Why BHS for Food Processing Settings
MSD rates in the food processing industry is five (5) times higher than the average for all U.S. industries. Occupational Safety and Health Administration
- Many food processing jobs are physically demanding and involve factors that increase the risk of developing an MSD. Occupational Safety and Health Administration
- NIOSH found that 42% of employees who worked on the production line had evidence of carpal tunnel syndrome. Occupational Safety and Health Administration
- 64% of MSD sufferers thought their condition was worsened by their occupation and 1/3 said their employer was aware but failed to provide adequate support. Occupational Health & Safety
- NIOSH investigators found that workers employed in jobs requiring faster repetitions had a higher incidence of MSDs than those doing slower jobs. Occupational Safety and Health Administration
Food Processing work settings and jobs include (but not limited to):
- Animal/Meat Processing
- Tea Makers
- Coffee Processing
- And many others
Ergonomics-related risk factors that may lead to the development of MSDs in food processing facilities include:
- Repetition — performing the same motion or series of motions continually or frequently. The number of repetitious movements may be affected by the speed of a conveyer belt, or the number of workers available to do the job (crewing standards).
- Forceful exertion — the amount of physical effort to perform a demanding task (such as heavy lifting, hanging/rehanging birds, pulling skin) or to maintain control of equipment or tools.
- Awkward and static postures — assuming positions that place stress on the body, such as reaching above shoulder height, kneeling, squatting, leaning over a worktable, twisting the torso while lifting, maintaining a sustained posture for a long period of time, as well as holding or using tools (e.g., knives or scissors) in a non-neutral or fixed position.
- Vibration — using vibrating hand-held power tools can increase the stress on the hands and arms. This is especially a problem if other risk factors are present in the task.
- Cold temperatures in combination with the above risk factors may also increase the potential for MSDs to develop (1). Many of the operations in poultry processing occur with a chilled product or in a cold environment. https://www.osha.gov/sites/default/files/publications/OSHA3213.pdf
The Impact of the Problem
Problem definition: every work activity and setting presents a unique and measurable risk to employees. These risks have an impact on individual health and wellness as well as corporate wellness (profitability, culture, etc.).
Productivity (Indirect Costs)
Lost productivity due to pain costs U.S. companies $297 billion every year (that’s $2397 per employee). U.S. Bureau of Labor & Statistics
Key Drivers of Lost Productivity
Presenteeism: the practice of coming to work despite illness, injury, anxiety, etc., resulting in reduced productivity.
- Commonly reduces individual productivity by 33% or more. Harvard Business Review
- Injuries and pain are shown to increase presenteeism 79%. National Institute of Health / National Library of Medicine
- Pain conditions associated with sitting, like back pain, arthritis, and headaches, cost $47 billion a year in reduced employee performance. Harvard Business Review
- Overall, presenteeism costs U.S. employers over $150 billion a year due to employees coming to work sick. Center for Health Research Rural Advocacy
Absenteeism: missing work due to injury, illness, travel for offsite care, or without good reason.
- Annual costs due to unscheduled absenteeism of food processing workers is $2.8 billion. Forbes Magazine
- U.S. employees go to 558 million doctors’ office visits and spend 1.1 billion hours away from work due to pain alone. U.S. Bureau of Labor & Statistics
- Overtime is used to cover 47% of employee absences and coworkers are 29.5% less productive when covering for absent employees. Society for Human Resource Management
- Supervisors spend 212 hours per year dealing with absences. Society for Human Resource Management
$171 billion annually ($1,100 per employee) in direct employer expenses incurred as a result of workplace injuries and illnesses.
U.S. National Safety Council
Key Cost Drivers
Healthcare Costs: include employer wellness programs costs, insurance premiums, and other direct compensation for healthcare benefits (HSA/FSA, etc.).
- U.S. employers cover an average 70% (that’s $10,762) of healthcare costs for each employee every year.
National Business Group on Health
- The average annual cost of healthcare is $15,375 per U.S. employee and inflating 6.5% every year.
National Business Group on Health
- Employers spend $49 billion per year ($742 per employee) on wellness programs. Global Wellness Institute
- Small to Medium businesses pay 8-18% more for employee healthcare insurance. National Conference of State Legislatures
Employee Turnover: voluntary and involuntary employee attrition costs employers an immense amount of time and money.
- The average cost to (re)hire is $4,129 and takes an average of 42 days. Society for Human Resource Management
- Turnover can cost employers 33% of an employee’s annual salary. Forbes Magazine
- In 2020, 47 million Americans will voluntarily change jobs. Society for Human Resource Management
- U.S. companies spend an average $1,096 to train a new employee. 2018 Training Industry Report
Workers’ Compensation: direct costs of workplace injuries and illnesses, and mandatory insurance.
- Workers’ compensation for musculoskeletal injuries and pain costs U.S employers $20 billion every year. U.S. Bureau of Labor & Statistics
- The average employer cost of a workplace musculoskeletal injury is $33,000 per claim. Occupational Safety Health and Administration
- The average cost of workers’ compensation insurance for food processing companies is $2,214.20 per employee per year ($1.12 per work hour). Workers’ Compensation Lab
Other Qualitative Costs
Employer costs intuitively associated with poor employee health and wellness, but without a direct correlation to causation argument.
Key Drivers of Other Costs
Reputation: a bad reputation costs companies at least 10% or more per hire. Harvard Business Review
Safety: employers that don’t have effective employee health and wellness programs pay 2-3 times more on injuries and illnesses. Employee Health and Safety Today
Quality: a Gallup Poll revealed that 70% of U.S. workers are not engaged at work leading to mistakes that cost U.S. companies 20-40% of sales. Six Sigma
Culture: 91% of workers at companies led by leaders that support well-being efforts say they feel motivated to do their best at their jobs. American Psychological Association
The Bottom Line of a BHS Customized Health Assurance Program
In Your Perfect World...
The ideal food processing company is not only a “Great Place to Work”, but also profitable and safe where employer sponsored programs are affordable, BEST-IN-CLASS, and effective.
How to Get There...
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