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St. Luke's Program Works with Employers to Prevent Workplace Injuries
March 26, 2024

St. Luke’s Occupational Athletic Trainer leads workers through a group warm-up before their shift.

If an ounce of prevention is indeed worth a pound of cure, St. Luke’s University Health Network has found a way to help employers and their employees, such as those at EMD Electronics in Hometown, avoid potentially weighty and costly injuries.

Through its Worksite Injury Prevention Program (WIPP), St. Luke’s partners with employers to provide a comprehensive approach to injury prevention focused on the reduction of musculoskeletal disorder risk. WIPP also addresses identified community barriers to health, such as transportation, accessibility and health literacy.

St. Luke’s Care Now Occupational Medicine provides preventative medicine, workman’s compensation treatment, and return-to-work protocols and pre-employment physicals at dozens of locations for more than 1,000 corporate clients. St. Luke’s is the largest, most comprehensive occupational medicine program in Pennsylvania and New Jersey and is the only Occupational Medicine provider in the Greater Lehigh Valley to be backed by a nationally acclaimed healthcare network.

“As a program, we focus on primary prevention by working to eliminate injury risk in a facility,” said Kyra Dodson, St. Luke’s Network Director, Corporate Health & Wellness, Occupational Medicine. “We ergonomically analyze a facility, objectively identify risk factors and hazards, and partner with that client to develop and implement solutions. This is a financial value to the employer and betters the wellbeing of employees by reducing their exposure to injury risk,”

The total reach of WIPP across all of its clients is more than 7,000 employees. St. Luke’s Occupational Athletic Trainer Dan Slotterback is located on site at EMD, giving its 370 employees access to WIPP’s services.

St. Luke’s Occupational Athletic Trainers are board-certified health care professionals with expertise in the musculoskeletal system. In addition to assessing risks and developing solutions, they educate employees on the safest way to perform their jobs.

“By placing an Occupational Athletic Trainer on site, we are producing a convenient and accessible resource for immediate health attention and a partner in health navigation. We address theneeds of the individual employee, while impacting the larger preventative opportunities at the employer location,” Dodson said.

Randy Kalce, Senior Manager of Environmental Health & Safety and Site Security for EMD, added, “Companies want their employees to go home as healthy as they were when they came into work. In the case of EMD’s work with St. Luke’s WIPP, our employees actually go home healthier than when they came to work. Dan works with and helps employees prevent non-work-related issues or concerns, too, through things like finding safer ways to approach tasks and stretching. They take this information home with them and apply it outside of work.”

During the first 12 months of WIPP’s implementation at EMD:

  • More than 540 consultations were conveniently performed on site with EMD employees, and more than 200 health, wellness and injury prevention educational sessions were held with extremely positive feedback.
  • Work-related injuries, such as sprains, strains and repetitive injuries, were reduced, while employee-reported health and wellbeing improvements were made.
  • Wellness topics, such as improving diet and weight loss, were a common trend of employee requests.

EMD reports that its employees appreciate having an Occupational Athletic Trainer on site through St. Luke’s WIPP. One employee said, “With my athletic trainer's help, I was able to get back to 100% in a few weeks without making another doctor visit. He is definitely an asset to our facility.”

Another noted: “I would like to say a few words about Dan [Athletic Trainer] and how much I appreciate what he does for us here at EMD. When I need care, I can't always get an appointment right away from my doctor. Instead of being in pain, I see Dan and he helps me right away. This allows me to work through my shifts. We are fortunate to have this option at our workplace.”

In the event of a workplace injury, the Occupational Athletic Trainer will evaluate it and make a referral decision. If off-site care is needed, the trainer facilitates and manages care and monitors progress in partnership with the employee and the occupational medicine clinic.

“This model creates continuity of care and gets employees back to work in the safest, most efficient way,” Dodson says.

While WIPP has established foundational components, St. Luke’s adapts and customizes programming to an individual employer's needs. This may include communication workflows, program focus, implementation strategies or another element.

“Employers are unique, and we respect that every employer site may have specific demands in order to be successful. Our proven injury prevention system can be tailored and implemented to meet your company’s specific needs. We can work with your safety team to create a safer workplace and healthy workforce,” Dodson says.

For more information about the St. Luke’s Worksite Injury Prevention Program, visit the St. Luke’s website or email KyraD.Dodson@sluhn.org.