A 2012 study on workplace injuries by the Chicago School of Public Health finds temporary workers are more likely to be injured on the job than permanent workers. Furthermore, the instances of temp-to-permanent injury may be twice as high in the manufacturing and construction industries, according to a 2010 study authored by Smith et al. of the Safety and Health Assessment and Research for Prevention, Washington State Department of Labor & Industries.
Why are workplace injuries higher among temporary workers? Here are a few reasons this population is more at risk than their full-time colleagues for work-related injuries:
- Intrinsic job hazards. Temporary workers are more likely to fill the most dangerous jobs, which often also carry the highest turnover rates.
- Pay/responsibility structure. Temp agencies are responsible for paying wages, and thus for paying workers’ compensation if a temporary employee is injured. Companies may be less concerned with the well-being of temporary workers since they are not required to foot the bill for medical care. See, for example, the extreme case of Carlos Centeno, who died after sustaining severe burns. His employer refused to call an ambulance and another employee drove him to a clinic. He died three weeks later, triggering a cascade of investigations and indictments.
- Job familiarity. Temporary employees find themselves working in unfamiliar environments and often receive only cursory training or on-the-job training. This lack of familiarity with specific protocols and procedures may lead to increased rates of accident in dangerous settings.
- Peer/workplace pressures. Temporary workers may feel psychological or social pressures to ‘fit in’ to the workplace environment. For example, if management locks up heavy black protective gloves, as was the case with the Centeno injury, temps may feel pressure from other workers to go along with unsafe practices that are more convenient. If a culture of safety isn’t implemented by managers and full-time staff, temporary workers often have no recourse.
The conclusion that temporary workers are more often injured on the job than full-time employees is not new. In 1999, research by Attwood Corporation found temporary workers suffered more workplace injuries in an industrial manufacturing setting. The research team at the Chicago School of Public Health that produced the 2012 study on injury rates among temporary workers (cited above) has called for “a more comprehensive occupational injury surveillance system” designed to keep temporary employees—and all workers—safer.
Paradigm Outcomes is always ready to assist with complex medical cases. For more information on our full-service offerings, please feel free to contact us through our website or call (888) 621-6602. We also invite you to join our social communities on LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube and Facebook.
Paradigm’s primary mission has always been to help injured workers achieve the best possible outcomes. Now they have found a way to take this philosophy even further by partnering with Kids’ Chance of America, a charitable nonprofit working to establish chapters throughout the United States. These local organizations directly assist the children of injured workers who have been seriously injured or killed on the job.
There are presently 26 Kids’ Chance chapters around the country providing educational opportunities and scholarships to the children of injured workers so they may receive the education they deserve. Their mission is to help these young people reach their potential by giving them the chance to pursue their dreams of graduating from various institutions of higher education, even in the midst of a family crisis.
In support of these national and local goals, Paradigm refers scholarship candidates and encourages volunteers to open state chapters. Paradigm also contributes a portion of their annual revenue, making them the organization’s largest corporate contributor for 2011. This assistance will enable Kids’ Chance to benefit even more families.
To refer a case to Paradigm, or to ask us a question, please call 800-942-1725 or visit our website. For more information on Kids’ Chance, please visit their website.
In catastrophic injury cases, the goal is to achieve the highest recovery level possible for the injured worker so they may be released to return to work. Accomplishing this can be challenging, but there are five steps organizations can take to improve their results in returning catastrophically injured people to work.
1. Establish Recovery Goals
When managing a new case, whether in the acute or post-acute phase, it is important not only to assess the patient’s current condition, but also to project their highest possible recovery and likelihood for a return to work. This helps coordinate all the providers and interventions for a common goal—a high-quality recovery. Make this part of a comprehensive care plan that averts complications, improves quality of life, increases the likelihood of the best outcome and focuses on returning the injured person to the workforce.
2. Engage an Onsite Case Manager
Never underestimate the power of having a case manager onsite for catastrophic and complex injuries. Traditional telephonic care management models are insufficient for cases such as these due to their high volatility. Truly effective catastrophic case management requires a nurse case manager with extensive medical expertise in catastrophic injuries to help the injured worker and his or her family navigate each phase of recovery. This level of involvement ensures the case manager is keenly aware of the injured worker’s condition and can advise on a comprehensive course of treatment.
3. Enlist the Services of Specialists
It is critical to enlist leading practitioners focusing on catastrophic care to consult with an injured worker’s attending physician and ensure the right diagnosis and the most appropriate care. Physician to physician collaboration is critical to developing a road map for the injured worker so he or she may achieve the highest level of function and ultimately return to work.
4. Make Sure Support Systems are Working as Designed
Medical professionals do their best work when supported by a strong clinical advisory team. Strong data analytics assist in defining potential risk and ways to avoid complications. Historical clinical data and a clinical support infrastructure should all be built into your triage and claim management systems to support early identification of these very difficult cases.
5. Put Patient Care First
Finally, when patient care is the top priority, the result is a greatly improved quality of life for the injured worker and his or her family, and significant lifetime cost savings for the payor. Expert medical management and a systematic approach lead to superior outcomes.
For more information on improving return to work results, please feel free to contact us or join our social communities.