In 2001, Steris Corp., whose Erie, Pa., manufacturing division makes steam sterilization equipment, implemented a safety accountability training and monitoring system to revamp its post-injury case management program. Four years later, the company has some tangible results.
Workers' compensation claims frequencies have dropped, from 114 in 2001 to 37 in 2005. Costs per claim have also dropped, from $7,842 in 2001 to $1,756 in 2005.
"The key to the success of all of these programs has been the implementation of a safety, accountability training and monitoring system that was begun in 2002 at all levels of management," writes Jon D. Welsh, manager of environmental, health safety and security for Steris, in the application materials for the annual Theodore Roosevelt Workers' Compensation & Disability Awards.
The Steris numbers are worth noting. The 700-employee company, after all, is home to a factory production floor housing big robots, grinding machines, lasers and metal-shearing equipment. The average age of the work force is 54.
As a result of the reforms, Welsh notes, the average lost-time per claim has declined over the last five years, from 118 days in 2001 to 34 days in 2005.
Welsh writes that the company retooled its ergonomics program to address the needs of the older work force and its history of injuries. The result was to identify new light-duty opportunities that could be used to bring employees back to work and improve the ergonomic requirements of workstations.
The key to a successful program is to "divide and conquer," according to Welsh. "Identify your individual hurdles to reducing your losses and attack each one using short- and long-term corrective actions," he writes. Oh, and don't forget the card and the fruit basket wishing injured workers a speedy recovery.
November 1, 2006
Copyright 2006© LRP Publications