Work-related injuries can often mean high costs for you and your business. In most states, it is mandatory for businesses to purchase workers’ compensation insurance. Though it can be added headaches for business owners, workers’ compensation can protect both businesses and their employees from suffering the high cost if an injury was to occur.
Every state has its own workers’ compensation laws and regulations. Much of those regulations are drafted based on the kind of business the policy will cover. For example, Florida workers’ compensation insurance requires any non-construction company with more than four employees to have a workers’ compensation policy through an insurance company. States like Ohio and North Dakota require employers to get coverage through state-operated funds rather than private insurance companies.
While a workers’ compensation policy can protect you financially, a work-related injury still has repercussions on employee productivity, causing general workflow and output to suffer. In 2010, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that there were 3.1 million workplace injuries and illnesses among private industry employers. More than half of them were serious enough to lead to days away from work, job transfers or work restrictions.
As an employer, you know how important employee productivity is to your business. Sickness and work injuries can greatly hinder employee productivity, which can have an adverse effect on your business’s performance. There are a few things that you can do as an employer to help educate your employees on how to prevent minor injuries from happening in the workplace.
Of all work-related injuries, back injuries are the most common type of injury often resulting from heavy lifting, stress, uncomfortable desk setups or long periods of immobility. Making small adjustments to the office setup and encouraging your employees to do simple stretches and exercises can greatly reduce the occurrences of back-related injuries.
If your employees mainly work in an office, immobility and a bad desk setup are the biggest threats to developing back pain. Here are some ideas on how to improve office conditions to reduce the risk of injury.
- If your employees sit behind a desk while at work, urge them to get up and move every once in a while. Sitting in the same place puts a great deal of stress on the discs and joints of your lower back. Stretching, walking or even standing for a small period of time can help relieve your back pressure.
- If your employees stand for long periods of time, allow them to take sitting breaks or provide them with a small stool to prop their feet every once in a while. According to Discovery Health, putting one foot up on a small prop helps reduce the pressure on your lower back. Ask your employees to prop their feet, one after the other for a few minutes throughout the day.
- You can invest in adjustable desk chairs, ones that are designed for back support. Or, you can ask your employees to bring small, cylinder-like pillows and use them between their lower back and the chair to take the stress off the back.
- Urge your employees to set up their desks to help them relax their posture. Computer monitors should be high enough at eye level that an employee doesn’t have to strain their neck up or down to see the screen. If your employees are on the phone for long period of time, invest in headsets that will help relieve neck pain from holding the receiver between the head and the shoulder. If you want to truly make a comfortable workplace for each employee, consider hiring an ergonomics consultant who can optimize a workstation to each employee.
- Lastly, address workplace stress. Stress is a major contributing factor to back pain, and small stretching and exercise can go a long way to alleviate the pain. Do you have a company gym discount? Maybe a game room or an exercise room in the office? Set up workplace yoga or a stress-free zone where employees can go and relax for a moment; it will go a long way when it comes to back pain.
There are just a few ideas of small, pain-free adjustments that you and your employees can make around the office to help prevent work-related back pain. In turn, fewer injuries can go a long way in saving you money on your workers’ compensation policy and reducing employee downtime due to hindered productivity.