While this is going on, Select's people are communicating with the injured worker's doctor and reporting back to the employer as to when the worker will be able to return to work. In this way they bridge the communications gap, avoid any confusion as to worker status and help transition them back to work faster.
Unified decided one of the best ways to prevent accidents was to take steps to ensure they never happen in the first place.
"We perform new hire training," explains Rodgers. "We spend time explaining the safe work methods and we show them the correct ways to lift, in addition to the OSHA requirements." This initial training is part of an ongoing relationship that Select and Unified strive to maintain with the workers. "When they come to the TDR for an injury," he adds, "we discuss what we talked about in the initial new hire training, so we build upon that."
One of the keys to the program's success is continual evaluation on everyone's part. "We jointly put together a coaching program where we go out and do audits of employees and their work behaviors," says Gable. Select watches every employee at the warehouse, auditing their lifting and safety techniques and assigning them a safety scorecard.
If the employees fall below a certain predetermined threshold they have to go through a retraining program. "We bring an understanding of safe work methods to the work force," says Don Maclardy, vice president of safety for Select.
Since its inception, the program has reduced worker-related injuries nearly 70 percent overall, saving Unified millions of dollars in insurance and replacement worker costs.
"We've had reductions for every year," Gable explains. "We're far below the industry standards."