LOUISVILLE, Ky. — The Kentucky Orthopedic Rehab Team on Thursday announced a reduction in employee injuries across Kroger's Mid-South division, thanks to the implementation of a new employee wellness program called Living Life Safe and Well in October.
“Of 19 divisions in the Kroger Co., the Mid South division always came in near the bottom with the most employee injuries," stated Vance Blade, safety manager for the division. "In 2010, our division had 640 lost work hours. From 2009 to 2010, we saw a 5.8% increase in workers comp claims. Of those injured some 40% were repeaters, meaning the same employees kept getting injured,” he said. “We had to do something, so along with KORT we created the Living Life Safe and Well program to begin addressing the problem.”
A four-hour presentation to Kroger employees was divided into eight breakout seminars that were given by medical experts including KORT physical therapists, a nutritionist and a physician. Each seminar provided employees with detailed information and instruction on: Proper lifting techniques; equipment safety; personal protective equipment; culinary arts training/how to handle a knife; stretching, fitness and physical therapy; hand therapy safety; wellness and nutrition; and an ask the doctor session where employees could discuss various health issues.
“This program didn’t cost us much to implement and has been very effective,” Blade said. “So far we’ve trained 330 employees, and have moved from our spot near the bottom of the list of the most work related employee injuries into the top 10-of-19 divisions with fewer injuries. That’s a considerable improvement. We’ve reduced repeat injuries and have reduced our year-to-date injuries by 93.”