Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Midwest Regional Takes Proactive Step in Minimizing Back Injuries

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Midwest Regional Takes Proactive Step in Minimizing Back Injuries

Article excerpt

Statistics show that work-related back injuries are the country's No. 1 occupational hazard. According to Business & Health magazine, 2 percent of the nation's work force - an estimated 450,000 people - sustain back injuries each year.

Back injuries also are the most costly for employers, far surpassing other injury claims. Furthermore, experts say back injuries cause 100 million lost days of work annually.

For these reasons, officials at Midwest Regional Medical Center are taking a proactive step toward minimizing such injuries by designing workstations for employee safety and efficiency.

Rehabilitation medicine specialists at MRMC are reviewing furniture purchases hospital-wide to ensure they are positive ergonomic options for employees. Chris Dillinger, physical therapist and ergonomic coordinator, has developed an approved list of products that can be purchased depending on an employee's individual needs.

The hospital recognized some employees were experiencing back- related injuries and pain or aggravating existing injuries due to their environment and realized it was an issue that needed to be addressed, Dillinger said of the issue that was brought before the hospital's safety committee.

In early October the hospital received five ergonomic office chairs from Relax The Back Store for its human resources office. Each chair has 10 adjustments to adapt to specific employee needs and is approved by the Food and Drug Administration as medical devices.

Dillinger said that while these personalized purchases may initially cost the hospital a few more dollars - to the tune of between $450 to $850 a piece - one workers compensation case can run into tens of thousands of dollars, which makes this a worthwhile expense.

Spending a little up front to save a lot of money in the long run just makes sense, he said. …

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