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In House Programs To Prevent Injuries Among Hospitality Workers

Posted by Jennifer Wright on August 28, 2015

In House Programs To Prevent Injuries Among Hospitality Workers http://blog.onsite-physio.com/workplace-wellness-programs/in-house-programs-to-prevent-injuries-among-hospitality-workers @onsitephysio

Preventing injuries is a great way to reduce your worker’s comp claims. More importantly lowering injuries creates a happier harder working healthy staff. Preventing injuries in-house is a top down program. It must be not only created by managers, but also supported and nurtured through monitoring and progress metrics.

Risk Management

The first step is evaluating where your staff is right now. A physical evaluation should be included in the hiring process. This sets a beginning bar and highlights risk areas right off the bat. 

A test can be performed to make sure that a worker is physically able to do the job they are being hired to do. It’s called the Functional Capacity Evaluation (FCE). This test is given by a medical professional frequently a physical therapist. It is systematic evaluation of the employee’s ability to perform job functions. 

These tests identify: 

  • Those who are not physically able. (Even if they have prior experience in the job.). 
  • Those who are or could be physically able with some training to correct how they are performing the job. 
  • Those who are at risk of injury. Either from the way they are performing the tasks or from their general health/life-style.

Testers can also use the opportunity to correct posture and lift techniques etc…

Another simpler test is to perform x-rays. X-rays can show any risks or possible pre-existing injuries that might worsen during normal work. The validity of the x-ray test is still under debate. However, showing an employee their results can increase awareness of the risk of injury and make them a more careful and diligent worker. 

Exercise

Exercise has been found to reduce the instances of back pain for workers in labor-intensive jobs. One study found that pre-stretching before a task can reduce the risk of muscle strain.

One major hotel chain has piloted a daily exercise program led by supervisors and managers. Supervisors give tips on wellness and on ergonomic techniques relevant to job duties. The focus is on making the exercises clear, engaging and fun for all involved.

Wellness

Wellness programs go in and out of vogue, but the benefits speak for themselves. For a program to be effective, it must be relevant, attractive, and motivating for participants. 

It should include: 

  • Health education
  • Personalized advice
  • Skill development 
  • Promotion of responsibility through partnership in the process.

Managers

No program of change is going to work unless the managers are involved with the process. A key factor in implementing any of these suggestions is getting the managers onboard. Educate train and motivate the managers responsible for running the programs. Injury prevention will only work if the processes are continued and practiced consistently. 

Behavior-based injury prevention

Doing a task in a way that’s safe and ergonomically correct can prevent workplace injuries. However, changing behaviors is a long-term task. Behavior modification can only be achieved with consistent and long-term education and reinforcement. Everyone from the top down must enforce these changes in order for them to stay in place. There should be: 

  • Clear directions
  • Specific goals
  • Employee rewards/appreciation
  • Engagement
  • Measurement against goals

Personalized training for employees

You should have individualized communication with employees about their particular risks, including how to avoid or reduce them. Educate employees in the following areas: coping strategies, ergonomics, material handling. 

Specific training for each job function can prevent musculoskeletal back injuries. It can also make employees more aware of the risks of their job, and the potential for injury even while doing the most innocuous of tasks. This is not to make them afraid of doing their job. Only to instill a healthy awareness and understanding so they pay attention to the safer methods and procedures.

Track your results

If you don’t track your progress as you make changes you won’t know what works and what doesn’t. Keep track of injury rates, severity and instances. You should also track employee progress toward fitness goals. Keep your staff in the loop too. Making it their goal makes it personal which can help motivation.

Working in the hospitality industry is physically taxing. There are many risk factors to consider when trying to prevent injuries. But if you keep your eyes open for patterns and utilize some or all of these techniques you’ll see results in your numbers. 

You’ll also see results in your workforce. Taking these steps doesn’t just emphasize saving WC claim money, it also shows a concern for your employees. When your workers see that you care about them staying safe they are more likely to stay on the job, and work better for your company.

Housekeeper in a hotel who is happy about her return-to-work rates

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