High-Risk Postures: Why Frontline Workers Get Strain & Sprain Injuries

Sprain and strain injuries in the workplace can occur in any industry but are more common in jobs that involve manual labor, repetitive motions, or awkward postures, such as those of frontline workers. 

Consider the warehouse worker who repeatedly reaches overhead to select items; the nurse who repositions patients in awkward positions; or the delivery driver who bends again and again to load and unload products. When these workers move their bodies improperly, day after day, their risk of a strain or sprain injury increases.

What are Strain & Sprain Injuries?

Strain and sprain injuries affect the muscles, tendons, ligaments, and other soft tissues of the body. These common workplace injuries can be caused by a variety of factors, including high-risk postures.

High-risk postures are positions that put excessive strain on the muscles, tendons, and ligaments of the body. These postures can be caused by elements such as the design of the workplace, the equipment used, and the tasks performed.

Examples of High-Risk Postures

According to the 2023 Travelers Injury Impact Report, the most common cause of accidents across all industries was overexertion, including strains or injuries resulting from twisting, reaching, lifting, or jumping.

Let’s take a closer look at these common high-risk postures:

Twisting: When twisting the body to perform a task, it’s important to use proper techniques to avoid injury. Twisting the spine vs turning, or twisting too far or too quickly, can put excessive strain on the muscles and cause a strain or sprain injury.

Reaching: When reaching for objects that are above shoulder height, it’s important to use proper techniques to avoid injury. Stretching too far can put excessive strain on the muscles and cause a strain or sprain injury.

Lifting: When lifting heavy objects, it’s important to use proper lifting techniques to avoid injury. Lifting with the back instead of the legs, for example, can put excessive strain on the muscles and cause a strain or sprain injury.

Jumping: When jumping, it’s important to use proper techniques to avoid injury. Landing improperly can put excessive strain on the muscles and cause a strain or sprain injury.

The Consequences of Strain & Sprain Injuries

Strain and sprain injuries can have serious consequences for both the employee and the employer. Here are some of the potential impacts:

On Employees:

  • Pain and discomfort: Strain and sprain injuries can cause pain and discomfort that can make it difficult for employees to perform their job duties.
  • Lost wages: If the injury is severe enough to require time off work, employees may lose wages while they recover.
  • Reduced mobility: Injuries can reduce an employee’s range of motion, making it difficult to perform tasks that require movement.
  • Chronic pain: In some cases, strain and sprain injuries can lead to chronic pain that can last for months or even years.

    On Employers:

    • Decreased productivity: When an employee is injured, they may not be able to perform their job duties at full capacity, which can lead to decreased productivity.
    • Increased costs: Employers may incur additional costs related to workers’ compensation claims, medical treatment, and hiring replacement workers. Sprains and strains were the most frequent resulting injury across all claims, according to the 2023 Travelers Injury Impact Report.
    • Legal issues: Employers may face legal issues if they are found to be in violation of safety regulations or if they do not properly address workplace injuries.
    • Damage to reputation: If employees are injured on the job and the employer is found to be at fault, it can damage the company’s reputation and lead to negative publicity.

    Preventing High-Risk Postures with Wearables

    While high-risk postures are prevalent in the workplace, they are mostly preventable. To prevent strain and sprain injuries, it’s important to use proper lifting techniques, avoid reaching too far, and use proper techniques when twisting the body. In addition, ergonomics, workplace adjustments, training, and education can all help to prevent these injuries from occurring.

    To reduce strain and sprain injuries, employers need an ergonomic safety solution that consistently improves the way employees move on the job. Because this can be very difficult to teach in a one-time training session, a wearable device that measures and helps to improve posture in real-time can be a game changer in injury prevention.

    Using sensor technology, an ergonomic wearable device is able to detect high-risk postures as they are occurring. The device can alert a worker when they’re bending or twisting improperly, or overextending their spine, so they can correct the risky behavior and create new habits before developing a sprain or strain injury.

    As workers reduce the frequency of high-risk postures, over time, workplace injury rates decrease.


    High-risk postures can contribute to strain and sprain injuries in the workplace. By understanding what these postures are, how they contribute to injuries, and what you can do to prevent them, employers can help to create a safer and more productive work environment for the frontline workforce.

    Safeguarding the Aging Workforce

    As the American workforce continues to evolve, one notable trend is the increasing number of older workers choosing to remain active and engaged in their professions. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the number of workers aged 65 and older is projected to grow faster than any other age group between now and 2028. With this demographic shift, it becomes crucial for employers to pay special attention to workplace safety for the aging workforce.

    A Valuable Asset

    Older workers bring experience, expertise, and wisdom to the workplace. They often possess valuable skills, institutional knowledge, and strong work ethics. Employers who embrace and support the aging workforce can benefit from their dedication, reduced turnover rates, and a positive impact on workplace culture. However, it’s vital to recognize aging workers may face unique challenges when it comes to workplace safety.

    According to the latest data from the BLS, the number of workers aged 65 and older experiencing work-related injuries has been steadily increasing. In 2019, the injury rate for this age group was 10% higher than the overall rate for all workers. This statistic sheds light on the urgent need to address workplace safety concerns specific to older employees.

    Top Work-Related Injuries for Employees 65 and Older

    Slips, Trips, and Falls – 48%*
    Falls are the most common workplace accidents for older employees, accounting for a significant portion of injuries. Factors such as reduced balance, diminished vision, and slower reflexes can contribute to a higher susceptibility.

    Overexertion – 24%*
    Overexertion and strains are common among aging workers due to changes in physical strength and flexibility. Lifting heavy objects or engaging in repetitive motions can lead to sprains, strains, and other musculoskeletal injuries.

    *Bureau of Labor Statistics

    Frontline Workers Lead the Trend

    While an aging labor force affects businesses across the U.S. economy, the trend is particularly taxing on the industrial sectors due to an older-than-average workforce.

    Frontline Workforce Average Ages

    Manufacturing → 44.3*
    The manufacturing workforce is older, and aging faster, than the overall U.S. labor force with over one quarter of the manufacturing workforce being 55 or older.

    Transportation & Warehousing → 42.8*
    The median age of truck drivers is well above the national average of all workers.

    Skilled Nursing & Residential Care Facilities→ 43.6*
    According to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, as of 2020, approximately 54% of registered nurses in the United States were aged 50 or older.

    *Bureau of Labor Statistics

    In frontline jobs, employees of all ages typically perform tasks that put them at higher risk of strain and sprain injury, such as lifting heavy loads, performing repetitive motions, and maintaining tiring or awkward positions. Strain and sprain injuries can result over time, and older workers may report more injuries since they’ve had more time for conditions to develop. 

    To maintain the quality, productive labor force necessary for successful operations, employers need to prioritize workplace safety measures tailored to the needs of older workers.

    Keeping the Aging Frontline Workforce Safe

    Creating a safe work environment is a shared responsibility between employers and employees. Here are some key ways employers can reduce the risk of work-related injuries for older workers.

    Reducing Overexertion

    • Design workstations for ergonomics and modify job tasks that require awkward postures or excess bending, twisting, or reaching.
    • Reduce the strain of prolonged standing, possibly with a sit/stand chair or anti-fatigue mat.
    • Ensure adequate rest breaks and encourage stretching exercises.

    Preventing Slips and Falls

    • Regularly inspect and maintain walkways, floors, and stairs
    • Install handrails and slip-resistant flooring and stairs.
    • Improve lighting and color contras.
    • Promote awareness of appropriate footwear; consider a slip-resistant shoe program.
    • Eliminate elevation changes over 1/4 inch.

    Creating a Culture of Safety

    • Provide safety training programs tailored to the needs of older workers, such as lifting techniques, proper body mechanics, and safe driving practices.
    • Offer flexible work arrangements, such as modified schedules or rotating job tasks, to accommodate the changing needs and capabilities of older employees.

    Wearable Safety Tech: Empowering Workers of All Ages

    Wearable safety technology transcends age and serves as a powerful tool to enhance workplace safety and productivity for all employees. However, it can be particularly beneficial for the aging workforce, contributing to improved ergonomics, increased safety, and enhanced productivity.

    Whether it’s lifting heavy objects, bending, or reaching, wearables offer continuous coaching and real-time feedback to workers of all ages, helping them maintain proper techniques and minimize the risk of injuries.

    Additionally, a wearable safety solution provides employers with actionable insights into specific ergonomic risks present in the workplace. By utilizing data collected from wearables, employers can identify areas for improvement and take proactive measures to mitigate potential hazards.

    Benefits by the Numbers

    Wearables can reduce the frequency of workplace injuries by 55%.*
    The devices act as a proactive measure, preventing ergonomic injuries and promoting a safer working environment. This leads to reduced claims costs and workers’ compensation premiums.

    Wearables have been found to decrease lost work days by up to 72%.*
    The devices reduce the rate of worker absences resulting from injuries, leading to cost savings for employers.

    *Perr&Knight report


    By addressing the unique challenges faced by older workers and implementing proactive solutions, employers can create a safer work environment that promotes the longevity, productivity, and overall satisfaction of their aging workforce. It can also pay off in an organization’s bottom line. Leveraging wearables, along with ergonomic practices and a culture of safety, empowers workers of all ages to thrive while ensuring a safer future for the entire workforce. 

    The Kinetic wearable safety platform is proven to reduce workplace injuries by 55% and lost work days by 72%. Provided to Kinetic policyholders at no extra cost, the Kinetic Reflex detects high-risk behaviors and provides data-driven insights to help protect workers and enhance the bottom line.

    Learn more about smarter insurance coverage that keeps workers safe and reduces costs today!

    Mastering Incident Response and Investigation: Essential Tips for Effective Workplace Safety

    Have you equipped your clients with tips to ensure a successful incident response and investigation process when an employee experiences a work-related injury? 

    Proper response and investigation of accidents and near misses are key elements of a comprehensive injury-prevention program. Effective incident investigation can:

    • prevent future incidents and injuries through lessons learned
    • protect your clients from legal liabilities and costly insurance claims
    • promote positive workplace morale through a commitment to worker safety

    Here are some tips to share with clients to help them successfully respond to and investigate workplace incidents:

    1. Establish an incident response plan

    It’s vital that all incidents be reported immediately and investigated properly. Encourage clients to create a formal incident response plan that outlines the steps to be taken in the event of an incident. This should include everything from emergency contact information and reporting procedures to instructions for securing the scene and a list of key personnel to be involved in the investigation. 

    Additionally, an accident-reporting form ensures proper information is collected during the investigation. Insurance carriers may provide sample forms for policyholders – ask your representative about this loss-control tool

    2. Preserve the scene

    After an incident occurs, it’s important to preserve the scene as much as possible until investigators arrive. This includes securing the area to prevent material and evidence from being removed or accidentally altered, and avoiding any actions that could cause further damage. Encourage your clients to designate someone to oversee the scene until investigators arrive and to document any actions taken to preserve the scene.

    3. Collect Information

    Gathering information from witnesses and employees involved in the incident is key to establishing a clear picture of what happened. Employers should document the names and contact information of any witnesses, as well as any statements they provide. Employees involved in the incident should be asked to provide a detailed account of what happened, including any contributing factors or hazards that may have been present.

    Other types of information to collect include: 

    • manuals and maintenance schedules/logs for equipment involved in the incident
    • relevant company policies or records, such as safety procedures or training programs
    • training records for employees involved in the incident
    • relevant safety audits or inspections
    • previous recommendations made by investigators or safety consultants
    • related police reports

    4. Document the incident

    By documenting everything related to the incident, your clients can ensure investigators have all the information they need to identify the root cause of the incident and take steps to prevent future occurrences. This documentation should include:

    • as many facts as possible related to the incident, including the date, time and location
    • names and contact information of all parties involved and witnesses
    • the nature of any injuries or damage resulting from the incident

    Also encourage clients to take photos, videos or sketch the scene of the incident, and to fill out the incident report form with as much detail as possible.

    5. Determine root causes

    Determining the underlying reason why an incident occurred is the most effective way to ensure it doesn’t happen again. This involves looking beyond the obvious cause of the accident to uncover any underlying causes. 

    TIP: To best determine the root cause, ask the question “Why?” at least five times. Start with, “Why did this incident happen?” For every answer to that question, ask “why” again. The root cause will typically be uncovered after the fifth time the question is asked. Understanding the “why” can lead to effective recommendations for corrective action.

    6. Communicate with your insurance carrier

    Encourage clients to make communicating with their insurance carrier a top priority after an incident occurs for a smoother claims process and to take advantage of resources. Carriers may offer guidance on the claims process, such as what information needs to be provided and what steps need to be taken, as well as resources to help with incident investigation and prevention.

    Additionally, many policies require incidents to be reported to the carrier within a certain timeframe, so timely communication can help ensure clients fulfill their contractual obligations.

    7. Implement corrective actions

    Incident response and investigation is an opportunity for employers to continuously improve their safety programs. Identifying and implementing corrective actions helps to prevent repeat accidents and ensure employees feel safe and valued. 

    Corrective actions can take many forms, including changes to equipment, procedures or training programs. It’s important they are specific, measurable and actionable so progress can be tracked and goals achieved.

    Employers should also regularly review and update their incident response plan so it remains relevant and effective in preventing future incidents.

    Maximizing Incident Response and Investigation

    By following these tips, your clients can ensure they have an effective incident response plan in place, gather the necessary information to determine root causes and take steps to prevent future occurrences. As a risk management partner, you can guide your clients through this process and help them protect both their employees and their business.

    Trust Kinetic and our partner Nationwide to provide you with incident response and investigation support that prioritizes the well-being of your employees and helps control costs. 

    Contact us today to learn more about how we support agents and employers in risk management.

    Minimize Potential Loss with a Return-to-Work Program

    Injuries can happen in any workplace, even with the best safety measures established. When an employee is injured, it’s essential to have a plan to help them get back to work as soon as possible while minimizing the costs associated with the injury. A return-to-work program is the solution.

    What is a return-to-work program?

    A return-to-work program is an employer-implemented program designed to return injured, disabled or temporarily impaired workers to the workplace as soon as medically possible. It  enables an employee to resume work while adhering to a physician’s recommended work conditions or restrictions. Transitional or modified duties, which are temporary and productive work tasks, may be provided to facilitate the employee’s gradual, unrestricted return to work.

    To create successful return-to-work programs, employers should take a proactive approach by developing a program before it is necessary. Collaborating with medical providers helps to establish appropriately modified work restrictions for each individual.

    Benefits for employers and employees

    A return-to-work program provides several benefits for employees. It can help to:

    • Maintain financial stability 
    • Preserve long-term earning power
    • Speed medical recovery 
    • Reduce the risk of re-injury 
    • Provide a sense of job security
    • Reduce depression that can result from a prolonged absence from work

    Return-to-work programs also offer advantages for employers, such as:

    • Reduced claims costs and insurance premiums
    • Increased productivity through reduced work delays and business interruptions 
    • Reduced recruitment and hiring costs
    • Enhanced employee morale and retention

    Key elements of a return-to-work program

    For a well-designed return-to-work program that will help employees get back to work with confidence and success, employers should include the following components:

    1. A written return-to-work policy and procedures. These should spell out each person’s responsibility in the process, including safety personnel, human resources, supervisors and employees.
    1. Regular communication with an injured employee. After an injured employee has received medical care, management should call or visit them within 24 hours and maintain frequent contact throughout the injury.
    1. A discussion of the return-to-work program with the authorized treatment provider. Without a discussion of restricted or modified duties, the attending physician may assume the employee is not capable of performing any work at all.
    1. Identification of accommodations. Based on the employee’s limitations and abilities, employers can identify any necessary accommodations to make their return to work a success, such as modifications to the workspace, job duties or schedule. 
    1. Progress monitoring. Regular check-ins and performance evaluations help ensure the employee is successfully reintegrating into the workplace and allow for any needed plan adjustments.
    1. A celebration of the return to work. When the employee resumes work, acknowledge their hard work and dedication throughout the process to boost morale and demonstrate that the organization values employee well-being.

    Successfully navigating modified duty

    Modified duty allows injured employees to return or remain at work, performing physically-appropriate duties. When considering modified duty, the employer should work with the authorized treatment provider and their claims representative to determine the best possible solution for each specific worker. Considerations may include: 

    • Comparing the employee’s functional capabilities to the job requirements
    • Deciding to what extent the job can be modified
    • Identifying other modified-duty opportunities on a limited or full-time basis 

    Employers can take a positive approach to modified duty by focusing on what employees can do, rather than tasks they can’t perform. This might include:

    • Assigning meaningful duties so injured employees maintain their dignity
    • Revising current job descriptions to include only necessary tasks
    • Assigning tasks that may have been put off because nobody had time to do them
    • Temporarily reassigning tasks to free up other employees
    • Ensuring employees and their co-workers fully understand this is temporary work

    Modified duty assignments should be reviewed regularly in cooperation with the employer’s claims representative and the authorized treatment provider, and shouldn’t last more than a few months for any employee.

    Putting return-to-work into place

    When initiating a return-to-work program, employers need to train employees and supervisors on injury reporting and the program to make sure everyone understands the process and the benefits. Alternative temporary job duties should be established before a work-related injury occurs. Finally, employers should regularly monitor the program for effectiveness and make changes as necessary.

    Through our partnership with Nationwide, Kinetic policyholders receive access to a convenient Return-to-Work Program template and step-by-step implementation checklist to guide them through the process of putting a program in place. It includes steps to take both before and after an injury occurs to help facilitate positive outcomes for employees and the business.

    Contact us today to learn more about how we help agents and employers manage risk.

    Hiring for Workers’ Comp Cost Containment: 10 Key Steps

    Hiring the right employees is essential for any business, but it’s particularly critical when it comes to workplace safety. Implementing a comprehensive hiring process can help reduce the risk of work-related injuries, which can save employers a significant amount of money in workers’ compensation costs.

    Why Hiring for Safety is Important

    Hiring employees who can safely perform their job duties is crucial for several reasons. 

    Work-related injuries:

    • can be costly for employers – according to the National Safety Council, the total cost of work-related injuries in the US in 2018 was $170.8 billion. These costs can include medical expenses, lost productivity and workers’ compensation claims. 
    • can impact employee morale and productivity – when employees feel unsafe at work, they may be less motivated to perform their duties, leading to lower productivity and decreased job satisfaction. 
    • can damage a company’s reputation – this can make it difficult to retain valuable employees and attract new talent.

    Hiring employees who can perform their job duties safely can help prevent these issues and ensure a more productive and profitable business.

    Steps to Ensure Workplace Safety During the Hiring Process

    To ensure an applicant can safely perform the required tasks of a job, employers should take specific steps during the hiring process.

    Before-Hiring – Prepare

    1. Understand Legal & Company Guidelines: It’s important to note there may be legal or company restrictions on the types of pre-employment screenings employers can use when hiring. To ensure compliance, employers should talk to their human resources professional or industry trade association consultant to find out what steps they may legally take to screen applicants in their state, and understand company policies regarding conducting physical exams and tests, accessing candidates’ motor vehicle records and performing background checks.

    2. Conduct a Job Analysis: Employers should identify the essential functions of the job and the physical demands required to perform those functions safely. A job analysis can help employers identify any potential hazards or risks associated with the job and determine the necessary skills and abilities required to perform the job duties safely. This information can be used to create a detailed job description that accurately reflects the job’s physical demands and any potential risks associated with it.

    3. Prepare a Detailed Job Description: A job description should include information about the physical demands of the job, any potential hazards or risks associated with the job and any necessary safety equipment or training required to perform the job safely. Providing candidates with a detailed job description can help ensure applicants are aware of the potential risks associated with the job and can make an informed decision about whether or not to apply for the position.

    During Hiring – Screen

    4. Require a Resume & Written Application: To determine whether an applicant meets the qualifications for the position, employers should ask for a resume and written application. A resume can provide valuable information about an applicant’s work history, skills and education, while a written application can provide additional information about an applicant’s qualifications, work experience and any relevant certifications or licenses. 

    5. Consider an Applicant’s Safety Record: Employers should consider an applicant’s safety record when making hiring decisions. Applicants with a history of work-related injuries or accidents may be at a higher risk of injury, which can increase workers’ compensation costs for the employer. Employers can check an applicant’s safety record by contacting their previous employers and reviewing any workers’ compensation claims or safety violations.

    6. Follow Interview Best Practices: It’s best to conduct in-person interviews, asking only job-related questions that deal with the essential functions of the job. It’s also a good idea for employers to take notes to help them remember key details and make informed hiring decisions later on. If necessary, they can incorporate skills testing to ensure the candidate has the necessary skills to perform the job. Employers should also verify work history by contacting former employers and checking references, and confirm an applicant’s educational background.

    After Hiring – Reduce Risk

    7. Request Feedback: Employers can solicit feedback from new hires after 90 days on the job to gain insight into their perception of the job, strengths and developmental areas and situations that might affect their ability to perform the job. This can help identify areas where employers can improve their hiring and training processes, as well as identify potential safety concerns that may have been overlooked. It also shows employees their opinions and experiences are valued, which can help foster a positive work environment and encourage employees to prioritize safety. 

    8. Provide Ongoing Safety Training: Once an employee is hired, it’s important to provide them with thorough training on how to perform their job safely and effectively. This includes demonstrating proper techniques for handling equipment, ergonomic coaching, explaining safety procedures and protocols, and providing guidance on how to avoid potential hazards. Regular refresher training can help reinforce these safety measures and reduce the risk of accidents or injuries, and wearable safety programs can provide continuous coaching to further reduce risk. 

    9. Conduct Regular Safety Inspections: Conducting regular safety inspections of the workplace can help employers proactively identify potential hazards and prevent accidents from occurring. Inspections should include identifying potential tripping hazards, checking for proper lighting and ventilation, ensuring the use of appropriate personal protective equipment, and verifying that machinery and equipment are functioning properly. 

    10. Encourage a culture of safety: Creating a culture of safety within the workplace can help promote safe behaviors and reduce the risk of accidents and injuries. This includes encouraging employees to report safety concerns or near-misses, providing incentives for safe behaviors and recognizing employees who prioritize safety. By making safety a top priority and involving employees in the process, employers can create a culture where safety is valued and prioritized.

    By implementing these steps, employers can reduce the risk of work-related injuries and lower workers’ compensation costs, leading to a more productive and profitable business. Remember, investing in workplace safety not only benefits a business’s employees, but also benefits a company’s bottom line.

    Discover Our Loss Control Services, Powered by Nationwide

    Preventing workplace injuries before they happen is one of the best strategies employers and insurance professionals can implement to reduce workers’ compensation claims and costs.

    That’s why we work with our partner Nationwide to provide policyholders with specialized loss control services designed to create safer workplaces and prevent costly injuries. Insureds receive personalized help in uncovering their specific loss control needs, mitigating future losses and reducing their premiums to save money.

    Effective risk management services and resources

    Our risk management experts work directly with policyholders to implement programs and tools that help to keep their workforce safe and injury-free. For convenience and accessibility, services are available virtually, by phone or in person. They range from online safety resources and training to help keep workers safe to account-specific data reports and consulting services that identify and reduce hazards.  

    Services and resources are designed to minimize the possibility that a workplace injury will occur and reduce the severity of those that do occur. 

    Onsite and Virtual Safety Training: Policyholders have access to education opportunities for employees on workplace hazards and preventative controls, including on-demand videos developed by Nationwide risk management professionals, the SafetySource video library, recorded webinars, virtual and in-person training courses and free regional seminars hosted annually. 

    Online Safety and Risk Management Resources: Employers receive 24/7 access to online tools to help them manage risk, including articles and tools on employee safety, such as safety checklists, fact sheets and compliance program templates. Other online resources include compliance and safety and risk management programs, eModules with important tools and templates for written safety programs and procedures, and eLinks for easy access to helpful resources and websites.

    Comprehensive Loss Data: In-depth data on locations and types of losses is available, including account-specific data analytics, loss trends and data reports and loss history analysis to help policyholders track losses by location, operation or division. 

    Risk Assessment Services: Policyholders can work with their account managers for evaluations of exposures and controls, including reviews of their return-to-work programs and claims reporting procedures. Additionally, account and claims reviews, on-site safety evaluations and accident investigation assistance are available.

    Wearable safety program, included at no extra cost

    To further mitigate losses, Kinetic policyholders can receive free, proven wearable safety technology that prevents strains and sprains, a leading cause of workplace injuries. Our team works with policyholders to deploy the Kinetic Reflex wearable safety program among employees determined to be at the highest risk, based on injury data. Insureds leveraging the tech can expect a 55% decrease in injury frequency among participants, and up to a 50% reduction in claims costs.

    Real-Time Alerts for High-Risk Postures: Reflex measures how the body moves, determining if an unsafe movement or high-risk posture has occurred. Workers receive continuous coaching with a light vibration every time a high-risk posture is performed. The alerts, along with goal and reward functions, create new habits and drive sustained behavior change.

    Actionable Data Insights: Employers receive granular insight into potentially injury-causing, high-risk behaviors occurring among their workforce. Data from Reflex can be viewed on a web dashboard that provides actionable insights, such as which employees might need more training, or what jobs and locations are the highest risk. This allows employers to focus on coaching opportunities with individuals and groups that will benefit most, and workstation and work process redesigns.

    Tech Deployment & Support: Policyholders receive full, ongoing tech support to make deploying and managing Reflex easy and effective, leading to valuable dividend benefits. Our dedicated tech operations team provides device onboarding services, virtual and onsite tech training for employees and management, access to a training video library and ongoing program review and assistance.

    What is the Kinetic Reflex Wearable Platform?

    Learn more about Reflex, our smart wearable and software analytics platform that helps protect frontline workers and enhance companies’ bottom lines.

    Trust Kinetic and Nationwide to provide you with reliable and efficient loss control services that prioritize the well-being of your employees and control costs. 

    Contact us today to learn more about how we support employers in risk management.

    How We Manage Risk in the Healthcare Sector

    We recently sat down with Troy Fenderson, our VP of Insurance Operations, to talk about managing risk in the healthcare sector. Troy has over 25 years of experience managing large healthcare risks from the perspective of workers’ comp, with a primary focus on loss prevention services and loss mitigation post-injury. His experience includes managing risk for the largest skilled nursing, assisted living and independent living organization in the country, with approximately 300 communities across the US.

    Q. How does your expertise in the healthcare sector set Kinetic apart as a workers’ comp provider in this space?

    A. After nearly three decades working in workers’ comp for long-term care, I really understand the industry and its risk factors. I understand the workload the nursing staff encounters with repositioning patients, resident transfers and assisting with patient mobility. This deep understanding and experience is a key differentiator for Kinetic because it allows us to truly understand the major loss sources specific to this sector, as well as critical risk mitigation practices to reduce or eliminate those losses.

    I also bring extensive experience in what to do when an injury occurs, from obtaining medical assistance for the injured worker to initiating return-to-work programs or transitional duty programs. This greatly informs our post-injury loss mitigation capabilities.

    Q. What major loss sources are identified with healthcare workers’ comp claims and how does Kinetic address them?

    A. There are three main loss sources: soft tissue strain and sprain injuries that result from patient transfers and repositioning; slips and falls; and managing aggressive behavior.

    Strain and sprain injuries are the driving loss source behind most injuries in the healthcare field, and they’re what we’re primarily focused on at Kinetic in terms of risk prevention. We offer expertise in this risk factor in the long-term care sector, plus our policies include free wearable technology that helps mitigate exposure to strain and sprain injuries. 

    We also help our clients address loss sources outside strains and sprains through our Nationwide partner, which has many experts in the loss control field.

    Q. How does Kinetic’s wearable tech help mitigate exposure to strain and sprain injuries in this field?

    A. Practitioners working across healthcare communities, from skilled nursing to assisted living to independent living, are engaged in patient mobility activities. These include transferring, repositioning and ambulating patients, often in awkward positions. They can involve repetitive strain and overexertion, including excessive bending, twisting and reaching. Our technology specifically addresses these high-risk postures that can lead to a strain and sprain injury.

    When a nurse performs an unsafe movement, like an improper bend or overreach when moving a patient, the device vibrates to alert the worker. This allows them to self-correct and over time actually changes the way the worker moves on the job. As unsafe movements are reduced across the workforce, injury rates are reduced too.  

    Q. In this sector, who can benefit most from the Kinetic wearable device? 

    A. A really good use of our device is for nurses tasked with a lot of manual labor. So for example, practitioners in assisted living communities where the residents are mostly ambulatory, but still require nursing support from time to time, or as they progress towards needing skilled nursing care, benefit greatly from the wearable. Certified Nurse Assistants especially, who are performing the bulk of patient mobility activities, can greatly reduce their high-risk postures that can lead to injury with our safety wearable.

    However, any healthcare worker performing lifts, transfers and repositioning, at any style of community, can benefit from the device. And within these communities, the benefits are applicable beyond nurses with housekeeping, dining services and maintenance employees also able to take advantage of the continuous coaching around risky movements performed while doing physically demanding daily tasks.

    Q. What other advantages do healthcare employers gain from a work comp policy that includes safety tech?

    A. Reduced injury rates are definitely the primary advantage, as they translate not only to a healthier and happier workforce but to significant cost savings and increased productivity. As injuries go down, claims go down, which allows employers to save on their premiums. We also offer a dividend program that rewards employers for their safety efforts. 

    Beyond the worker behavior changes that result from the tech’s real-time alerts, operators also benefit from the data they collect, which offers management actionable insights. They can identify which employees might benefit from additional safety training, and gain a greater understanding of which job type is driving the most risk. This new data can then be used to further reduce or eliminate hazards.

    Finally, the utilization of our safety device helps build an organization’s safety culture by empowering employees to engage in the safety process.

    Kinetic wearable technology has been proven to reduce workplace injuries by 55% and lost work days by 72%. Provided to policyholders at no extra cost, the Kinetic Reflex detects high-risk behaviors and provides data-driven insights to help protect workers and enhance the bottom line. 

    Learn more about smarter workers’ comp insurance coverage that keeps workers safe and reduces costs today!

    An infographic highlighting strain and sprain statistics from the Healthcare industry based on 2020 National Council on Compensation Insurance data for Nursing Homes, Senior Living and Home Healthcare Injuries & Claims

    6 Ways to Help Clients Lower Ex-Mod 

    A high ex-mod – or experience modification factor – drives up workers’ comp insurance premiums. However, as an agent or broker, you can play a critical role in helping clients understand and manage their ex-mod effectively. 

    Following are strategies for helping clients achieve better outcomes and build stronger, safer businesses – even those with employees in high-risk environments. But first, let’s review what is ex-mod.

    A Quick Ex-Mod-Primer

    Experience modification is a calculation used by insurance companies to adjust a company’s workers’ comp premiums based on their claims history. Essentially, it compares a company’s actual claims experience to what would be expected for its industry and size. 

    • If a company has more claims than expected, its ex-mod score will be higher, and its premiums will increase. 
    • If a company has fewer claims than expected, its ex-mod score will be lower, and its premiums will decrease.

    Ex-mods are calculated based on a full 3-year period starting 4 years before a current policy effective date. So the current year and previous year are not included.

    A Low Ex-Mod is a Great Advantage

    In today’s crowded marketplace, helping clients lower their insurance premiums can be a significant competitive advantage. Cost savings are a powerful incentive for clients to stay with an agent or switch to one that can offer better rates. 

    So how can you help clients lower their ex-mods and premium costs? Here are 6 key strategies:

    1 – Analyze Claims Data

    Review claims data regularly to identify trends and areas of concern in clients’ workplace safety practices. This data can help you understand the types of injuries occurring and the underlying causes, which can inform the development of targeted safety programs to prevent injuries.

    For example, if the claims data shows a client’s employees are experiencing a high number of back injuries, you can recommend programs and resources to address this issue, such as ergonomic safety technology, safe lifting techniques or changes in the layout of the work area. 

    Analyzing claims data can also help you identify areas that need improvement. For instance, if the data shows a client’s employees are experiencing a high number of slips, trips and falls, you can work with them to uncover the root causes of these incidents and develop a plan to address them.

    2 – Recommend a Safety Program

    Recommend safety programs specific to clients’ industries and needs to reduce the frequency and severity of workplace injuries. First, assess your clients’ current safety practices – analyze claims data, review safety policies and procedures and conduct safety audits. 

    Then, suggest applicable programs such as safety training sessions for employees and management, consulting services to help identify workplace hazards and technology and equipment recommendations to reduce the risk of injury. 

    For example, if you work with a healthcare employer you may recommend employee training for safe patient handling and wearable safety technology to actively help improve care providers’ posture on the job. Wearables can serve as a real-time coach, alerting employees when they move in a risky way and helping to change behavior over time. Additionally, data collected by the devices can uncover areas that would benefit most from specific training.

    3 – Provide Risk Management Advice

    Offer guidance on how to identify and control risks, respond to workplace injuries and manage claims effectively to help clients develop a proactive approach to risk management and workplace safety.

    Gain a thorough understanding of the businesses and specific risks associated with your clients’ industries through site visits and consultations. Then based on your assessment, offer targeted risk management advice.

    For example, if you work with a manufacturing company you may provide suggestions on how to identify and control potential hazards on the production line, such as proper equipment maintenance and employee training on the safe use of machinery

    4 – Encourage Timely Reporting & Investigation

    Encourage timely claims reporting and investigation to help clients avoid common mistakes that can lead to higher ex-mod scores and work comp premiums. For example, failing to report a workplace injury promptly or conducting an incomplete investigation can result in delayed or inaccurate claims payments, which can lead to disputes and appeals that can drive up ex-mod. 

    You can also help clients establish clear reporting procedures for workplace injuries and educate employees on the importance of reporting injuries promptly. Additionally, work with clients to develop effective investigation protocols and provide training on how to conduct thorough investigations.

    5 – Advocate for Fair Claims Handling

    Work closely with your clients and their insurance carriers to ensure claims are handled fairly and efficiently. This includes advocating for the injured employee to receive timely and appropriate medical care and ensuring the claims process is transparent and fair. 

    One key strategy for lowering ex-mod is to help injured employees return to work as soon as medically possible. Encourage clients to work with their insurance carrier and medical providers to develop a return-to-work plan that supports injured employees while also minimizing the impact on ex-mod.

    Additionally, work with clients to monitor the progress of their claims and ensure they’re resolved as quickly as possible. This may include following up with insurance carriers and medical providers to ensure claims are moving forward and addressing any issues or delays that arise.

    6 – Provide Ex-Mod Education

    Finally, educate your clients on what ex-mod is and how it affects their workers’ comp premiums. Many employers aren’t familiar with the concept or how it’s calculated, and may not be aware of the impact their claims history has on their workers’ comp costs. Education may include:  

    • Explaining how the experience rating system works
    • Providing information on the three-year claims history used to calculate ex-mod
    • Communicating the importance of timely reporting and investigation of claims
    • Discussing the impact workplace safety and risk management practices can have on ex-mod

    By implementing these strategies you can help your clients achieve a much lower ex-mod in just a few years, which can translate to significant premium cost savings. Furthermore, clients who implement effective safety programs may be more attractive to insurers, which can help them secure better rates and coverage options.

    And remember, helping clients lower their insurance premiums benefits you as well. You’ll build long-term relationships with your clients and better attract and retain business.

    Dispelling Common Misconceptions of Workplace Safety Programs 

    Workplace safety programs help protect employees from accidents and injuries, which can result in costly workers’ compensation claims and lost productivity. However, many misconceptions surrounding these programs prevent companies from implementing them effectively. 

    Here are a few false impressions operations teams and workers often have about workplace safety programs and why they’re not the whole picture.

    Misconception #1: It’s too expensive.

    A common misunderstanding is that implementing a workplace safety program is expensive. Employers often see budgetary constraints as an obstacle, and operators may be unaware of the costly consequences of workplace injuries or uninformed about the return on investment that a workplace safety program can provide.

    These programs, however, are an investment in a company’s long-term success. Reducing the likelihood of accidents and injuries saves employers money on workers’ compensation claims, medical expenses, non-compliance fines and lost productivity. In fact, studies have shown that for every $1 invested in workplace safety programs, companies can save up to $6 in costs related to workplace injuries.

    Misconception #2: It will take up too much time. 

    High-performing teams focused on ‘getting the job done’ may believe that implementing something new, such as a workplace safety program or safety technology, will take too much time. They think they simply can’t afford to divert resources from other tasks. 

    However, workplace safety programs don’t have to slow teams down. With the right tools and resources, companies can implement effective safety programs that don’t require significant time. Furthermore, safety programs have proven to increase productivity by reducing absenteeism, raising morale, improving operational efficiency and reducing turnover.

    Misconception #3: Nothing bad will happen. 

    Employers often resist implementing a new safety program because they believe nothing bad will happen. They may not recognize risky behaviors as unsafe, feel confident because accidents and injuries have not occurred previously or think ‘things have always been done this way.’

    This reactive approach to workplace safety can be costly in the long term. Safety programs can identify potential hazards in the workplace and implement measures to prevent accidents and injuries before they occur. By being proactive about risk prevention, companies protect their workforce, create a culture of safety, improve productivity and enhance the bottom line. 

    Misconception #4: Our company isn’t big enough.

    Companies may believe workplace safety programs are only for large companies with extensive resources. This misconception can lead to serious consequences. Workplace accidents and injuries can be just as costly and disruptive for mid- and small-sized businesses as they are for larger ones, and in some cases, may even be more so.

    Tailored programs can meet the specific needs and resources of any size company. Small and mid-sized operations may benefit even more from a customized approach to safety, as they might implement changes more quickly and efficiently than larger organizations. And they’ll reap all the same benefits!

    Overcoming Misconceptions

    Overcoming these misbeliefs is critical to the success of workplace safety programs. Companies must recognize their benefits and understand they’re not only necessary for legal compliance, but also for improving productivity, reducing costs and creating a positive company culture that values the health and well-being of its employees.

    As trusted advisors, insurance professionals can play a crucial role in educating companies on the benefits of workplace safety programs and dispelling these misconceptions. By working with clients to identify potential hazards and implement effective programs, brokers and agents can help companies create safer, healthier and more successful organizations.

    The Kinetic wearable safety platform is proven to reduce workplace injuries by 50-60% and lost work days by 72%. Provided to policyholders at no extra cost, the Kinetic Reflex detects high-risk behaviors and provides data-driven insights to help protect workers and enhance the bottom line. 

    Learn more about smarter insurance coverage that keeps workers safe and reduces costs today!

    Do You Know About Our Claims Services, Powered by Nationwide?

    Dealing with a workplace injury can be overwhelming, and it’s important to have a reliable and efficient process in place for filing a workers’ compensation claim. That’s where our claims services come in.

    Through our partnership with Nationwide, Kinetic policyholders receive personalized support and comprehensive resources to make navigating the claims process as smooth and hassle-free as possible. With robust digital capabilities and dedicated Claims Account Managers, employers are guided every step of the way.

    Easy, effective claims reporting and management

    The Nationwide claims team understands the importance of addressing the immediate needs of an injured employee while also handling the necessary paperwork and processes. That’s why we offer convenient ways to report claims online and by phone, email or fax.


     Report all workplace injuries or illnesses immediately to help keep workers’ comp costs down.

     Don’t Wait: 5 Key Reasons to Report Workplace Injury Promptly


    Once a claim has been submitted, employers receive the support of an experienced claims professional to help them navigate the workers’ compensation benefits process and answer questions. They also have access to claims management resources designed to ensure injured employees receive the proper medical care and attention they need to recover and return to work safely and as soon as possible. These include:

    24/7 Nurse Triage: If a policyholder is unsure if medical treatment is required for an injury, or what type is needed, they can contact the Nationwide Nurse Triage Hotline. Registered nurses can help to determine an effective course of action and assist in coordinating initial care by an appropriate authorized provider.

    First Fill: This program allows injured workers to fill prescriptions written by an authorized workers’ compensation physician for medications related to their injury before workers’ compensation is established and with no out-of-pocket expenses on their first prescription.

    Successful Return-to-Work: Policyholders have access to a sample interactive program that can serve as the framework for building a return-to-work program. It includes steps to take both before and after an injury occurs to help facilitate positive outcomes for employees and the business.


    Leverage nurse triage services to help control and minimize workplace injuries and their related costs.

    Get In Front of Workers’ Comp Claims with Nurse Triage


    Convenient, online resources 

    Confusion and frustration can slow down the claims process. But with easy-to-use tools and information right at their fingertips, policyholders have the help they need to service claims anytime and with ease. Key online resources include:

    The Workers’ Compensation Virtual Toolkit: Policyholders and agents can find  workplace posting requirements, access to state claims offices and other useful state-specific resources in this dynamic tool. It also contains important claims department contact information, instructions and forms. 

    Medical Provider Referral System: Employers can use this directory to quickly locate authorized providers who specialize in treating occupational injuries and are located close to an injured employee’s home or work. 

    Workers’ Compensation Claims FAQs: Policyholders can visit this webpage for answers to frequently asked questions on workers’ compensation from both employers and employees.

    Find more claims reporting best practices that help injured employees receive the best care and support employers in controlling costs.

    Best Practices for Workers’ Compensation Claims Reporting


    Trust Kinetic and Nationwide to provide you with reliable and efficient claims services that prioritize the well-being of your employees. 

    Contact us today to learn more about how we support employers through the workers’ compensation insurance claims process.