and resources away from these key priorities.

Food Industry—High Injury Rates

Unfortunately, worker injuries have always been, and continue to be, a major obstacle. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the industry has one of the highest injury and illness rates. Food manufacturing workers are more likely to be fatally injured than workers in private industry as a whole. They are also much more likely to suffer injuries requiring job transfers or restrictions than injuries requiring time away from work.

A recent study in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine reveals that food industry workers had a 60 percent higher rate of occupational illness and injury than workers in non-food industries, and a lost-time injury rate more than twice as high. Slips, trips, falls, repetitive motions, lifting heavy objects, and being hit by moving objects were common sources of injury.

Growing Trend—Onsite Injury Prevention

These are the reasons behind the growing use on onsite workplace injury prevention programs at food manufacturing and distribution facilities. While all programs produce some results, the very best of the breed have physical therapists (PTs) right in the workplace.

Typically, companies can experience an average return on investment of 3:1 to 5:1 when they institute onsite injury prevention. The average employee’s time away from work can be reduced by as much as 36%, through early intervention treatment which eliminates the need to travel to an off-site facility.

Onsite PTs become familiar, trusted faces to workers and are quickly accepted as full-fledged team members. As workers build relationships with PTs, they become comfortable asking for help and advice early on; most often when a small treatment can take quick care of workplace discomfort before it turns into a debilitating injury. What’s more, PTs will notice when workers are having issues and can walk over to their stations with on-the-spot suggestions. All this can help reduce both the number of claims and the total annual claim cost.

Best of all, it doesn’t take a huge investment of either finances or real estate to have an onsite clinic. Very little floor space is required; an area as small as 8’ x 10’ will do fine. 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.

For more information, contact WorkWell today.

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