Early Intervention (EI) is a deliberate process by which an organization is able to proactively engage with employees who have musculoskeletal injury exposure and prevent it from progressing into formal injuries.
Because there are three leading indicators to an injury: early soreness, ergonomics, and human behaviors, it’s imperative that the onsite medical provider focuses on more than just responding to early symptoms. They must also focus on employees’ challenges around ergonomics and especially work behaviors.
These sound simple in concept, but when you consider that all medical providers are classically trained to react to injuries, you can get a feel for some of the challenges. Therefore, there must be an intentional and thoughtful focus on how the Provider is to interact specifically in the industrial environment in order to accomplish this.
Combining Early Intervention and Ergonomics
While a focus on all three leading indicators is essential, much progress and impact can be accomplished by a safety leader who brings to the table a resource that provides both Ergonomics and Early Intervention.
For example, having the Onsite Injury Prevention Specialist who systematically interacts and troubleshoots ergonomic challenges with a team of Board-Certified Professional Ergonomists (CPEs), can have tremendous value to the provider, but also the client, and the client’s employees. This dynamic brings the highest level of ergonomic guidance to the client day in, day out. Considering there are less than 800 CPEs in the U.S., it’s easy to see how rare it is in a typical setting for organizations to have ongoing access to and influence from that level of Ergonomic resource.
The addition of an EI program with these components embedded in the program can provide a safety leader with an incredibly powerful and effective tool to transition company culture from one of reactivity to one of proactivity. When considering an onsite Early Intervention program, it’s important to look well beyond the symptom-response component and consider all of the pillars of support that deepen the value and ability to impact your organization’s challenges.