The lights went black, and throughout the plant, machines slowly whirred to a stop. Employees who had been productively working stopped. They waited for the familiar glow of the emergency backup lights, and slowly wandered out into the parking lot. Everyone awaited the restoration of power. All work at the plant ceased. The plant engineer worked feverishly to flip the appropriate breakers and restore power to the plant. Plantwide power outages were a daily occurrence. They had started happening every time the central office made coffee. You see, they had bought a new coffeemaker. Every time they brewed coffee, power to the whole plant blacked out. The fix was simple enough: every time they brewed coffee, they just accepted that there would be a blackout. All work would stop until they reset the breakers and “fixed” the issue.
This sounds ridiculous, no? Why would a company accept that they will have a companywide work stoppage every time they brew coffee? They should hire an electrical engineer, trace the circuits, and fix the issues. They should be able to maintain normal working schedules even while brewing coffee. Basic workplace activities shouldn’t generate work stoppages. Would it surprise you to know that a very similar situation exists in many companies?
Traditional Occupational Health
Occupational health is often viewed as “fixing”. An employee is injured, and we have an obligation to treat them, “fix” the injury and restore them to work. We accept that performing basic workplace activities, whether manufacturing items or brewing coffee, will generate work stoppages, injuries, and losses. Sure, there are other health-related tasks we have. Before an employee can be hired, we have to check the box that they had a pre-employment physical. Every year, we have to check the box that the relevant workers have had their hearing checked, or respirators fitted. Fundamentally, most companies’ occupational health programs are focused on getting the power going again after brewing coffee. They are focused on flipping breakers and using reactive care.
Complete Occupational Health
Work Health Solutions offers a better approach. And by better, we mean cheaper. We mean more effective at preventing injuries and lost work. We mean more effective at building happier, more productive employees.
The WHS Healthy Worker Pyramid SM is the foundation to building a happy, healthy, productive workplace. Your company retains the reactive component of treating employee injuries that occur. However, that becomes the last stage of your occupational health practices. It is a stage that you avoid as much as possible. Reactive care is the most expensive and has the narrowest scope of impact (a single employee). It often means that you’ve lost the occupational health battle. You’re already dealing with an injury, often OSHA recordable, and often tied to a lost work incident.
Building the Foundation of a Productive Workplace
At Work Health Solutions, we work with our clients to focus on efforts that are more impactful and cost-effective. We look at proactive care, then use targeted interventions crafted to meet the needs of your workplace and your employees. We then look at objective data to gather injury trends, biometric information, and occupational health screening records. This data is not merely “checking the box” that we’ve completed this year’s surveillance. Rather, this data is critical as an early indicator of potential workplace illness or injury. We work with our patients on educational programs that increase their health literacy. These programs drive better engagement with occupational health and safety practices and programs—further enhancing program effectiveness. Finally, we look to regional and global concerns. We leverage our knowledge base from an international network of clients to identify strategic threats that may be on the horizon.
More to Come
In the coming weeks, we will be sharing more information on our comprehensive approach to occupational health. We will share how one employer had a 260% return on investment by implementing our RIP: Repetitive Injury Prevention SM program. This onsite program eliminated recordable injuries while creating a core of thankful, appreciative employees. These employees, for the first time, contacted their employer and thanked it for offering such beneficial services. If you could save money, would you do it? What about avoiding recordable injuries? How about producing a more productive, engaged workforce? What if you could do all of these at once? If you’d like to learn more, subscribe for more details in future posts. On the other hand, if you’re comfortable with a traditional, reactive approach, just refill the water in your company coffee pot. The next work stoppage is just around the corner.