In our first discussion of the WHS Healthy Worker Pyramid SM, we took a very high-level view of the entire pyramid. We also talked about how many companies focus their occupational health efforts solely on the first level of the Pyramid. The first level is reactive care. Reactive care is focused on “fixing” an issue that has already occurred.
Reactive Care is Costly
Reactive care is the most expensive part of occupational health, and has the narrowest scope of impact. You are working to heal a single injury on a single employee. Reactive care also means that you’ve had a workplace injury. That likely means that you’ve had an OSHA recordable incident. It means you’ve lost time and productivity. It means you’ve incurred costs.
Reactive Injury Care Costs You and Your Employees
From the employee side, they’ve suffered the pain of the injury and the related loss of work. They have some illness or condition that keeps them from doing the things that they want to do.
Reactive care is legally required—whether you provide it onsite or you allow employees to go offsite for their care. These all sound like negatives—but reactive care is still a critical component of our services.
When we look at providing reactive care, our goal is to restore the employee to a safe and productive state as quickly and efficiently as possible. As occupational health providers, we are obligated to provide the highest level of care possible. However, we also recognize our unique role as a service provider to the company. We work hard to ensure that employees can rehabilitate or treat their injuries in a responsible and cost-effective manner. We work to build trusting relationships with the employee/patients we treat. Our goal is to restore them to work in a fashion that is respectful of their unique needs and challenges. Our occupational health services are sought out by employees because of the level of service and care that they receive. This is the case even in states that cannot mandate workers compensation treatment at a specified location.
Stop Reacting, Start Predicting
We also view reactive care as an opportunity to launch proactive responses. We evaluate each workplace injury or issue that generates a need for reactive care. We work with your environmental health and safety team to discuss ways of preventing the injury from recurring. Our clinicians evaluate the frequency of occurrence of each type of injury, the mechanism of injury, and the area(s) where injuries are occurring. The goal is to gather data with a focus on prevention. We look for ways to intervene earlier in the process, prior to a recordable injury occurring, where we can provide care to an employee and keep the reactive stage from occurring. If we find that employees are suffering repetitive strain injuries, we may suggest implementing our RIP ProgramSM—Repetitive Injury Prevention. This program uses proactive therapies, accuscope treatment, and trigger point modalities to prevent recordable injuries. By treating at the preventative/first-aid level, we avoid loss of productivity, injury, and OSHA recordables.
As we said, reactive care is required. But employers shouldn’t treat reactive care like a chore that they dread. Employers should look for ways to do it better, more effectively, more efficiently. They should look for solutions that “fix” the current issue. Our clients partner with us to improve overall workplace outcomes. We work with our clients—and their employees—to enhance productivity, to restore worker health, and to build a happier, more cohesive workplace.