How Can I Keep My Employees Safe and Healthy?

Haley Bass08/21/2017

Occupational medicine, the treatment of work-related injuries and illnesses, is only one aspect of the spectrum covered by occupational health. Occupational health also includes elements from injury prevention to health and wellness to focus on the whole well-being of an employee.

With an effective occupational health program, your employees have access to a variety of resources and services to improve their well-being. Injury prevention programs, urgent care services, general vaccinations, and travel health consultations can keep employees safe and healthy, on and off the job.

Injury Prevention

The leading cause of disabling work injuries is overexertion, including lifting, carrying, lowering, and repetitive motions. These preventable injuries can create more than $15 billion a year in direct costs. An injury prevention program, including employee education on stretching and proper lifting techniques, can help reduce the risk of overexertion, keeping employees healthy and costs low.

An injury prevention program can include:

Exercise guidelines. Regular exercise is not only good for an individual’s health, it also keeps them fit and energized at work, reducing their risk of injury. Health experts, like physical therapists (PTs), can teach employees about the benefits of regular exercise, offer safety tips, and provide examples of different exercises to add to your routine.

Workplace stretching. Without stretching first, employees can easily strain their backs when lifting or moving heavy objects. Certified athletic health trainers (ATCs) and PTs can teach your workforce proper stretching methods to prepare their bodies for physical activity and prevent overexertion injuries.

Back injury prevention. Back injuries can be caused by repetitive motion, improper lifting, or poor posture, and can cause serious harm to an employee’s body. Educating employees on safe lifting techniques can help prevent these injuries.

Ergonomics. Ergonomics is used to modify the workspace to fit the worker, allowing them to comfortably complete their job, whether that means reaching for tools or typing at a computer. An ergonomically designed workspace, like adjustable work stations, can reduce the risk of musculoskeletal disorders and provide safer working conditions for employees.

Urgent Care

When an employee gets sick or injured outside of work, it can still have an impact on their productivity. Whether an employee has to take time off of work, or they come to work sick, potentially infecting coworkers, time is lost and job performance is negatively impacted.

Urgent care services are ideal for common medical conditions, from sprained ankles to the flu. An occupational health program that includes urgent care services can take care of your employees, whether they’re injured on the job or at home. Getting proper, timely treatment keeps your workforce healthy, and at work.

Urgent care center can typically treat:

  • Allergies
  • Asthma
  • Bites and Stings
  • Common Colds and Flu
  • Cuts and Scrapes
  • Fractures (non-displaced: where the bone cracks but doesn't move) and Falls
  • Gastritis or indigestion
  • Headaches – migraine and tension
  • Sprains and Strains

Vaccinations

Keeping employees healthy year-round includes taking proper precautions against the spread of illness among the workforce. Influenza, commonly known as “the flu,” is an extremely contagious respiratory infection that infects an estimated 5% to 20% of the U.S. population every year. The flu can be spread to others up to 24 hours before a person even shows symptoms, and up to seven days after they become sick. One of your employees getting the flu could spell disaster for the rest of your workforce.

An annual flu shot is the best defense against the flu. Sending your employees to a center that provides flu shots is the best way to keep your workforce safe during flu season, and an important aspect of an occupational health program.

Travel Health

Travel-related injuries and illnesses cost employers over $650 million a year in lost productivity costs. If your employees require travel for work, investing in a travel health program as part of your overall occupational health strategy can help decrease potential medical costs and lost-work time.

A travel health program can provide travel vaccinations, medications to prevent or self-treat travel-related illnesses, and customized health and safety information for the destination. A travel health expert will consult with the employee before their trip to ensure every precaution is taken to keep them safe and healthy. This saves you the hassle of trying to coordinate vaccines and health information, and gives your employee peace of mind in their travels.

Through some simple precautions, regular vaccinations, and timely treatment, employers can keep their employees healthy and productive. To learn more about how an effective occupational health program can keep your employees healthy while saving you money, contact one of Concentra’s workforce health experts.