Clinic Focuses on Injury Prevention - KMOT.COM - Minot, ND - News, Weather, Sports

Clinic Focuses on Injury Prevention

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Testing the physical limitations of injured workers or new-hires is extremely important.

Analyzing those limitations is not only important for employees, but also for employers. Today, I spent some time with a company that's taking advantage of the Fit for Duty program offered through Sanford Health.

The Fit for Duty program, offered through Sanford's Occupational Health Clinic, assesses the average daily tasks of workers, and allows companies to make modifications to those tasks if needed.

"That leads to a description that we write up and can provide back to the company. That can be used in their HR files to replace the physical demand component of their job description," says Jeff Sanford.

And, BNI Coal is just one of many employers that utilizes the program.
 
"If something is limited to 20 pounds of lifting, we can show that it's 15 pounds. Or, we can show that it's 30, and we may accommodate them by doing something different, or change what they're doing in their duties," says Jeff Safety Coordinator.

"I went in and basically did all of these tests for several hours to make sure I was capable of doing the daily tasks that I'd be doing. Anything from crawling to kneeling, to lifting and tightening nuts and bolts, everything you would do as a mechanic," says Jeff Mechanic.

Now, one of the great things about the Fit for Duty program is that it analyzes what it takes to complete simple tasks, like coming down stairs, like these.

"It can be even finer than that in terms of pinching. What's required to pinch if somebody has to push buttons? What's the force required to even push a control button to use one of the cranes on the site?" says Jeff Sanford.

Once the assessments have been completed, the employee is brought here for an exam, and a simulation session of what they're typical tasks on the job include.

Based on my examination and the testing, I can say, 'You can lift 45 pounds from floor to waist. So many times a day, you can carry that so many feet without re-injuring the part of the body that's been injured, because I know you can do it here in our gym,'" says Joel Sanford.

It's amazing to think what the human body actually endures during a day on the job, and thanks to Fit for Duty, it's getting employees back to work faster, and saving companies money.

Now, Sanford Health's website says the average work-related injury costs $36,000.

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