Author, Casey Craig, Account Executive, Rancho Mesa Insurance Services, Inc.
Having played professional baseball for several years, I know the importance of stretching to prepare oneself for the day. My team would stretch when we got to the field, then again before batting practice, and once more before the game started. Most people reserve stretching for sporting events. They forget the importance of stretching before work — feeling they will “loosen up” as the day goes along. However, there are countless ways for employees to become injured and those medical bills can grow all too fast.
While there are things that can be done to try to mitigate the claims after they occur, the best way to save on your premium is to prevent injuries from ever happening. If you can set aside just 5 minutes a day for your employees to stretch their muscles that will be used throughout the day, that could reduce strain and pull claims dramatically.
As recent as 2015, the WCIRB has broken down the most common injuries that occur in the 5474/5482 class codes. 57% of the injuries could have possibly been prevented by allotting just a few minutes a day for stretch and wellness. The most common injuries for painters are to their lower extremities, back, and upper extremities (not including the hand). It is easy to see, that with all the bending down and painting above their heads, cumulative injuries are going to happen if no precautions are taken. An average claim for these types of injuries can cost just shy of $35,000. Having multiple claims of these types can be crippling for a company.
Having employees stretch when they get to the jobsite, and after lunch is the best way to reduce soft tissue claims. Making sure the legs are ready to bend, the back and neck are stretched out, and shoulders are prepared for the work at hand, is as important as anything they will be doing that day.
Your employees may need a little extra energy in the morning, but caffeine reduces blood circulation and can lead to stiffness when returning from lunch. It is important to get the blood flowing again with some trunk twists, toe touches, and arm swings. This will increase blood flow throughout the body. Finally, inflammation can worsen as the day progresses, and having leafy greens reduces inflammation. Providing a healthy lunch can help to build morale and keep that nagging soreness away while increasing productivity.
Rancho Mesa has put together a Mobility and Stretch Program™ for their clients. The program has reduced the number of reported strain and pull claims, and has significantly helped drop clients’ MODs. Please reach out to Rancho Mesa Insurance Services, Inc. with any questions you may have.