Are you safe from injury at your workplace?
Injury prevention can help save employers and employees alike a lot of distress and hardship
- Sprains, strains or tears
- Soreness or pain
- Cuts, lacerations or punctures
From a fall down the stairs to respiratory problems, people need medical attention for all kinds of work-related injuries or illnesses. Physician Assistant Carol Bolt is one of the providers at Memorial Regional Health who treats workers’ compensation injuries and accidents.
Workplace injuries can cause physical, emotional and financial hardship for families. For employers, they can cause significant direct and indirect costs such as wage costs, administrative time, training costs, lost productivity and more, according to the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA).
“OSHA believes that adoption of injury and illness prevention programs based on simple, sound, proven principles will help millions of U.S. businesses improve their compliance with existing laws and regulations, decrease the incidence of workplace injuries and illnesses, reduce costs (including significant reductions in workers’ compensation premiums) and enhance their overall business operations,” according to a 2012 white paper published by OSHA about injury and illness prevention programs.
Through WorkWell — MRH’s occupational health program — Bolt and other providers not only treat employees from several companies around Craig, they also provide pre-employment physicals, wellness visits, and go on site and educate work teams on how to stay safe at work.
“A requirement of the coal mining industry is to have workers get regular chest X-rays and education on how to limit exposure to coal dust, and on quitting smoking, as smoking compounds their risk for respiratory problems,” Bolt said.
Workplace injury prevention resources
Employers in the area are encouraged to sign up with WorkWell, a complimentary service provided by MRH that works hand-in-hand with local employers to increase healthcare access and lower workplace injuries and healthcare costs. The program provides a convenient way for employees to receive education on injury prevention, care for injuries when they occur, fulfill workplace health requirements, and distribute general health and wellness information. A 24/7 service line is available to schedule healthcare appointments.
The MRH Medical Clinic providers support the program by performing physicals, treating workers’ comp injuries, and providing education and drug testing.
WorkWell helps oversee the healthcare needs for over 50 companies in Craig, including several of the mines. Healthcare providers also travel to these companies to give safety talks and assessments for how to prevent common injuries.
Bolt said it’s common to see patients with injuries that resulted from a slip or fall at work. In the mining industry, respiratory problems, and back and shoulder pain are common.
“People who work in the mines seem to have shoulder issues from all the above-head work they do, and back injuries from the heavy lifting,” Bolt said.
To prevent injury at work, heed this general advice: Be aware of your surroundings. Wear protective equipment that’s advised or required, even if it’s not always comfortable. Avoid taking shortcuts to get the job done faster. Travel safely. Prepare for extreme temperatures. Stay hydrated. Get adequate sleep. Ask questions if you are unsure how to do a task. Slow down and be careful.
“Don’t hesitate to report injuries when they happen. I’ve seen people be afraid to report health problems because they think their employer will think negatively of them, but if someone waits too long the injury can become chronic, and may not be covered under workers’ compensation coverage,” Bolt concluded.
So much for the models that predicted a cool, wet summer for us here in western Colorado — at least I think it’s hot this July. Ranchers are probably relieved that it’s been a good haying season, and after the cool spring, it’s nice to have a “normal” summer, but it is indeed hot.