Memorial Regional Health Living Well Column: Avoiding injury at work
June 30, 2017
Carol Bolt, a physician assistant with Memorial Regional Health, sees people regularly for injuries that happen on the job. This week she saw a person who fell down the stairs, and last week she treated a miner for respiratory problems. Bolt is one of several providers at the MRH Specialty Clinic and Medical Clinic who treat workers' compensation injuries and accidents.
She finds the most common injuries to be slips, falls and back pain in general, and in the mining industry, respiratory problems, and back and shoulder pain.
"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.
Through WellnessWork s— MRH's employee health program — she 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.
Employers in the area are encouraged to sign up with WellnessWorks, 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.
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"The MRH Medical Clinic providers support the program by performing physicals, treating workers' comp injuries, and providing education and drug testing," said Amy Turgeon, Corporate Health Consultant for WellnessWorks.
A part of Turgeon's job is overseeing healthcare needs for over 50 companies in Craig, including several of the mines. She also accompanies healthcare providers on site to give safety talks and assessments.
"Recently, we had an orthopedist come tour a mine to help determine what the company could do to prevent common orthopedic injuries. We also provide monthly wellness education sessions for companies on different health and safety topics," Turgeon added.
To prevent injury at work, heed this general advice: Be aware of your surroundings. Wear protective equipment that's advised, 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' comp," Bolt concluded.
If you are an employer and would like to learn more about WellnessWorks, call 888-977-3319. Memorial Regional Health Medical Clinic has extended hours to accommodate workers who need to be seen for general health issues or workers' comp injuries. The Medical Clinic is now open until 10 pm on Mondays and Saturdays. Walk-in Clinic hours are as follows: Monday – 8 am – 10 pm, Tuesday through Friday – 8 am – 7 pm, and Saturday – 10 am – 10 pm. To make an appointment, call 970-826-2400.