Safety First in the Restaurant and Fast Food Industry

Waiter using Kinetic Reflex, a wearable device that detects high risk postures

Restaurants in the United States employ about 14.5 million workers, a workforce that is projected to grow by 400,000 jobs by the end of this year. No matter the type of establishment they’re employed by, from fast food to fine dining, all restaurant workers face injury risks on the job.

A Recipe for Strains & Sprains

While the risks restaurant and fast food employees encounter are varied, including slips and falls, and cuts and burns, strains and sprains are among the most common. Heavy lifting and repetitive motion are often to blame. In the front of the house, lifting or balancing heavy trays of dishes, reaching across tables to serve customers, and moving tables and chairs for customer seating can cause injury to servers and bussers. For kitchen staff, lifting heavy boxes or bags of ingredients, and repetitive tasks like chopping, stirring, and kneading can lead to strain and sprain injuries and claims. 

  • It’s estimated restaurants and fast food employers paid out over $142 million in workers’ comp claims in 2019.
  • Strain & sprain claims are a leading loss driver, representing almost 20% of all claims costs among restaurant and fast food workers. 

(Source: NCCI data for Restaurants & Fast Food in 2019 )

Total strain and sprain claims cost more per claim than the average claim in the restaurant and fast food industry. And indemnity claims for strains and sprains are the most costly. According to the National Council on Compensation Insurance (NCCI) data for restaurants and fast food in 2019:

  • the average workers’ compensation claim cost was $6,403
  • the average strain & sprain claim cost was $9,162
  • the average strain & sprain indemnity claim cost was $9,859

On-the-job injuries impact injured workers with pain and lost work time, and employers with lost productivity and potentially higher workers’ compensation insurance premiums.

Controlling Loss with Wearable Tech

One of the best ways to minimize workers’ compensation claims is to reduce the risk of injuries in the first place. While restaurant workers can be trained to recognize and avoid the risks they face each day, employers can also leverage tech-driven safety solutions such as wearables designed to specifically reduce the awkward postures and repetitive movements that lead to employee strain and sprain injuries. 

When outfitted with wearable devices, workers can receive real-time alerts that drive sustained behavior change. With this continuous coaching method, employees can reduce their high-risk movements. In turn, they experience less soreness and fatigue, are able to keep their pace up for longer, miss less work, and experience greater emotional and mental well-being. 

Beyond driving behavior change that leads to fewer worker injuries, wearable safety devices provide employers with new actionable data that reveal areas most at risk and allow companies to take proactive steps to reduce the risk. The resulting targeted training efforts and workspace or process redesigns lead to a further decrease in injuries.

Reduced injury rates reduce a policyholder’s overall workers’ comp burden. In environments where high strain and sprain injury rates are present, like in the restaurant and fast food industry, wearables can reduce claims costs by 50%. And with fewer claims reported, E-mod scores improve and premium rates go down. Tech-enabled risk prevention, such as a safety wearables program, is truly a win-win for all parties.


Kinetic Insurance, in partnership with Nationwide, is pioneering a technology-driven approach to worker safety that benefits insurance carriers, brokers, and policyholders. Our workers’ compensation offerings lower costs by equipping workers with wearable technology that is proven to reduce injuries by as much as 60% and lost work days by 72%. Want to learn more?

Inquire about being appointed with Kinetic Insurance or connect with our Broker Success Team at info@kinetic-insurance.com.

How Strategic Partnerships and Cutting-Edge Tech are Evolving Workers’ Comp

Jose Cruz, Vice President of Business Development, West at Kinetic Insurance

Our new Leadership Q&A series talks with the leaders of Kinetic, and sheds light on their specific areas of expertise. This edition features Jose Cruz, Vice President of Business Development, West.

We sat down with Jose, who leads our business development and broker distribution in California, Arizona, and Nevada. A workers’ comp industry veteran, Jose has over 15 years of commercial insurance experience in business development, point of sale activities, and revenue generation strategies. In this interview, he talks about Kinetic’s strategic partnerships with brokers and Nationwide Insurance, the value proposition of our wearable technology, and successes and opportunities for the western market. 

Q- You joined the Kinetic Insurance team last year as VP of Business Development in the west, tell us a bit about your role and your experience.

A – My focus over the past nine months has been on cultivating broker distribution in the west, activating agents, managing our limited broker network, and driving revenue. Because what we offer is entirely new – a workers’ comp program that includes wearable tech – it involves a lot of education and branding. I’m also focused on new business generation and retention. 

I’ve been in this industry for 18 years, but the ability to provide technology that aligns with risk management is unique to the insurance industry. It’s the main reason I joined the Kinetic team, along with the deep workers’ comp and underwriting experience of our leadership. This innovative tech and our strategic partnerships with both our brokers and Nationwide Insurance are what makes Kinetic so unique, and what’s allowing us to build a profitable book of business. 

Q – You mentioned Kinetic’s limited broker network, what makes the Kinetic-broker relationship stand out? 

A – We really lean into the importance of broker relationships with our limited distribution strategy, our partnership with Nationwide, and the ability to offer technology as a risk management tool.

This sets us apart in the space and allows our broker partners to offer a truly differentiated program to their clients. In addition, our partnership with Nationwide adds value because it allows us to operate differently from other MGUs. We can offer the support and services of one of the largest national brands in insurance.

We also offer deep credibility with our team of people. Our Vice President of Distribution, Ronnie O’Dell, has decades of workers’ comp experience and the ability to activate and contract brokers overnight. And our underwriting team is led by Steven Schafer, who has a long-successful track record in the industry. All of these things strengthen our relationship with our brokers – and we’re seeing the fruits of that with where we are today.

Q- How does Kinetic’s tech-enabled approach to risk management further strengthen your partnership with appointed brokers?

A- Our cutting-edge wearable tech is something completely different, it’s providing another risk management platform that the insurance industry hasn’t had before. The industry typically has safety consultants from the carrier and agency side performing normalities of risk management from an OSHA compliance perspective. But Kinetic has this tool, this tech that can hone in on a specific area of the body to eliminate injury and mitigate risks. From a cost containment insurance perspective it’s something we just haven’t seen before. 

So the wearables make a big difference to brokers who gain another access point to analyze risk management, and also to policyholders who are always looking at the insurance cost continuum. It adds another dynamic piece that most risk management carriers without technology don’t have because they don’t have the data. 

Q – What successes or trends are you seeing in your region? 

A – Our workers’ comp program and wearables are gaining attention in industries where folks are constantly performing high-risk postures, like parcel delivery (the Amazons and FedExes), the automotive dealership space, and manufacturing. This is where we can really make a difference. 

A success I can point to is our strong, really consistent, forward-thinking underwriting. We have a robust strategy to build profitability, and leadership that understands different states and regions geographically. This is especially important in California where it’s different than other areas.

Q – What’s next for the west market? Any opportunities you’d like to highlight? 

A – We’ll continue to grow the brand of Kinetic and Nationwide! The overall goal is penetration through appointing agencies and identifying practice leaders in the industry segments Kinetic targets, which are ones that benefit from the risk management tool of our technology. This also means continuing to activate our brokers and turning successes into placements of accounts so they can start to get the experience that will lead to more opportunities. 

With Kinetic technology, there’s a real opportunity for insureds who have a risk management mindset or safety culture in place. Or for those who may have some pains and are looking for tools to help with risk management or to create a safety culture. We provide this tool with our wearable tech. It’s game-changing!


Stay tuned for the next edition of our Leadership Q&A series, where we’ll chat with Nationwide’s Vice President of Workers’ Compensation Program Underwriting Dale Hoppe, about Nationwide’s unique partnership with Kinetic and the support and services it provides.

Kinetic Reduces Injury Risk for Nurses at a Residential Healthcare Facility by 58%

Garden Crest Rehabilitation Center has provided short-term rehabilitation and wound care, post-acute hospital care, skilled therapy, and clinical care to the Los Angeles area for over 65 years. Since the beginning, leadership has emphasized taking care of Garden Crest’s team of hardworking caregivers, so that they can best care for patients. 

The company has continued to evolve its workplace safety efforts to keep nurses healthy and safe. With a focus on prevention, they recently turned to Kinetic’s proactive workers’ compensation program, which includes proven safety technology, to help prevent injuries and reduce workers’ compensation claims.

SITUATION

The nurses at Garden Crest, like other workers in the healthcare industry, face a higher than average risk of sprain and strain injuries from labor-intensive work such as manually handling patients. 

Moving and repositioning patients requires repetitive strain and overexertion, including excessive lifting, bending, twisting, and reaching. While Garden Crest provides training and equipment to help move and lift patients, this alone does not completely eliminate risk. 

With nurses employed around the clock at Garden Crest, preventing strain and sprain injuries is a primary safety concern. 

Nurses are especially vulnerable to back injuries, which are the most common and costly type of injury in the sector, resulting in lost work time and expensive workers’ compensation claims.  

     > Compared with other professions, nurses have a six times higher prevalence of back injury. 

      > In long‐term care facilities in the U.S., back injuries among nurses are estimated to cost over $6 million in indemnity and medical payments.

     > Nurses’ compensation for back injury comprises 56% of all indemnity costs and 55% of all medical costs.

National Library of Medicine

SOLUTION

Garden Crest leveraged Kinetic’s wearable safety technology, included free with their workers’ compensation program, to help improve nurses’ body mechanics and lower their risk of injury. Devices were deployed among 50 Registered Nurses, Licensed Vocational Nurses, and Certified Nurse Assistants across three shifts.

To launch the wearable program at Garden Crest, the management team completed a 45-minute virtual training prior to deploying the devices. The training provided the information necessary to explain the benefit of Kinetic tech to their nurses and teach them how to wear their devices properly. 

Nurses wearing the Kinetic device receive a real-time alert when they are bending, twisting, or reaching without proper safety techniques. As such, the belt-mounted device serves as an always-on, continuous coaching system. Employees are empowered to create new habits that drive sustained behavior change with real-time alerts and on-screen data.

A Positive Safety Culture

The Garden Crest Rehabilitation Team

Wearable technology reinforces a positive culture of safety by empowering employees to engage in the safety process.

After a successful deployment of wearables, Garden Crest is planning a recognition program that highlights nurses who embrace the use of their devices and show a desire to improve body mechanics and reduce risk.

“Keeping our nurses safe is a top priority for us. My team and I have seen an improvement in our overall body mechanics due to the implementation of Kinetic’s safety technology, and we will continue to encourage our nurses to stay focused on improving safety.” Jeslyn Castillo LVN, DSD, MDS at Garden Crest Rehabilitation

RESULTS

By combining wearable technology with their existing safety training, Garden Crest has reduced high risk movements among their nurses, which directly helps to prevent workplace injuries and lessen claims. Since the deployment of the Kinetic devices, they have experienced no strain and sprain claims.

Reduced High Risk Movements

After the first month, the median number of high risk postures performed per hour across the entire Garden Crest workforce was reduced by 44%. And in the six months following the initial deployment, consistent usage of the wearable technology led to lasting behavioral change and a 58% reduction of overall risky movements.

Actionable Data Insights

Industry studies show Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs) are at particular risk of injury, due in part to it being an entry-level nursing position. Data Insights from Kinetic devices revealed the average CNA at Garden Crest performs three times as many high risk postures as the other job roles (LVN/RN). Knowing this subsector of their workforce is at the highest risk for injury, the company can emphasize the usage of wearables among these nurses, and provide targeted coaching to further reduce risk.

Carol Ice, Administrator at Garden Crest Rehabilitation

The Kinetic safety devices we received as part of our workers’ comp policy have helped our employees be more aware of how they are bending and stooping as they maneuver patients. So far, we’ve had zero claims while using Kinetic technology.” –Carol Ice, NHA, Administrator at Garden Crest Rehabilitation

CONCLUSION

Through Kinetic’s tech-enabled workers’ comp program, Garden Crest Rehabilitation Center has been able to deploy the same proven safety technology used by Fortune 500 companies and reap the same benefits. The wearable program is reducing high risk movements that directly correlate to reduced injury rates and reduced claims, which can lead to lowered workers’ comp premium costs.

Positive early results in reduced high risk postures are reinforcing the value of all nurses, across all shifts, regularly utilizing the wearable devices. Moving forward, Garden Crest is focused on 100% adoption of the technology and launching an incentive and recognition program for participating nurses. Furthermore, the company is on track to participate in Kinetic’s dividend program, which rewards companies for keeping their workers safe and allows policyholders to recover up to 26% of their policy’s premium.


About Kinetic Insurance

Kinetic Insurance, in partnership with Nationwide, is pioneering a technology-driven approach to worker safety that benefits insurance carriers, brokers, and policyholders. Kinetic workers’ compensation offerings lower costs by equipping workers with wearable technology that is proven to reduce injuries by as much as 60% and lost work days by 72%. 

Want to learn more about Kinetic’s Technology Program?

Call our Tech Ops team at (833) 550-0388 or email info@kinetic-insurance.com.

5 Tips to Increase Wearable Tech Participation

When wearable tech is included in a workers’ compensation policy, it can help insureds create a safer workplace with fewer injuries incurred on the job. This makes for a safer, healthier, and more productive workforce, as well as offers an opportunity for policyholders to save on their workers’ comp premiums. 

To get the most from wearable tech, companies need to ensure the right workers are wearing the devices for the right amount of time. Insurers can use injury data and prior claims to help determine which employees will benefit most from wearing a safety wearable. Typically, it’s those determined to be at the highest risk, based on the highest risk job functions. 

For optimum results, workers must wear the devices regularly. In the companies where we’ve seen the most impact, employees wear the devices for an average of 20 hours per week. To help companies reach this goal – which allows them to reduce injuries and save on premiums – we’ve compiled our top tips for increasing wearable tech participation in the workplace.

Share these 5 tips with clients that are leveraging a tech-enabled workers’ comp program to help them encourage worker adoption:

1. Explain the program’s intent for better worker buy-in

An open dialogue and well-communicated intentions build a strong foundation for success. Early on, let your team know how the devices will and will not be used:

  • Define the intent and goal to reduce high-risk behaviors and prevent workplace injuries.
  • Anticipate and address misconceptions around privacy and data collection, such as whether the device has a microphone, camera, or GPS, and who can see the data.
  • Set realistic expectations. For example, some high-risk behaviors are unavoidable, but data analysis can lead to workplace improvements.

2. Be involved to encourage employee participation

When leadership is engaged in a wearable safety program, workers tend to follow. Lead by example and initiate ongoing conversations about the program.

  • Wear the device and become an expert on how it works.
  • Ask employees why they’re not wearing their devices to discover difficulties.
  • Set goals and offer incentives for participation.

3. Provide proper training

Make it easy for employees to understand exactly how to utilize wearables. Provide workers with thorough introductory training on:

  • How to operate the device, including where to get and return it, how to put it on and wear it, and how to turn it on and off.
  • What risks the device is detecting, how it will notify you of a potential risk, and what to do when it does.  
  • Additional features and functions the device offers, such as progress and goal tracking, gamification, and activity tracking.

4. Work wearables into your existing safety culture

Wearables can work as a complement to existing workplace safety programs and cultures. Consider ways the devices can help build upon and enhance your current program:

  • Present wearables as a personal safety coach.
  • Find ways to fit the new device into your existing routines.
  • Look for ways your data could enhance your current program, like scheduling regular safety meetings or sharing new safety observations.

5. Share wins to highlight ‘what’s in it for me’

Let your team know how wearables are enhancing workplace safety. Communicate:

  • Positive impacts on employees, like individual and group improvements and high participation rates.
  • Positive impacts on the company, such as constructive changes to the workplace and increased productivity and efficiencies.

By helping policyholders increase employee participation in a workers’ comp-provided wearable program, you can help them improve workplace safety and control loss.

Safety First in Warehousing

This month, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) announced a five-year regional initiative to reduce worker injuries and illnesses in the warehousing, storage, and distribution yards industries. The initiative, which focuses on employers in Pennsylvania, Delaware, the District of Columbia, and West Virginia, follows a 2020 Bureau of Labor Statistics finding that the warehousing and storage industry’s injury rate is almost twice that of all private industries. Nearly five of every 100 warehouse workers get injured on the job, compared to nearly three of every 100 private industry workers.

The OSHA program is the latest headline about warehouse worker safety, launched amidst growing reports of the hazardous conditions workers in this sector face every day, including ergonomic risks. In recent years, increased worker productivity requirements have been enforced to keep up with the growing e-commerce demand. This pressure on workers to move at a fast pace leads to muscle strains and repetitive motion injuries.

  • Strain & sprain claims happen 42% of the time in the warehouse/wholesale sector.
  • Strain & sprain claims are a leading loss driver among warehouse/wholesale workers, representing 41% of all claims costs. 

Strain and sprain injuries are costly for employees and employers alike. Costs per claim for these injuries are higher than the average claim cost for this industry. According to the National Council on Compensation Insurance (NCCI) data for wholesalers in 2020:  

  • the average workers’ compensation claims cost was $11,363
  • the average strain & sprain claims cost was $14,515

Wearables Enhance Loss Control

Reducing strain and sprain injuries among warehouse workers is key to keeping them safe and on the job. Wearable technology designed to reduce high risk movements – like improper bending, reaching, and twisting that is common among warehouse workers – can prevent injuries before they happen. These ergonomic wearables provide continuous coaching to help workers change the way they move. A light vibration alerts workers each time they make a risky movement on the job, increasing their awareness and helping them to create safer habits over time. As high risk movements decrease, the frequency of costly sprain and strain injuries goes down as well.

Wearable tech can reduce injury frequency by 50-60% and lost work days by 72%.

Perr&Knight actuarial analysis, 2021

Data collected from wearables also provide employers with actionable insights that uncover areas and employees that are most at risk. In turn, management can take specific measures to further reduce workplace risk and control loss.

Iron Mountain worker uses Kinetic wearable technology to help workers perform his job more safely
Iron Mountain uses Kinetic wearable technology to help workers perform their jobs more safely and to increase positive coaching opportunities between supervisors and associates.

For example, Iron Mountain reduced injuries by 64% year over year among hundreds of material handling associates in their warehouses, and drivers, after outfitting them with wearable tech. They also experienced a 58% reduction in their cost of worker’s compensation claims. Supervisors used data collected from the devices to create meaningful coaching moments with associates. After 12 months, Iron Mountain expanded its wearable program from five sites to over 60 and is making it an integral part of its safety program and culture.

While many Fortune 500 companies are successfully utilizing wearable technology to reduce injuries among their workforce, most moderately sized companies have traditionally not had the resources to deploy this innovative safety tech. Now, however, workers’ compensation policies are available that include wearable safety tech for policyholders at no extra cost. This proactive, tech-driven approach to workers’ comp offers a unique opportunity to extend wearable tech to more companies in the warehouse and wholesale sector, benefiting employees and employers alike.


Kinetic Insurance, in partnership with Nationwide, is pioneering a technology-driven approach to worker safety that benefits insurance carriers, brokers, and policyholders. Our workers’ compensation offerings lower costs by equipping workers with wearable technology that is proven to reduce injuries by as much as 60% and lost work days by 72%. Want to learn more? Click here to inquire about being appointed with Kinetic Insurance.

How Wearables are Bringing the Power of Prevention to Workers’ Comp

Troy Fenderson, Regional VP of Business Development at Kinetic Insurance

Our new Leadership Q&A series talks with the leaders of Kinetic, and sheds light on their specific areas of expertise. This edition features Troy Fenderson, Vice President of Business Development, East.

We sat down with Troy, who manages and develops our broker relationships in the eastern U.S., and works closely with our underwriting team to win business. Troy brings more than 30 years of workers’ comp experience to his role. In this interview, we talked about employee safety programs, preventing workplace injury in the healthcare space, and Kinetic’s goal of reducing one million injuries in the workplace in 10 years.

Q- You’ve been with Kinetic Insurance for a couple of months now, can you share about your role, your experience, and your approach?

A – I joined the team in June, and I’m focused on growing and activating our broker network, which is what I’ve been helping companies do for decades. So I bring deep experience in leading growth and profit strategies for both insurance carriers and independent agencies.

Because it’s always been my approach to provide clients with workers’ comp program management that has a lasting, positive impact on employee safety, Kinetic is a perfect fit!

Our wearable safety platform is a game changer when it comes to reducing workplace injuries from strains and sprains. I’m excited to bring this cutting-edge technology to clients to help reduce their risk and lower their workers’ comp costs.

Q – Let’s talk about worker safety programs, what impact do they have on loss control?

A – Workplace safety has always been a passion of mine. Preventing injuries before they occur is simply the best way to reduce a client’s total cost of risk and most importantly, to send employees home safely to their families. 

Behavioral-based safety programs have been around for decades, but until recently, with the introduction of the Kinetic Reflex wearable platform, they were based on periodic safety training and hoping employees would comprehend, remember, and utilize the knowledge. This required constant management and a considerable investment in managerial resources. 

With Reflex we have a real-time coach on the employee’s hip, constantly monitoring movements and coaching as needed. This process is not only more efficient but much more effective in altering employees’ safety focus surrounding the prevention of sprain and strain injuries, a leading national cause of workplace loss. Through pairing our exceptional service platform and Reflex device, our goal of reducing one million sprain and strain injuries in the workplace by 2032 will be accomplished. 

Q- How is Kinetic Insurance redefining the concept of loss prevention in the workers’ comp space?

A – As I understand, we are the only company pairing wearable technology at no cost to our clients and a workers’ compensation insurance program. We provide the Kinetic wearable technology free to our clients in an effort to help reduce injuries and control loss. We use cutting-edge technologies with real-time information and employee coaching to modify behaviors that lead to improper bends, twists, and overreaching. This is accomplished through real-time engagement and coaching with the employee through the device, as well as providing a dashboard tool for risk managers to monitor high-risk areas and high-risk jobs. 

With the dashboard data, risk managers and safety professionals can identify key areas within an organization where a high degree of improper movements are occurring, and deploy engineering controls to assist in the elimination of such risk sources. Whether through behavior change or engineering controls, by reducing improper movements, we reduce the potential exposure to personal and financial loss – a win for everyone.  

Q- Loss prevention and worker safety in the overburdened healthcare industry is a hot topic – what are you seeing in this sector and how can wearable tech help?

A – Healthcare as an industry has many trends that challenge controlling workplace injuries. Staffing level challenges, increased regulation, high demand workloads, aging clients requiring more hands-on care, and an aging workforce to name a few. 

Certainly one of the biggest factors is the physical nature of the work to be completed. Most people outside of the industry may not consider healthcare heavy labor, but it can come with a heavy load of manual transfers of residents or patients and at times, in areas that are less than ideal. As an industry, if we can help healthcare workers understand high-risk postures, monitor their activities, and provide real-time feedback to prevent exposure, we are putting the power of prevention in everyone’s hands – or on their hips!

Q – Why did you choose to join Kinetic?

A – With 30 years of experience in the workers’ compensation and risk management industry, I have seen very few, if any, more innovative or progressive programs for managing a client’s total cost of workers’ compensation risk. In an industry you would stretch to call exciting, we are bringing a team and program to workers’ comp insurance that is just that. A group of passionate employees focused on reducing one million injuries in the next 10 years. Process that for a minute… one million reports not filed, one million employees not hurt, and most importantly, one million families not impacted. Reducing one million injuries sounded like a program I could really get behind!

Stay tuned for the next edition of our Leadership Q&A series, where we’ll chat with Regional Vice President of Business Development, West, Jose Cruz.

Wearables and Equitable Workplace Safety

Employers ought to consider the diversity of their workforce when aiming to improve safety and reduce the risk of musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs). Certain worker groups face disproportionate risk on the job, including workers of color, low-wage and older workers, and women. Because these communities make up the majority of frontline and essential workers, doing labor-intensive jobs, they face a greater risk of MSD-related injuries. 

To create workplaces that are equitable, safe, and healthy, organizations should be aware of workers that face a higher risk of MSDs due to individual and systemic factors. Understanding the risks each group faces can help employers to take inclusive action when implementing workplace safety solutions.

The CDC describes health equity as “when every person has the opportunity to attain his or her full health potential and no one is disadvantaged from achieving this potential because of social position or other socially determined circumstances.”

Diversity and Injury Inequities

According to the National Safety Council, jobs with greater MSD hazards are disproportionately occupied by low-wage workers and communities of color. 

  • Low-wage Workers are more likely to occupy labor-intensive positions and be exposed to higher injury risks. They’re also less likely to report MSD injuries to management out of fear of being dismissed, losing hours or being required to pay for rehabilitation on their own.
  • Workers of Color are more likely to be employed in low-wage positions and labor intensive and/or hazardous jobs. These workers are especially overrepresented in safety-critical occupations like warehousing, housekeeping and healthcare. Workers of color are less likely to report MSD injuries to management because they’re often afraid of discrimination. Furthermore, language barriers among immigrant and minority populations may prevent them from reporting concerns or seeking medical care.

Four out of 10 frontline workers in the U.S. identify as Black, Hispanic and/or Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI), or as a category other than white.

Center for Economic and Policy Research

Older workers and women also face a disproportionate safety risk on the job when it comes to MSD-related injuries.

  • Older Workers makeup an increasing share of industrial workers, with the transportation, manufacturing, and warehousing sectors in particular employing an older-than-average workforce. These workers, especially those in labor-intensive industries, are at higher risk of injury. Their bodies’ ability to recover from work declines with age, increasing the risk of developing an MSD. And a history of an MSD increases the risk of a future MSD. Finally, older workers often require more time away from work to recover from injuries than younger workers. 

Private industry workers aged 65 years or over had a median of 14 days away from work due to injuries and illnesses in 2020, compared to all private industry workers who had a median of 12 days away from work.

U.S. BUREAU OF LABOR STATISTICS
  • Women account for two-thirds of frontline workers, representing over 75% of U.S. healthcare workers and over 85% of child care and social services workers. These female-dominated sectors and occupations involve tasks that put workers more at risk of developing MSDs, especially those involving repetitive high risk movements, such as manually handling patients. Additionally, workplaces that don’t recognize and design work for the physical differences of female workers can also impact the risk of injury.

Women in the workforce are at disproportionately high risk for musculoskeletal injuries on the job, suffering 63% of all work-related repetitive motion injuries.

Centers for disease control and prevention

All employees, regardless of socioeconomic status, race, age, or gender, need equal resources to protect themselves from injuries on the job. Wearable technology is an equitable injury prevention solution for the industrial workforce, providing workers with continuous coaching to prevent high risk movements and employers with actionable data that enhance risk assessment. 

Inclusive Risk Prevention and Assessment

Risk prevention and assessment strengthen an organization’s commitment to an equitable workplace, and wearables are an effective tool for preventing workplace injury. Here are five ways a wearable safety solution can make your company a more equitable and safer place to work:

  1. Wearables are widely accessible. Wearables can be deployed across an entire workforce regardless of socio-economic status, age, gender, or race. The devices can give employees from historically excluded backgrounds opportunities to test out innovative safety technology they may otherwise not have access to. 
  1. Wearables are easy to use. Ensuring workers can fully utilize safety solutions is integral to their success. Effective wearable safety devices are designed for easy user adoption. They have a simple form factor, like an unobtrusive hip-mounted device, that is designed to be applicable and valid for every person who wears it, regardless of body type or size.
  1. Wearables evolve with your workforce. An inclusive, equity-focused approach to safety is an ongoing process, requiring dynamic solutions that can adapt to a changing workforce. Unlike one-time training, wearables continuously coach employees – both new and veteran – on how to move properly on the job. They can help employers to discover new sources of risk as work conditions evolve, and as the composition of their workforce changes. 
  1. Wearables allow continuous evaluation of outcomes. Regularly evaluating the effectiveness of a safety solution is an integral part of a commitment to equitable outcomes. Wearable device data allows employers to measure the impact of ergonomic workplace improvements, such as training opportunities and work process redesigns. Data analysis reveals the outcomes of reduced high risk movements and, in turn, injuries.
  1. Wearables enhance equitable safety culture. By empowering employees to engage in the safety process, wearables help reinforce a positive and equitable culture of safety. A wearable safety program creates ongoing opportunities for employees to participate in productive feedback as a team and propose new safety solutions to management. 

Equitable Access to Wearable Tech

At Kinetic Insurance, our mission is to improve the lives of frontline workers – we have a goal to reduce one million injuries in the next decade. We know expanding how many workers wear our device gets us closer to that goal.  By including the tech for free as part of our innovative workers’ compensation program, we hope to make it accessible to companies that employ frontline workers, and who otherwise may not have the resources for a wearable safety program.

Safety First in the Manufacturing Industry

On the heels of shutdowns and disruption caused by the pandemic, manufacturing in nearly all segments is building back quickly, fueled by pent-up demand for manufactured products. However as the sector grows, so does the potential for an increase in workplace injuries.

A Risky Business

Manufacturing can be an unpredictable and dangerous business, it’s one of the industries with the most workplace injuries. While the sector employs only 8.51% of the US workforce, it’s responsible for 15% of all private industry nonfatal injuries and illnesses.

421,400 non-fatal injuries were reported in manufacturing in 2019.

US Bureau Labor Statistics

While workplace injuries have long been one of the most common hazards in the industry, the risk has been recently exacerbated by an ongoing labor shortage and a workforce that’s aging faster than the overall national labor force.

manufacturing team on the job

Labor shortage

US manufacturing is expected to have 2.1 million unfilled jobs by 2030

A shortage of workers can increase the likelihood of worker injury, leading to lost  work time and workers’ compensation claims. Workers taking on larger workloads to compensate for staffing challenges are at increased risk of injury, as are new and untrained workers hired due to turnover. 

Aging workforce

Aging Workforce

Nearly 1/4 of the US manufacturing workforce is 55 or older

A growing number of older workers in manufacturing means elevated risks of worker injuries and illnesses. Studies show when older workers are injured on the job, their injuries are often more severe and may take longer to recover from. Employees 55 years and older typically miss two weeks or longer for a workplace injury, compared to only five days for workers under 25 years old.

Strains and Sprains Drive Loss

Strain and sprain claims are a leading loss driver among manufacturers, representing 28% of injuries to manufacturing workers involving days away from work in 2019, according to the US Bureau Labor Statistics.

Typically caused by overexertion from repetitive motions, or improper handling and lifting of heavy objects, these common injuries lead to significant workers’ comp claims and costly lost work time.

Injuries cost the manufacturing industry more than $7.62 billion in 2019, with at least $3.48 billion attributed to musculoskeletal injuries.

Liberty Mutual Safety Index, 2019

The median days away from work for MSD cases in the manufacturing industry was 14, compared to 12 in the private sector, in 2020.

US Bureau Labor Statistics

Tech-Enabled Risk Prevention

Wearable technology can help reduce strain and sprain injuries among manufacturing workers, enhancing loss control. Wearables designed to reduce high risk movements actually help prevent injuries before they happen, keeping workers safe and productive.

For example, Frito-lay reduced injuries by 19%, and lost work time by 67%, when they deployed wearable tech to thousands of workers in 34 of their manufacturing and distribution centers. Pleased with the positive early injury reduction results, the company has expanded their wearable program to the PepsiCo beverage division.

Frito Lay worker on the job
Frito-Lay uses Kinetic wearable technology to address the ergonomic challenges frontline employees face while bringing Frito-Lay snacks to millions of consumers.

Frito-Lay and PepsiCo are among many Fortune 500 companies reducing workplace injury risk with wearable tech. But this safety solution is not just for big brands anymore – middle market manufacturers are deploying wearables as well, provided at no cost with their workers’ compensation policies.

Workers’ comp programs with wearable safety technology aim to prevent loss by significantly reducing injuries such as strains and sprains. Through continuous coaching, wearables help workers change the way they move over time. A light vibration alerts workers each time they perform a risky movement on the job, helping them to increase their awareness and create safer habits.

Wearable tech can reduce injury frequency up to 60% and lost work days 72%.

Perr&Knight actuarial analysis, 2021

Wearables also provide employers with actionable data insights that reveal the areas and employees most at risk. This allows management to take targeted action to further reduce workplace risks and control loss. 

Fewer workplace injuries lead to both a safer workforce, and to reduced premium costs and improved experience modification scores for policyholders.


Kinetic Insurance, in partnership with Nationwide, is pioneering a technology-driven approach to worker safety that benefits insurance carriers, brokers and policyholders. Our workers’ compensation offerings lower costs by equipping workers with free wearable technology that is proven to reduce injuries by as much as 60% and lost work days by 72%. Want to learn more? Click here to inquire about being appointed with Kinetic Insurance.

How Kinetic Insurance Works With Appointed Brokers

Our new Leadership Q&A series talks with the leaders of Kinetic, and sheds light on their specific areas of expertise. This edition features Vice President of Distribution Ronnie O’Dell. 

Ronnie O'Dell, VP of Distribution at Kinetic Insurance

We sat down with Ronnie, who leads Kinetic’s national appointment and distribution strategy and brings more than 20 years of workers’ comp experience to his role. In this interview, we talked about the way Kinetic works with its appointed agents, some key benefits of the workers’ compensation program, and Ronnie answers some often-asked questions about the Kinetic tech. 

Q- You joined the Kinetic Insurance team last year as VP of Distribution, tell us a bit about your role and your experience.

A – I’ve had the opportunity, over the past nine months, to help assemble a limited network of forward thinking high-value brokers that specialize in the industries where our wearable device delivers exceptional results, like last-mile delivery, auto dealerships, warehousing and health care.

Prior to Kinetic, I was vice president of distribution for CopperPoint California, a $380M mono-line workers’ compensation business unit of Copperpoint Insurance Companies. I’m also a California licensed commercial insurance agent. 

Q – What is Kinetic’s approach to working with brokers, and how is it unique?

A – We work with a select group of brokerages that share our proactive approach to risk control.  

These brokers are on the cutting-edge of innovation in workers’ comp, providing superior risk mitigation consultation to their clients. Our approach with our distribution network centers around a commitment to add value as a true risk management partner. We do this by offering something no one else offers – policies that include wearable tech that helps clients to prevent losses!

Kinetic is dedicated to developing and maintaining strong relationships with our appointed agents, so they can have the confidence to provide their clients the right policy to protect them from risk. Being responsive and easy to do business with is a top priority for our entire team, from underwriting to account management. And the Kinetic partnership with Nationwide plays a significant role, as it offers deep claims expertise and exceptional customer service that further strengthens our value. 

Q- What success have you had in growing Kinetic’s distribution network?

A – We have an experienced distribution team dedicated to growing our partner network from coast to coast. Together, they hold decades of experience in commercial insurance and financial services. Since launching last November, we’ve grown to have 55 retail brokerage partners nationally, with over 175 branch offices. The premium value of submissions from our channel partners exceeds $50m per month in premiums, and is growing.

Q-  What key benefits of Kinetic’s workers’ comp program do you think brokers and policyholders find most attractive?

A – What makes our offering really advantageous – and unique – is the free wearable tech included with our policies. It’s been proven to reduce strain and sprain injuries by 55% and claims costs by 50%. This is the same tech Fortune 500 companies trust to keep their workforces safe, and we’re including it at no cost, which is a significant benefit. 

Our broker partners and customers also appreciate that our program is backed by a national brand like Nationwide – this means they receive A+ rated paper, best-in-class claims handling, and a host of specialized services and resources including loss control, online account access, a 24/7 nurse triage hotline and more. 

Finally, I’d say the premium savings and our dividend program are another key benefit. Because our provided tech helps reduce workplace injuries, policyholders can expect premium savings over time with an improved Experience Modification score. And companies that experience a “lower than expected” loss frequency can earn a sizable dividend as well.

Q – What are a few of the most often asked questions from brokers about the Kinetic program, and your responses to those questions?

A – Broker questions often center around our provided tech. A few frequently asked questions include:

Is the Kinetic device included in the price of the insurance?

Yes. There is no extra charge for the wearable devices.

Is your insurance going to be priced higher than competitors to pay for the device?

No, our underwriting and pricing will be based solely on the risk attributes of the account. 

Is the client required to use the technology to do business with Kinetic?

No, the policy holder is not required to implement the Kinetic wearable devices to bind business with us.

Is the device HIPPA compliant, and is the data private and safe from being hacked?

Yes. The device is GDPR certified. Kinetic operates a secure encrypted data infrastructure following best industry practices. Kinetic personnel are trained to securely handle any customer data.

Does the device track by GPS, track productive time, collect biometric or health data, or have a microphone or camera?

No to all, the device only tracks improper bending, overreaching, twisting, jump detection, number of steps, and wear time. It has no GPS tracking capabilities, and no microphone or camera functionality.

Stay tuned for the next edition of our Leadership Q&A series, where we’ll chat with Regional Vice President of Business Development, East, Troy Fenderson. Troy will talk about employee safety and loss prevention, and his 30 years of experience in the workers’ compensation industry.

[Case Study] Kinetic Reduces Injury Risk for DSPs by an Average 55%

Kinetic Insurance recently partnered with one of the largest distributors of parcel delivery insurance nationwide to explore the effectiveness of wearable technology for risk mitigation in the last-mile delivery sector.

SITUATION

In February 2022, working with an independent insurance agency and their national workers’ compensation insurance program, Kinetic deployed wearable safety tech at two leading U.S. Delivery Service Providers (DSPs), in a six week pilot. 

Kinetic Reflex wearable devices were distributed among the contracting companies, with employees recording over 300 hours of data. 

  • DSP 1 employees were in their 20s to 30s and generally moved a higher volume of smaller packages.
  • DSP 2 employees were in their 40s and 50s and typically dealt with fewer, larger packages.

The first week of the pilot was used to establish a baseline. The devices were utilized to determine a normal level of risk for participating employees, during a standard work week. Reflex measured how often employees engaged in risky behaviors, but did not provide the vibrational feedback used to reduce high risk movements performed on the job.

For the following five weeks, the belt-mounted devices provided real-time feedback when employees were bending, twisting or reaching without proper safety technique. Employees were empowered to create new habits that drive sustained behavior change with real-time alerts and on-screen data.

RESULTS

Reduced High Risk Movements

Chart: High Risk Posters Per Hour

During the six-week pilot, data collected from participating employees conclusively demonstrated the wearables’ ability to drive risk reduction through behavior change. 

  • DSP 1 employees reduced the number of high risk movements performed by over 40%
  • DSP 2 employees reduced the number of high risk movements performed by nearly 70%

In both cases, despite differences in age and workload, employees could effectively respond to Reflex’s ergonomic feedback and make themselves dramatically safer

Actionable Data Insights

Beyond driving behavior change around high risk movements, the Kinetic wearable platform provided actionable data insights that revealed areas and employees most at risk.

An analysis of high risk movements by the time of day that they occurred revealed a consistent pre-noon spike at DSP 1.

Chart: High Risk Postures by Time of Day

Furthermore, reviewing the hourly high risk movements on an employee-by-employee basis uncovered that a single employee was driving the bulk of the pre-noon risk. In fact, this employee clearly had the highest risk of all pilot participants. Only one other employee had a comparable risk profile. 

Chart: All Employee High Risk Postures

This analysis gives DSP 1 a point of investigation. Instead of working with all employees to reduce risk, they can focus on only the few individuals who generate outsized risk for the operation. Undertaking action, such as safety training, with the two most at-risk employees can help this DSP mitigate risk even further, beyond the already significant reductions achieved through behavioral change, due to Reflex’s vibrational alerts.

CONCLUSION

Parcel delivery is one of the riskiest sectors when it comes to workplace injury. Job-related tasks require workers to repeatedly bend, reach and twist in confined spaces in order to handle and lift potentially heavy or awkwardly-shaped objects. Employees can develop musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) from loading and unloading vehicles, lifting and carrying parcels, and long stretches of driving on a daily basis.

  • MSDs are the most frequent injury across this workforce and are, on average, the longest injury to recover from.
  • MSDs are costly, averaging nearly $33k per workers’ compensation claim filed in 2018 and 2019.

While MSDs are prevalent in the last-mile delivery space, they are also largely preventable. Workers can be trained to recognize and avoid the risks they face each day, and employers can leverage tech-driven safety solutions designed to specifically reduce high risk movements

Reduced high risk movements directly correlate to reduced injury rates and reduced claims, which can lead to lowered workers’ comp premium costs. 


About Kinetic Insurance

Kinetic Insurance, in partnership with Nationwide, is pioneering a technology-driven approach to worker safety that benefits insurance carriers, brokers and policyholders. Kinetic workers’ compensation offerings lower costs by equipping workers with wearable technology that is proven to reduce injuries by as much as 60% and lost work days by 72%. 

Want to learn more? 

Call our broker success team at (833) 550-0388 or email info@kinetic-insurance.com.