‘Instead of waiting weeks, months or years to get enough injury data, in a day we get a snapshot of our whole workforce’

In our last issue of EmmChat, we reported on a program currently being run in Townsville to focus on ‘Zero workplace injuries’. This issue we spoke to the Departmental Manager to get some more details on how the project was conceived and find out how it is progressing.

What started out as an idea to provide a workplace based remedial therapist to reduce muscular pain and discomfort for staff has turned into a wonderfully proactive opportunity to reduce workplace injuries. The manager with a large Utility Company instigated the program with local Remedial Therapist and Emmett Instructor Debbie Keighran. He had been a client of Debbie’s for many years and credits her treatments with fixing his long standing sports related injuries. In a moment of inspiration earlier this year, when he was looking for ways to re-invigorate his ‘tired and worn’ employees, he conceived the idea for a workplace therapist. After securing the funding he rang Debbie, who commenced a regular program of Emmett treatments for the staff.

‘It’s a pro-active program which focuses on injury prevention. The initial trial was scheduled for 3 months but once the trial date had expired, the results had been so good,we arranged to continue it. We are now 6 months down the track and in the process of rolling the program out to our workshops in Brisbane and Rockhampton as well at the Townsville site. There is a lot of interest.’

Senior management became very interested in the pilot program when they discovered not only had they experienced the desired reduction in workplace injuries, they had also been able to identify and address ‘at risk’ work practices and discover trends. ‘Instead of waiting weeks, months or years to get enough injury data, with the information Debbie provides, in a day we get a snapshot of our whole workforce. This had often been too late coming because the injuries had already occurred and the workforce had already suffered lost time and personal health and wellbeing issues’ he said.

‘This program provides us with a really good idea of areas that are at risk and as far as the workforce is concerned, they see that their employer is doing something for them – to make them feel better, improving their health and wellbeing. This aids workplace relations and improves morale and productivity …. A win/win situation all round’.‘In the short period we have been doing this program… we statistically would have normally experienced at least 1 workplace injury. With data just released, the national average lost time injury costs Australian industry about $66,000 per person. That is quite a big saving already. And for the cost of our work place program not only do we get to identify trouble areas, we are also providing ongoing treatment.’

‘It is a transparent program. We can look at the trouble areas – and then we can look at the work practices in those areas. I love the focus of it… We get a pretty good focus .. if 40% of the guys in one area all have the same injury, we work it back to find out what they are doing in the their duties which might be contributing. It could be as simple as using a screw driver in one hand and carrying a heavy tool in the other.’‘The program has only been going for 6 months – it is in its infancy… but head office already want to roll it out to the other sites. I get pretty excited about it.’


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