Near the end of his shift, a warehouse worker lifts a box while talking to a co-worker. He’s distracted and doesn’t remember to lift with his legs. He feels a twinge in his back and by 10 o’clock that night, the pain is so bad he can’t sleep.
Want to know one of the top factors that will determine how soon he is back on the job? Whether he is afraid of losing his job.
The Workers Compensation Research Institute (WCRI) surveyed injured workers in 12 states. It found that trust, or rather mistrust, of the company and fear of losing their jobs was strongly related to workers staying off the job longer. In fact, the study found that “concerns about being fired were associated with a four-week increase in the average duration of disability.” Workers who were afraid of being fired also were much more dissatisfied with the care they received and had more problems with access to care.
There is a very good recap of the study here in CFO Magazine.
Why is this important? Time off the job is a cost to the company and shows up as OSHA recordables. Workers who don’t trust their employers may also be more likely to sue. More importantly however, getting workers back to where they can earn a living is a priority. Good companies understand the value of keeping a productive, engaged workforce. A high level of distrust and workers feeling like the company doesn’t support them if they are injured can destroy a company culture.
What you can do about it. The article gives a number of valuable tips. On the front end, companies should engage workers in identifying hazards and avoiding them as a part of their overall safety program. They should also plan ahead by identifying transitional jobs that allow workers to return to work without risking their recovery.
One of the biggest recommendations is something that is at the heart of CORE Health Network’s approach – Early intervention by trained professionals who can make sure that worker know they will be taken care of with appropriate, timely treatment. Here is what the article on the study says:
Providing a 24/7 nurse triage program to speed treatment for injured employees so they get the care they need as soon as possible. The employee can contact the nurse triage line immediately after feeling a twinge of pain or sustaining an injury that doesn’t require emergency treatment. This service not only ensures the employee gets the right care immediately, it also cuts down on unnecessary visits to the physician when the employee can use such self-care treatments as ice, rest, elevation, or (over the counter Ibuprofen).
If you need more information on the early intervention offered by Core Health Network, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.