Most statistics about workplace injuries capture the perspective of the employer: “$62 billion in lost work cost,” “billions paid in workman’s compensation claims.” But the actual pain is felt by the employee who tweaks her lower back, twists her shoulder or thumps her knee.
Take care of the employees’ ailments, and the cost to the employer will be reduced — that’s the premise behind the Early Intervention Clinic, a program housed within the Marquette University Physical Therapy Clinic and created as a collaboration between the clinic, the Department of Risk Management and the Department of Facilities Services.
“Our goal is to respond appropriately when people do get hurt and to get them back to work safely,” says Jeff Wilkens, director of the clinic. “But we also want to help prevent people from getting injured.”
The Early Intervention Clinic is designed to respond quickly to Marquette employees who have been injured and help diagnose and potentially treat the injury, at no cost to the employee. The program will start as a pilot program in Facilities Services.
“An added benefit of having our own Physical Therapy Department at Marquette partner with us for injury early intervention is the convenience to workers. Instead of what would otherwise potentially be a half day away from the workplace, workers can schedule a covenant visit right on campus.,” says Greg Adams, director of Facilities and Campus Services.
The program also aims to educate employees on injury prevention through exercises like stretching, proper posture and reducing repetitive motion injuries.
“Caring for our employees is doing right by them, and if successful, we hope to see a reduction in injuries, injury severity and Marquette’s workers’ compensation costs,” says Matt Paulus, director of risk management. “This is experienced by less severe injuries, which translates into less time away from work, lower indemnity and medical costs and lower worker’s compensation claims and insurance costs.”
According to Wilkens, the goal is to run the pilot program with Facilities Services for up to one year, at which time access to the Early Intervention Clinic could be extended to the rest of campus for all employees.
“To me, early injury intervention is a great example of cura personalis, which is such a big part of Marquette culture,” Adams says. “Here we have several departments — Facilities Planning and Management, the Physical Therapy Department, Risk Management and Human Resources — working creatively together to put a program in place to help provide the safest possible work environment for workers and to better protect their health and well-being.”