THE LEADER in Work Injury Management & Prevention Systems

Work Solutions Insight January 2017 Newsletter
Work Solutions Insight
January  2017 Newsletter
Research Article 

Liberty Mutual’s Research Institute for Safety reports that debilitating work injuries continue to cost employers up to one billion dollars a week.  The ranking top ten causes of work injuries total $49.92 billion a year, with total costs reaching $59.87 billion annually. [1]

The top ten causes include overexertion injuries (musculoskeletal sprains/strains), falls from the same level and falls to a lower level, slips/trips and repetitive motion injuries.

The statistics indicate that between 2012 and 2015 the percentage of injuries that occur from musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) is trending down- from 25.3% to 23%; Falls from the same or to a lower level are edged upward from 15.4% to 17.1%; slips/trips have essential remained unchanged at 3.8% and repetitive motion injuries are up slightly from 2.9% to 3.0%. [2]1,2   

While the percentages of MSDs are slightly down in 2015, they continue to rank as number one as a disabling work injury consistently for years.
Employers need job specific tools to decrease this number even further.  The need to identify MSD signs sooner rather than later can be accomplished by using an onsite therapist.  Another is to match the worker to the job, by using a well-designed, job specific description of the physical demands of the job. 
Additionally, post offer of employment testing can identify where a potential worker may be lacking in strength or ability to safely perform the job. 

The DSI Work Solutions Job Function Matching (JFM) system, used by DSI providers in health care and in industry, is demonstrating significant decreases in overall work injury costs to employers.

JFM is a significant tool to further decrease the occurrence of work injuries and creates a pathway to  return workers back to work safely and efficiently when work related injuries occur. 

[1]     Liberty Mutual Research Institute for Safety, January 2017. [2]     Liberty Mutual Research Institute for Safety, January 2014, 2016
DSI Work Solutions 2016 National Conference Highlights
The Conference was well attended and was well reviewed.  Sue and Dennis Isernhagen honored us by attending as well.  Sue was our keynote opening speaker, setting the pace for the conference by presenting on the past, present and future of work injury management. 

Sandi Sorum, OTR/L presented impressive data from Sanford Health in Sioux Falls SD that showed their excellent outcomes using DSI’s Job Function Matching system. 

Kathy Bray, Esq., an attorney back by popular demand, presented timely information on legal issues regarding the ADAA and the EEOC and current case law. 

Jim Hughes, PT from the Mayo Clinic presented on Mayo’s intervention process with care of the injured worker including psychosocial aspects impacting return to work.

Frank Murray, MSPT discussed onsite therapy approaches at several industrial facilities that he contracts with, emphasizing the interventions that get results. 

Curt DeWeese, PT from DSI Work Solutions and Beth Trouy, PT from St. Francis Hospital, presented an informative session on safe patient handling approaches in a hospital setting. 

Carolyn Brierly, PT, Rehab Institute of Michigan, presented on the implementation process at Detroit Harper Hospital including the opportunities and challenges. 

Ben Sanford shared a process on how to measure outcomes in an industrial rehab program. 

Nancy Bellendorf, OT, presented her company’s industrial consultant model. 

Scott Ege, PT and Curt DeWeese, PT gave us all an in-depth look at the practical application ergonomics.

Scott, Curt and Debbie Reed, PT presented information on onsite services including current thinking and challenges that need to be considered in the service arena.

All of our vendors took time to present their products during the conference and were a wealth of information during breaks. Thank you to Scott Ege -Ege WorkSmart Solutions, Russ Certo and Charlotte Booth- the Medically Oriented Gym, Wayne Fetman – JLW Instruments, Mark Blankenspoor-Take Shape For Life and Ryan Hammond- Creative Specialists International.

 A major highlight was dinner on the Minneapolis Queen, greeting old friends and making new ones while floating down the Mississippi river at sunset. 

 The Conference was a great success thanks to the hard work of all the presenters, our vendors and a very interactive group of attendees.  We hope to welcome all of you to the next one in 2018!  

  Returning to Work, Is the Worker Ready?


Individuals that have been injured while at work may:

1.   Fear re-injury once they return to work.      


Am I coming back too soon?  Can I do my job again safely?


A function based job description, such as the DSI Job Function Descriptionwill provide the worker, the supervisors and case managers with the needed job information to assure the worker is not coming back too soon and that he/she is capable of performing their job safely.


2.  Realize they cannot communicate their job adequately to their doctor.


An injured worker needs an up to date function based job description to communicate the physical demands of the job to those in the medical community that are providing care.  This will greatly assist the doctor in writing restrictions, or better yet, return to work recommendations.


3.   Worry if there is any way they can return to ‘their’ job instead of light duty work. 


Workers can know if there may be part of the job he/she can return to post injury, as an alternative to working a ‘light-duty’ position.  A job description that details those functions can determine if the worker can safely perform one or more of the functions needed to return to their own job.


4.  Become concerned if their doctor will know when and how to return them to their jobs.      


When there is missing information about the physical demands of the job, then doctors must guess/estimate return to work readiness. A document to communicate details of the physical demands of the job is needed to focus therapy goals toward functional return to work readiness.


5.  Wonder who will check on them while they are at work to make sure they won’t get hurt again? 


Employers and employees can benefit from having therapist on site, and using an Early Intervention Program. Having a rehab specialist provide ongoing assessments of how an injured worker is performing can result in early detection of a problem as well as have a very positive effect on the worker, knowing there is someone they can turn to for reassurance.


Employers need to have up to date job descriptions that become the foundation for a successful return to work of their employees.  Documents that contain physical forces demands and required body positions are essential for keeping workers safe and bringing them injured back to their own jobs sooner.

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