Visit any construction site or manufacturing floor and you’ll witness tens, if not hundreds, of workers earning every cent of their paychecks by completing physically strenuous tasks, possibly under dangerous conditions. Even with every OSHA requirement followed to the letter, it’s the nature of manual labor that there is some inherent risk of injury when working around heavy machinery and power tools, using your body repetitiously to get the job done. These “industrial athletes” are aware of the risks but continue to return to their jobs every day to help accomplish their missions. So if an injury does occur, no matter how minor, it’s the responsibility of the employer to provide emergency medical services for their employees.
This medical support is traditionally provided by employers in the form of an off-duty emergency medical technician (EMT), and for obvious reasons. An EMT is a first responder. They have received formal training that allows them to quickly analyze the severity of an injury, determine the proper course of action and administer lifesaving care. Naturally, they would be a good fit on the job site to care for workers in the event of an accident. But a new trend in onsite medical care is emerging, which actually involves the use of certified athletic trainers on the job. This new way of providing care, called an Industrial Athlete Program, promises potential benefits over what an onsite EMT can deliver.
So what exactly is an Industrial Athlete Program? And why could it be a better fit for your work site than an off-duty EMT? Here’s three reasons to consider.
A Focus on Prevention
Being trained as a first responder, the nature of an EMT’s course of treatment is reactive. They are often incredibly good at what they do, but their treatment typically doesn’t begin until after an injury takes place. After all, you wouldn’t expect to see an EMT at the gym warning you to stretch before you hop on the treadmill. But after that muscle cramp causes a fall and someone calls 911, they’re on the scene in minutes.
Athletic trainers are educated in first aid and can provide it when necessary. But their primary focus is on injury prevention. On the job site, this means:
- Running daily stretch and flex exercises to warm up employees’ muscles before their work begins
- Conducting safety briefings to cover all risks posed by the day’s work
- Making rounds throughout the job site to observe and make any adjustments to improve safety and ergonomics, and decrease the risk of injury
By doing this, athletic trainers can significantly improve the safety of your work site, especially considering that three of the top 10 causes of workplace injuries are handling objects, being in awkward positions and doing repetitive motions involving microtasks.
Working within the ranks
As stated earlier, having an onsite EMT means they are there when you need them. But the nature of their job doesn’t usually involve a high level of visibility from day to day.
With an Industrial Athlete Program, the athletic trainer is firmly embedded within the ranks of your employees. Daily interactions through warmup exercises, safety briefings and making the rounds build trust and camaraderie. Employees can visually see the resources their company is providing to them to ensure their safety and well-being, increasing engagement, retention and productivity.
Treatment that goes beyond the workplace
By developing trust and camaraderie, your employees will feel more comfortable approaching their trainer and taking advantage of the benefits offered to them. Besides monitoring their onsite performance for safety improvements, the trainer can also make suggestions for their overall health both on and off the job by encouraging regular check-ups and other good habits. By supporting a more overall healthy lifestyle, employees stay able-bodied and on the job.
Harness Health Partners has developed a comprehensive Industrial Athlete Program to help prevent injuries from ever happening at your work site. To learn more about the benefits of providing an Industrial Athlete Program to your employees, contact us today.