Early Symptom Intervention (ESI) programs can improve the overall well-being and productivity of workers. However, many employers face challenges when implementing these programs. In this session at WCI’s 2019 Educational conference, panelists discuss how they have developed and maintained successful ESI programs and share statistics on their return on investment.
Moderator: Robyn Lewis – Regional Manager of WorkStrategies at Select Medical
- Lisa Bosserman – EHS Manager at Lockheed Martin
- Jennifer Archer-Denton – Senior Safety Specialist at FedEx Express
Work-related musculoskeletal disorders account for nearly one million injuries resulting in lost work time. They amount to over $1.5 billion in direct and indirect costs. These disorders include both traumatic onset injuries (sprains, strains, contusions, abrasions) and insidious onset injuries (cumulative trauma, repetitive strain, overuse syndrome). The primary work-related risk factors for employers to address are repetition, force, awkward posture, contact stress and vibration. Identifying and addressing ergonomic risk factors early on can have a positive effect on risk management outcomes and claims costs. ESI programs are one way to manage this challenging issue.
Benefits of an ESI Program
- The goal of any ESI program is proactive prevention. If employees are experiencing discomfort in their every day work, it is a good indication that you may see musculoskeletal injuries in the future.
- ESI programs include discomfort assessments and triage along with first aid, ergonomic risk assessments, job-specific coaching and education. They provide the ability to assess work risk factors on the job in real time. These assessments take into account work and non-work related activities as well as other wellness factors.
- An ESI program can aid in the prevention of OSHA recordable injuries. An employer’s frequency and severity of work-related injuries decreases while keeping employees at work and building their confidence in the employer. This leads to higher levels of employee functionality and productivity through reduced claims.
Obstacles and Challenges in Implementation
- Upper management buy-in. Assuring a return on investment can sometimes be challenging if this is something the company has not done before.
- Operations management buy-in. Convincing operations that the change in the injury reporting process and accountability is valuable can be difficult and will take time.
Key Factors for Program Success
- Set expectations
- Set protocols for all procedures
- Communication – with vendor site manager, employees and managers
- Hire the right health professional for the job
- Consistently listen and take action
- Create a behavioral safety approach to educating employees and management
- Participate in safety meetings