Onsite Clinics: A Solid Approach to Construction Total Worker Health Management
Work-related injuries are prevalent in the construction industry and costs quickly add up when you factor in medical charges, lost days of work and fees related to accident investigation. According to the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA), there were 2.5 injuries for every 100 construction workers in the United States in 2021. And in 2020, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that construction workers experienced 21,400 nonfatal workplace injuries due to falls, slips and trips.
Although it’s impossible to completely eradicate workplace injuries and illnesses, taking steps to promote your workers’ health and wellness, ensure the safety of your worksite and respond quickly when accidents do happen can decrease the instances of injuries and reduce the severity of those that do occur.
An onsite clinic staffed by skilled healthcare professionals — including Medcor’s onsite clinics — allows you to provide exceptional care when your workers are injured, cultivate an environment that supports total worker health and take steps to identify and mitigate risks that could lead to costly accidents.
Promptly Treat Many Injuries Onsite
Quick evaluation of injuries — as quickly as possible after they happen — is essential to getting your employees the proper care and getting them back to work faster. When you have a Medcor onsite medical team that can assess your workers, they’re able to get treatment more quickly and hopefully avoid exacerbating their injuries and slowing their recovery.
Additionally, having a skilled onsite care team allows for knowledgeable assessment of which injuries only require onsite first aid, which may require a doctor visit and which truly require emergency care. This takes the guesswork out of the process for your team, who aren’t likely trained in injury triage, while also reducing the chances of sending non-urgent cases offsite for expensive and time-consuming, non-essential emergency care.
With the average workers’ compensation claim costing $41,353 from 2019 to 2020, according to the National Safety Council, every dollar you can save counts.
Receive Industry-Specific Services
Workers in the construction industry face hazards and working conditions that many other employees do not. They are more likely to suffer from strains and sprains, accounting for 30% of workplace injuries, according to the 2023 Travelers Injury Impact Report. Additionally, construction sites could put workers at risk of exposure to hazardous substances such as asbestos, silica, mold or lead.
An onsite team with knowledge of the risks construction workers face can help you keep your workers safe and healthy under a variety of conditions. This not only protects them, but also protects your project budget and schedule. If you’re able to head off potential issues before they happen, you’re more likely to keep the project rolling.
Some ways a Medcor onsite clinic can help you with industry-specific services include respirator fit testing to help keep your employees from exposure to airborne particulate matter or other substances. Clinic staff also can manage medical surveillance programs if workers are exposed to hazardous materials, intervening and giving them medical attention when necessary.
Drug and alcohol screenings also are essential for the overall safety and wellbeing of your construction team. You can implement a full onsite drug and alcohol testing program from your onsite clinic or a mobile trailer, or onsite staff can help you manage a program that’s partially conducted offsite. Screening for drugs and alcohol — pre-employment and at regular intervals during a project — allows you to ensure your team is at the top of their game and are less likely to have accidents that lead to costly injuries.
Implement Prevention Programs
Supporting total worker health goes beyond just preventing and treating on-the-job injuries. It also means giving your employees the support they need to maintain physical and mental wellness. An onsite clinic can help you in this endeavor by providing the knowledge and personnel necessary to design and implement wellness programs that keep your employees healthy and productive.
But wellness programs are more than just health milestones and goal setting (although onsite clinic staff can help with that). You also must give your workers the tools to support their mental health. When an employee is mentally unwell, they’re more likely to make mistakes at work that could lead to accidents and injuries.
An onsite mental health first aid program allows your team to look out for one another and intervene if an issue is identified. This program helps your employees recognize the symptoms and signs of mental health challenges, understand how to interact with a person in crisis and know how to connect someone with help. Training your workers with this program gives you more eyes out on the jobsite and, hopefully, allows you to get workers help more quickly.
Boost Employee Satisfaction
Employees who feel that the company they work for cares about them and wants to keep them safe and healthy are more likely to be productive, long-term workers. If your employees don’t feel that their needs are being met, they may look for other jobs more quickly, causing you to have a high turnover rate and possibly leave the rest of your team understaffed.
By operating an onsite clinic, where employees can receive care when they’re injured or if they have another medical concern, you’re showing your employees that you are invested in their health and safety. The more contact they have with your onsite care team — through safety walks of your jobsite, casual conversations during the workday or scheduled meetings to go over their wellness goals — the more likely they are to feel valued. And employees who are healthy and feel valued are productive employees, keeping your project on track.
The Bottom Line
Maintaining a healthy, productive and safe workforce can mean the difference between your construction job getting done on time vs. over schedule and over budget. Healthy employees are happy employees, and happy employees are productive and stay employed with you long-term. By providing your workers with an onsite clinic, you’re delivering total worker health, and offering great value to your strongest asset.