Aging and Obesity in the Workplace and How it Relates to Workers Comp Claims

We all know that injuries at work result in claims against your workers comp policy, so the question is how you and your employees can reduce the odds of those claims.

Some main culprits relating to workers comp claims are back pain and carpal tunnel.

Back pain can be caused by a variety of issues:

  • Excess weight and poor muscle tone
  • Herniated or slipped discs
  • Muscle strains and spasms
  • Osteoarthritis; slow cartilage deterioration due to excessive use, injury or aging
  • Osteoporosis; a calcium deficiency in the bones
  • Sciatica; pressure on a nerve root in the lower back
  • Stress

Like back pain, carpal tunnel syndrome is often the result of a combination of factors. Per my research the disorder may be due to a congenital predisposition, HOWEVER, other contributing factors that may be preventable in the workplace include trauma or injury to the wrist that cause swelling, work stress; repeated use of vibrating hand tools or at a computer keyboard and mouse. Because there is little clinical data to prove whether repetitive and forceful movements of the hand and wrist during work activities can cause carpal tunnel syndrome, all an employer can do to help their employees will be preventative.

You may now be wondering, so what the heck does Aging and Obesity have to do with back pain, and carpal tunnel? Well, for both ailments, workers can do on-the-job conditioning, perform brief occasional stretching exercises, take frequent brief rest breaks (even 60 seconds helps), use ergonomic equipment to promote correct posture and force improved muscle tone. Employers can develop programs in ergonomics, but they can also promote weight loss, cardio fitness and muscle tone which in turn will help to decrease claims relating to back pain and other ailments caused by aging and obesity.

I am no expert on ergonomics, so employers should utilize resources provided by your workers comp carrier to help create these preventative programs.

Coming soon, The State Fund is offering free seminars to employers:

Aging in the Workplace

America’s workforce is getting increasingly older. People are working longer due to difficult economic conditions.

You Will Learn:

  • The effects of aging on your workers
  • Simple ergonomic changes you can make
  • The benefits of hiring and retaining the older worker

Obesity in the Workplace

There is an epidemic of obesity in America today. The workforce can be affected by medical and weight-related issues.

You Will Learn:

  • Factors contributing to obesity in American adults
  • Medical complications of obesity
  • Ergonomics and weight-related issues for the worker
  • Weight as a factor in determining duration of disability
  • Weight loss treatment – Who pays?

Seminars are offered such as the one in Riverside on February 17, 2010.

Registration and complimentary continental breakfast begins at 8:30 a.m

State Fund Regional Office, 6301 Day Street, Riverside, CA 92507

Visit www.scif.com for on line registration and more dates/locations

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