Thirty-five percent of reported work injuries in North Dakota are caused by poor ergonomics—the interaction and fit between the worker and his or her work environment. Workforce Safety and Insurance (WSI) launched an ergonomic initiative and grant program, partnering with Altru Health System, to help companies reduce costs and injuries by addressing their ergonomic needs. WSI will provide financial assistance for ergonomic assessments and future equipment needs upon approval. Altru Health System has the certified professionals to assess your company's ergonomic consultation needs. Our certified ergonomic specialist will come to your job site to assess the workplace, equipment, job tasks and workers. The specialist will provide your company with recommendations to correct any identified risk factors and choose equipment in an effort to prevent injuries. Payment for ergonomic consultation by Altru Health System specialist may be 75 percent paid by WSI and 25 percent paid by the employer.
The purpose of the ergonomic initiative is to reduce or eliminate cumulative-type injuries at the workplace. What typically begins as minor aches or pains, if ignored, has the potential to develop into costly claims. Through the ergonomic initiative program, WSI will be offering the employers of North Dakota resources, as well as financial assistance, to address their ergonomic issues.
Three Main Components
- Provider network
- WSI has developed a network of providers throughout North Dakota, including Altru Health System. This network is comprised of experienced healthcare professionals, primarily occupational and physical therapists, well versed in the field of ergonomics. Employers initiate the process by submitting an Ergonomic Initiative Employer Application for consideration. WSI will analyze claims trends (types of injuries, as well as frequency and severity) to determine if the injuries are linked to ergonomic issues. Another factor for consideration is the employee's level of exposure to potential injuries. Upon WSI approval, the employer can contact Altru Health System to schedule an ergonomic assessment.
- Financial assistance for provider services
- The fee charged by providers for these services may be paid 75 percent by WSI and 25 percent paid by the employer. The amount of work and type of services performed will vary with each employer, depending on their needs. Some of the factors that will be considered will be the number of employees, number of job classifications, type of work being performed and claims history (frequency and severity). Onsite services may include: Onsite ergonomic assessments by Altru Health System in which potential or existing problems will be identified Ergonomic recommendations and interventions Assistance with the selection of appropriate ergo equipment Employer and employee ergo training A key component of this program is onsite training by Altru Health System for employers and employees. By providing the basic tools necessary to conduct ergonomic assessments; they will be able to address some of these issues early on before they become claims.
- Financial assistance for ergonomic equipment purchases
- As part of the ergonomic initiative, a grant program is available for those employers who have participated in this program. If the assessments conducted during the ergo initiative warrant ergonomic equipment purchases, employers may be eligible for assistance with these purchases through the ergonomic initiative grant program by WSI.
How to Apply
The employer must follow the following steps to be eligible for the Ergonomic Initiative Grant Program.
- The employer completes the Ergonomic Initiative Employer Application online using WSI’s portal, myWSI
- WSI will approve or deny the application and the employer (all correspondence will be through myWSI).
- If approved, WSI will provide the employer a list of providers to choose from to conduct the on-site visit.
- The provider conducts the on-site visit and provides the employer with a final assessment. The employer is now eligible to apply for financial assistance.
- To apply for financial assistance, the employer must complete the Ergonomic Grant Application.
- Once WSI approves the grant application, and both parties sign the agreement, then the employer may purchase the equipment.
- Equipment ordered, funds expended, or invoices dated prior to the agreement effective date are not eligible for reimbursement under this program.
- The employer must complete the Vendor (supplier or individual) On-Line Registration in order to receive reimbursement.
- Once the employer receives the equipment, they are eligible to submit the Ergonomic Grant Reimbursement Request form. The request must include the invoice(s) and proof of payment.
For more information, please call Heidi Hagen Johnson in Employer Health Solutions at 701.780.2450.