The best offense is a good defense… Or so the sportscasters will tell you. While that may or may not be true in sports, it’s certainly true in business.
As a small business owner, you provide workers comp insurance to protect yourself, business and employees.
You’re probably prepared for some of the curveballs that winter will force into your business. Commuting times can increase. Power can go out. Illness can interrupt more than productivity.
Add that on top of the other challenges that don’t disappear, and winter work problems won’t hibernate. Neither will your business’ demands.
Availability is the Best Ability
Or so the coaches will tell you. There is truth to that in both sports and business. To deliver for your customers, you need your staff available.
Some workplace absences cannot be prevented. But many can.
Do you want to get in front of some of the most common workplace injuries? The team at The Hartford, one of our providers, has analyzed a year’s worth of workers’ absences to determine the top 10 most preventable absences.
Top 10 Preventable Workplace Absences.
10. Generalized anxiety disorder is defined by WebMD as: “marked by excessive, exaggerated anxiety and worry about everyday life events for no obvious reason.
People with symptoms of generalized anxiety disorder tend to always expect disaster and can’t stop worrying about health, money, family, work, or school.”
According to research done by SilverCloud Health, 10% of workers reported having severe symptoms, and 55%, are experiencing mild to moderate distress.
What can you do to help? Consider how you can help eliminate the stigma surrounding mental health. Give your employees the space to communicate how they are actually feeling.
You can also encourage employees to utilize their benefits to care for their mental health.
9. Shoulder sprain: This is a tear of shoulder ligaments, the tough bands of fibrous tissue that connect bones to one another inside or around the shoulder joint.
Surprisingly, this injury is more common among employees under the age of 50 than over.
What can you do to help? Some jobs require mobility that cannot be avoided. Review your application process and ongoing testing to ensure people are physically able to perform the tasks necessary for their job.
Further, consider how you may incorporate technology and other devices to help with pushing, pulling, and lifting.
8. Lumbar sprain: This is caused when ligaments (the tough bands of tissue that hold bones together) are torn from their attachments in the lower back.
What can you do to help? Much like issues with shoulder strains, you can review your application process and ongoing testing to ensure people are physically able to perform the tasks necessary for their job.
You can also ensure your training programs cover proper lifting techniques. Warming up and stretching ought to be a normal part of the process.
7. Hernia: a condition in which part of an organ is displaced and protrudes through the wall of the cavity containing it. This often involves the intestine at a weak point in the abdominal wall.
What can you do to help? If you guessed that you should review your application process and ongoing testing to ensure people are physically able to perform the tasks necessary for their job – you get a point!
Beyond this, it may be helpful to encourage overall wellness for your employees. Research shows a strong connection between smoking and poor tissue strength.
6. Carpal tunnel syndrome: a painful condition of the hand and fingers caused by compression of a major nerve where it passes over the carpal bones through a passage at the front of the wrist, alongside the flexor tendons of the hand.
It may be caused by repetitive movements over a long period, or by fluid retention, and is characterized by sensations of tingling, numbness, or burning.
What can you do to help? A coach wouldn’t send a football player onto the field without the proper gear. You shouldn’t send your employees to their workplace without ergonomically appropriate equipment.
Chairs. Table height. Standing desks. Appropriate periods of physical rest. All of these can help ease and even prevent the pain of many issues, including Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.
5. Radiculopathy: is pinching of a nerve root in the spinal column. The pinched nerve can occur at different areas along the spine (cervical, thoracic or lumbar). Symptoms frequently include pain, weakness, numbness, and tingling.
What can you do to help? Reasonable physical fitness and conditioning can help. Proper ergonomics are also beneficial.
Implementing stretching and yoga programs can help mitigate issues caused by radiculopathy.
4. Rotator cuff syndrome: This occurs when the rotator cuff becomes irritated or damaged, resulting in pain, weakness, and a reduced range of motion.
This condition has many causes, including improper reaching and lifting.
What can you do to help? Don’t underestimate the importance of training. It is helpful to utilize technology and assistive lifting wearables for work that requires significant overhead movement.
3. Low back pain: Pain, muscle tension, or stiffness in the lower back area. In 2020, 41% of workers’ compensation low back injuries occurred within the worker’s first year of employment.
What can you do to help? Employees should be trained in utilizing proper lifting techniques. “Lift with your legs, not your back,” should be a common phrase on your worksite.
2. Joint pain: Overly stretched or torn ligament, potentially allowing the bones within the joint to become unstable.
What can you do to help? With so many preventable issues caused by physical impropriety, it may be helpful to encourage, if not offer, gym memberships, fitness, and stretching programs, and other health-related benefits.
Normalize warming up, stretching, and utilizing the tools and technology that take the load off your employees’ backs.
1. Meniscal tear: Damage to the c-shaped cartilage between the tibia and femur in the knee. This is one of the most common injuries causing workplace absences and occurs more frequently in men.
What can you do to help? Wherever possible, limit employee movement to the necessary steps. Encourage movement that avoids twisting, pivoting, and bending from the waist.
Have check-ins and check-ups be a regular pattern with employees. Don’t wait for a formal evaluation to let your employees know you care about them and want them to thrive in their vocation!