Swickers is a pork processing plant that was experiencing high musculoskeletal injury rates, specifically sprain and strain injuries. Injury related absenteeism was high, which was affecting productivity and the site's ability to operate effectively. Swickers was also experiencing increasing workers' compensation claims, workers' compensation premiums, paid days off and high staff turnover.
As a relatively small business, with 24 hour operations, Swickers had to use innovative solutions to engage multiple stakeholders across the site and different shifts. With strong support from leadership, Swickers approached the issues holistically using three pillars:
- Work: Understand the risks, high level elimination and design controls and implement the hazardous manual tasks program, PErforM.
- Workers: Early interventions, matching workers to suitable jobs and jobs to suitable workers.
- Workplace: Foster a positive culture through training, education and an open-door policy.
Further to the worker interventions and risk assessments, proactive programs such as preventative rehabilitation and chronic disease/health management (flu shots, active office program and the wellness calendar) have also been introduced at Swickers.
There has been a significant improvement in safety performance at Swickers with a 51 per cent reduction in sprain and strain claims and a 59 per cent reduction in sprain and strain costs in a 12 month period.