I work at a reasonably large employer as an ergonomist and we are in the middle of a thorough overhaul of our ergonomics program. While proactive metrics (leading indicators) will be a big part of what we add to our new program I was hoping to get an idea of what other forum members use for reactive metrics (lagging indicators). Our present program reports (and tracks): Raw number of Lost Time injuries (LTIs) related to Body Mechanics (that’s the term we use for physical ergonomics) Percentage of all LTI’s that are body mechanics Raw Number of Medically treated injuries (MTIs) related to body mechanics Percentage of all MTI’s that are body mechanics Raw Number of minor injuries related to body mechanics Percentage of minors injuries that are body mechanics. The above stats are subdivided between office and industrial jobs
Raw number of LTI’s, MTI’s and Minors by Work group
All these are tracked on a monthly basis.
I recognize that there are people from many juristictions here, so in a broad sense, think of an LTI as an injury that causes the employee to lose at least one entire scheduled shift off work, an MTI as an injury that requires the employee to seek medical attention (a fairly broad definition of medical attention is used) but does not lose time and a minor injury is one where symptoms are reported, but no medical resources are called upon.
I also understand that there will be a difference between what different ergonomists will count as an injury related to our professions specialty and I am not trying to start a debate on that.
One thing that we noticed here was that hours worked, overtime and even number of employees is not consistent on a month to month basis. We have just started tracking the average number of hours worked per LTI and MTI (across the company). I have seen in general safety circles injuries tracked per 200,000 hours (that’s generally per 100 employee work years I believe), but haven’t seen a whole lot else out there.
My question then is, when tracking injuries related to ergonomics (or body mechanics or whatever term you use), how have you been reporting injuries to your clients or your employer?
What form are the metrics and what frequency are you reporting at?
Even if you don’t track something (again we are talking lagging indicators here), what else would you LIKE to track.
Keep in mind that we are a unionized environment and some information we would simply not be allowed to track without great resistance (like injuries relative to fitness level or age)
Thanks in advance for your thoughts
I work in Healthcare and we use 2 tools –
1. Workers Comp costs and 2. OSHA reporting parameters for reporting
We look at: Lost Days and Restricted Days from OSHA
OSHA Qualifies what meets the requirements as far as medical attention…
So a simple first aid visit, with no lost or restricted time would not show up on the log or become a Workers Comp case. For that reason, I also track all repetitive strain injury reports – whether or not they qualify for Workers comp or become OSHA reportable. If you have a very efficient and effective Employee Health Office and good case managers you can make a big change in these numbers.
Tracking these parameters is challenging if you want to do it more frequently than on an annual basis because WC Costs vary over time..and the OSHA lost or resrticted time can change months after the injury…maybe the employee does not miss time right away..gets medical attention and then ends up having surgery with lost time 6 months later…all this make real time tracking deceiving and difficult.
Anyways – I hope this was helpful. Good Luck
First get a handle on the data that is easily available such as the work comp reporting information related to the cause and occurrence, similar to what NCCI uses for injury tracking. Several states use this data, as well, and have short descriptive summaries (e.g. http://www.mwcc.state.ms.us/forms/1streportins.pdf). Then you can identify priorities and try drilling down to the root causes for specific data to track for your unique situations.
While LTI and similar Frequency measures are widely perceived as ‘the standard’ for workplace injury measurement and might be useful for employment categories with small numbers of injury absences, they are irrelevant for many employers. Any measure that doesn’t differentiate between a death and a scratch is clearly not a useful metric.
Days absent from work is a more relevant measurement, althought there are variations on that theme for part days, alternative employment activities, etc. There are two other reasons for preferring to base your injury impact measures on days absent, and they are the ‘human’ impacts and the ‘economic’ impacts of absence from work due to injury. You can if you wish use the economic impact as a proxy for the human impact.
There is an approximate semi-linear relationship between ‘days absent’ and ‘cost of injury’ which can be briefly summarised as a ‘fixed’ up-front cost impact (which does vary with the type of injury from ‘first aid only’ up to ‘hospital emergency cases’) and a ‘variable’ cost which increases roughly linearly with the number of days away from work.
Of course, the rules are different for putting a ‘value’ on ‘no time lost’ injuries such as hearing loss and for ‘maim’ and like compensation payments.
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