Musculoskeletal claims; why it’s just not working
I love opening mail, always full of postcards from friends abroad! … Ha! Not really! More like bills, bills & more bills! The last one from my Income protection mob, stating the number of IP claims has doubled since 2011, hence my premium has soared. [insert angry face] It really ‘gets my goat’ because most Musculoskeletal injuries can be avoided with the right embedded knowledge and guidance.
According to AIA Australia, the number of claims relating to Disorders and injuries of the Musculoskeletal Systems and connective tissue has risen 220% since 2011.
A staff member ‘out of action’ due to injury, can lead to costly compensation claims, extra workload of existing staff & HR Department issues. According to www.safeworkaustralia.gov.au, most recent data shows work related injury and illness cost the Australian economy a staggering $61.8 billion. That’s a lot of cashola coming off the bottom line!!!
So what is going wrong?
It sounds a little something like this “Stand-up desks are best”, “no try a ‘hot desk’ office”, “sitting down is the enemy! But maybe not with this ergonomic chair”, “haven’t you heard walk & talk meetings are the way of the future?”, “let’s revisit workplace practice, manual handling, process/procedures”, meeting after meeting after meeting … AAAARRRGGHHH!! … enough already!!
It seems we are trying everything & anything but stress and musculoskeletal claims are up. (I mean seriously up!) and this figure is on the rise, heading north … and fast! It’s about time to reinvent the wheel before it gets away from us … this rolling stone ain’t gathering moss.
So what does the solution look like?
First, we need to acknowledge that where injuries eventuate is not always where they originate. Injuries can occur anywhere; at home, work, the gym, the sports field. In work claim instances, there can be a big question mark as to whether there was already a ‘niggle’ in the shoulder/back/neck and the work task simply ‘broke the camels back.’ This can lead to frustration on the employers behalf and feelings of resentment from both sides. [It can be a slippery slope!]
The truth is, you don’t have any control over an employee putting in a work-cover claim for an injury they received whilst helping their mate move a couch.
If you gain control over what you can control ie; honing environmental factors, improving task efficiency using fail-proof systems and educating workers on body awareness and how biomechanics work, they will know how to perform their work tasks safely… along with move their mates couch and lift their kids correctly. [Goodbye injuries, see ya Work claims!] I can’t stress enough, the importance in communicating and co-operating with the workers who are performing these tasks daily. They need to be interested and engaged to see an embedded cultural shift take place. If executed correctly, this will lead to improved employee satisfaction and increased productivity whilst negating body stressors which potentially eventuate in a claimable injury or incident at work.
Organisations can reduce Musculoskeletal injuries by consulting with experts to educate workers, streamline task processes & environment design which will alleviate the ‘blame game’ often involved in workers compensation claims.
The collaboration of a risk management assessor (Amy Towers from Risk Collective) and a Musculoskeletal expert (such as myself!) is a perfect fit to ‘cover all bases’ and facilitate framed assessment, strategy & planning sessions, working together with upper Management for commitment to change and giving employees an insight to issues on ground level, inspiring a positive, lasting attitude on change.
For further information on how we can help reduce Musculoskeletal claims in your workplace, call Hayden Green on ph: 0400 391 559 or email firstname.lastname@example.org