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Workplace injuries result in the loss of millions of dollars to Kansans and their employers, both from medical costs and from work absenteeism.

Most businesses have workplace safety rules in place, even those businesses that don’t seem like they are at high risk for injuries, such as offices.

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas, being in the insurance business, is particularly aware of how much an employer can affect the costs incurred by workplace injuries. The company’s most common injuries are repetitive strain injuries, such as carpal tunnel, said Terri Janda, administrator for Corporate Health Services at BCBS and an occupational nurse.

“Here at Blue Cross, we knew the key to reducing this was to implement an encompassing ergonomics program,” she said. “We have a really nice program that actually begins the day the employee begins employment at Blue Cross.”

The employee is shown the first day of work how to set up his or her workstation in an ergonomically correct manner and then within 10 days of employment, someone goes to the workstation to make sure that it is correct. Employees also are reminded to get up and move throughout the day, Janda said.

“We also have gone as far as to implement a stretch program, where we actually go into the departments once a month and get them out of their chairs and actually show them stretches they can do,” she said.

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