The Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) estimates that workplace-related injuries cost businesses nearly $170 billion each year. With money like this at stake, it’s easy to see that keeping your workers healthy through an Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) program could have a very high return on investment. And chiropractors can play a major role in helping companies to manage risk and improve productivity.
An estimated 60 to 70 percent of all workplace-related injuries involve the musculoskeletal system. And of every worker’s compensation dollar spent, 90 cents is used for the treatment of this type of injury. Those professions with the highest rates of musculoskeletal injury are trucking and vehicle operations, manufacturing, nursing and healthcare, and work involving repetitive motion or prolonged periods of sitting.
Gerard Clum, D.C., is a spokesperson for the Foundation for Chiropractic Progress (F4CP) who attended the 2013 American Occupational Health Conference (AOHC). He explained, “Doctors of chiropractic provide a conservative, patient-centered approach that is well-documented for its clinical and economic value. When included as members of occupational health teams, doctors of chiropractic can facilitate and drive reduced costs and better clinical outcomes, as well as improvements in safety, general health and communication.”
Many chiropractors have received postgraduate training in occupational health and applied ergonomics. This makes them particularly valuable as members of an OHS team that may include such other professionals as occupational medical physicians, occupational nurses and human resources coordinators. Preventive medicine and risk management will become increasingly important with the implementation of the new Affordable Care Act, which will be rolling out slowly over the next 7 years.
Among other things, chiropractors are able to provide on-site chiropractic care, including structural care, ergonomic improvements and advice on lifestyle and nutrition. This can contribute to creating lower workers’ compensation premiums, a reduced rate of absenteeism, and greater productivity, worker morale and employee retention. In addition, many chiropractors are certified to provide on-site DOT screenings and physical exams to employees, saving employers thousands of dollars.
Chiropractors are excellent at providing preventive care, which can help save businesses considerable amounts of money. But in addition to the financial benefit, employers benefit further by making their employees feel valued, which increases worker satisfaction. Daniel R. Nobbe, from Fiberteq LLC in Danville, IL, said “There are many benefits from developing a safety culture at your company – none of which is more valuable than employee loyalty. When employees know you care about their personal well-being and you prove that to them in their workplace, it increases morale, engagement, awareness, motivation and productivity.” And including a skilled chiropractor as part of the OHS team is part of this strategy.