10 ways to reduce North Carolina workers’ compensation costs in 2010 (Part 1)

December 8, 2009, by Michael A. DeMayo

Each year, millions of dollars are spent on North Carolina workers’ compensation benefits and other sundry costs. With the state struggling with epic unemployment and other economic problems, policymakers across the political spectrum are seeking solutions. So here are ten ideas to take some of the financial pressure off of the North Carolina workers’ compensation system.

1. Improve office workstations and ergonomic tools.

As we’ve discussed in other posts on this blog, musculoskeletal disorders impact a significant percentage of the North Carolina workforce. To protect that workforce, we need to employ more proactive healthcare. In particular, we need to improve ergonomics for office workers, educate people about the risks of repetitive stress injuries, and intervene earlier in the injury process to prevent disorders that can result from untreated RSI.

2. Help the state workforce become more fit.

Exercise techniques and classes can protect workers from getting injured in the first place. For example, a recent study on the Alexander Technique (AT) in the UK found that just over a dozen sessions of AT helped workers recover from repetitive stress injuries and avoid costly surgeries and medications. Yoga and Feldenkrais have also anecdotally delivered great results for workers in a variety of fields.

3. Stricter enforcement of anti cell-phone-while-driving laws.

The research about the dangers of driving while texting is unambiguous. Cell phones and driving do not mix. Even if you wear a hands-free earpiece while talking on the phone, you will still significantly increase your risk of getting into an injury crash. Unfortunately, many North Carolinians do not know enough about these dangers — for instance, many assume that talking hands-free is just fine. As a result, we are seeing more cell phone related injury crashes. If the state police can perform a better crackdown against drivers who violate anti cell phone laws; and if we can collectively educate our drivers about these dangers, perhaps we can see a reduction in injury crashes and thus relieve some pressure on the North Carolina workers’ compensation system.

4. Eliminate other distractions at work.

Today, it’s not unusual to find employees “multitasking” most hours of the day. Workers now spend a staggering amount of time staring at what the satirical newspaper The Onion has referred to as “glowing rectangles” — e.g. computer screens, mobile phone devices, television sets, billboards, etc. This constant distraction leads to inattention and increases risk of injury.

5. Consume less sugar.

Many independent studies have demonstrated that the overconsumption of sugar can cause inflammation, arthritis, fatigue, inattention, and a battery of other health problems. By collectively reducing the amount of refined sugars that we eat — particularly around holiday time — we might be able to stave off not just some on-the-job injuries but also serious health problems, such as obesity and diabetes.

More Web Resources:

Dangers of Sugar

Help for RSI

 
 

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