Employers in New Jersey that adopt proactive strategies to limit worker injuries and illnesses have much to gain. They might increase productivity while reducing the costs associated with treating injured workers. The Total Worker Health concept promoted by the National Institute for Occupational Health encourages employers to take a holistic view of workplace safety needs.
The holistic approach strives to improve safety from every angle. Policies take into account the emotional, social, financial and environmental forces acting upon workers. By integrating the factors that influence overall worker well-being into workplace safety practices, employers can advance their goal of preventing injuries.
Employers following a holistic strategy take action to identify sources of injury and help workers avoid problems in the first place. For example, the managers of a proactive manufacturer realized that new employees had high rates of musculoskeletal injuries. The company introduced full-time onsite safety professionals to work alongside new hires and coach them in proper physical techniques that reduced strain on their bodies. This program produced significant reductions in sprains and strains among new workers.
Although some progressive employers strive to improve safety policies, many workers still encounter barriers when they seek workers’ compensation benefits. Someone who has been hurt on the job at a workplace where management wants to avoid insurance claims might want to consult an attorney. A legal consultation may provide a worker with unbiased information about how to file a claim. An attorney may study the insurance policy and inform the worker about available coverage for medical care and lost income. An attorney familiar with workplace accidents might help a person report an accident and file an insurance claim within deadlines imposed by an insurer. A worker may also gain a legal perspective about options for reporting safety problems to government regulators.