A Better Approach to Safety Includes Pre-Work Exercises


In the November issue of Risk and Insurance magazine is a very interesting article on a better approach to safety. The article is about how the magazine selected Honda Manufacturing of Indiana for their PreVent Award.  The premise of the safety article is trusting the employee to be a part of accident prevention.

The article explains how Soichiro Honda, the founder of Honda Motors “was adamant about protecting the individual in the workplace.” This philosophy is followed by Honda Manufacturing of Indiana.  The company strives to give the employees both “the physical and mental training to be prepared to do their jobs effectively and safely.” (WCxKit)
When new employees are hired, they do not start work immediately.  Instead, they are provided a two week physical conditioning program emphasizing exercises to simulate the movements they will be required to perform on the job.  The program also teaches the employee how to position the body in the best way for job performance in an ergonomically correct manner.  If there are any doubts, please note the employees who complete this physical training have an 80% lower injury rate than employees who did not complete the physical training program.
The lead safety person at Honda Manufacturing of Indiana credits this ‘whole person approach' with the effectiveness of their program, plus the company's safety program has strong support from the upper management.  When Honda was constructing the plant that opened in 2008, the safety program was consulted to build ergonomically correct processes into the production.  Honda allows each manufacturing plant to structure its own safety program around the belief that the local personnel know their own facility better than anyone else.
The employees are encouraged to use the physical conditioning program outside of the workplace, plus the employees are taught to monitor their own stress and fatigue levels. They are taught how off the job stress can put them at an increase of injury on the job.
The safety program at Honda is based on the premise that the employee knows the job better than anyone.  The employees know what the hazards are and what causes stress on their body which can ultimately hurt them.  Honda takes the approach of listening to the employees, trusting what the employees have to say about performing their jobs safely, and using that guidance to create safe working conditions. By listening to the employees and implementing safety recommendations, Honda created a safer working environment. 
When Risk and Insurance magazine was considering various companies for the PreVent Award, it was looking for companies that implement safety programs to prevent work place injuries and provide a safe working environment.  The magazine was looking for employers that were proactive in injury prevention beyond the traditional safety and loss control programs. 
The criterion for the PreVent Award which is given each November includes
1.Total Injury Prevention Focus – which starts with recognizing all potential sources of workplace injuries including suboptimal equipment, inefficient work processes, excessive repetitive motions, poor body mechanics and/or ergonomically incorrect processes.
2. Risk Assessment – identifying all potential risk that can lead to injuries
3. Proactive Approach – comprehensive strategies to address losses and prevent them from reoccurring. (WCxKit)
We strongly support safety as a primary means of reducing workers compensation cost.  For more information on how to improve your safety program, please contact us.

Author Rebecca Shafer, JD, President of Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc. is a national expert in the field of workers compensation. She is a writer, speaker, and website publisher. Her expertise is working with employers to reduce workers compensation costs, and her clients include airlines, healthcare, printing/publishing, pharmaceuticals, retail, hospitality, and manufacturing. She is the author of the #1 selling book on cost containment, Manage Your Workers Compensation: Reduce Costs 20-50% www.WCManual.com. Contact: RShafer@ReduceYourWorkersComp.com.

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Do not use this information without independent verification. All state laws vary. You should consult with your insurance broker or agent about workers comp issues.
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