Creating a safe and injury-free work environment
Injuries happen on the job site every day. This is the reality of most industrial companies.
Creating a safe and injury-free work environment is critical to the safety of your employees as well as to the long-term success of your business.
Obviously, Workplace Health and Safety policies and regulations play a significant role in implementing health and safety practices in your workplace.
But what if your company went one step further?
What if you shifted from a reactive approach of injury prevention to a PROACTIVE work environment?
Let’s consider Cater Care, a contract catering company that offers catering services, accommodations, and facility management services to various industries in central and remote locations across Queensland.
Mining and onshore oil and gas are often the industries they service within the resource sector.
Due to the nature of the work, kitchen-based injuries are often at the top of the list for significant occupational risks and hazards.
Slips, falls, burns, cuts, and abrasions are commonly reported injuries. Add in injuries to the trunk, wrists, forearms, and shoulders, and you have a recipe for lost time due to employee injury, costly compensation claims, and reduced company revenue.
Cater Care was eager to explore new solutions to counter the increase in costs related to safety and injury-related incidents.
They realized that the impact of injury was detrimental to the success of their business, particularly the challenge of re-introducing injured and rehabilitated workers back to their remote work locations.
In 2012, Cater Care was invited to participate in a voluntary program aimed at reducing workplace injuries by developing improved systems for workplace health, safety, and injury prevention.
The Injury Prevention and Management program or IPaM is a joint effort between Workplace Health and Safety Queensland and WorkCover Queensland that specifically teams up with employers that have a high claims frequency as well as those that have had WorkCover premium rates capped at twice the industry rate.
IPaM worked closely with Cater Care to help them improve their systems for injury prevention, safety, rehabilitation efforts, and employee return-to-work preparations.
Cater Care’s Solutions
One of the most significant changes they made was to create a Care Services team that focuses solely on the support of injured workers.
As the central point of contact, the team is responsible for supporting those employees who have been hurt in the workplace as well as facilitating the successful return of employees back to work after an injury.
One of the key components of their services is to promote the health and well-being of the employees after they have sustained an injury.
With the help of IPaM, Cater Care also saw the need to shift their injury management culture to one that was working towards positive outcomes. For example, they modified company language to reflect this approach.
In company literature, the term ‘injury management’ was changed to ‘work capacity management’ to help promote a work environment of what you CAN do after an injury rather than focus on what you can’t.
Involving employees in their solution was also an essential component of their proactive approach.
Acknowledging that every worker has a right to work safely in their job and trusting that they can be part of the solution through staff surveys and feedback has been paramount to Cater Care creating a work environment that values the health and safety of its employees.
Furthermore, workers are encouraged to come forward when they are experiencing even the smallest ache or pain. This helps ensure early intervention and continuity of care.
For those who have already been injured, supporting and encouraging workers to remain on the job is also a priority.
Whether it means matching them with suitable duties on their original job site or finding them work at a host workplace, every measure is considered to ensure the injured worker can work in some capacity.
What were the Results from the IPaM program?
Cater Care was keen to implement and follow through on many of the strategies they created with the help of the IPaM program.
As a result of these proactive strategies, Cater Care has seen:
- Increased reporting of early injury symptoms which led to the reduction of injury severity
- 21% increase in injured employees remaining on the job
- 16% decrease in workers’ compensation claims
- Reductions in employee turnover, recruitment and re-training, and wages from workplace injuries
What Can IPaM Do For Your Company?
The IPaM program has worked collaboratively with more than 900 employees in Queensland to help them improve and manage their safety processes in the workplace.
By teaming up with IPaM, you can expect to explore the opportunities for improvement needed in your workplace to ensure safety and well-being for your employees.
IPaM goes one step further than most traditional systems of risk assessment by including the actual workplace culture and how it affects the morale and productivity of an organization.
Some of the benefits you can enjoy with a partnership with IPaM are…
- Improved injury prevention and safety management systems
- Integrated rehabilitation and return-to-work arrangements for injured workers
- Employee participation and involvement in implementing safety systems
- A reduction in insurance premium rates
- Most importantly, a decrease in workplace injuries and accidents
For more information on how IPaM can work for you, please visit https://www.worksafe.qld.gov.au/injury-prevention-safety/injury-prevention-and-management