An open letter to employers on why they need an industrial Athletic Trainer.
By: Susan Taah, ATC, LAT, CEIS
To Whom It May Concern / Which Is You,
Thank you for giving me the opportunity to share the impact that athletic trainers can have on your operations.
As an athletic trainer and safety administrator, I have first hand, practical knowledge of the value that having athletic trainers on staff can bring to your company.
In terms of risk management, ATs partner with operations managers to eliminate potential hazards and mitigate risk through ergonomics and work orders. When adding new equipment or processes, ATs can evaluate possible musculoskeletal hazards and how to solve for them. They will also lead pre-shift warm-ups with your warehouse teams, perform ergonomic assessments in in mine shafts, ride along with your CDL drivers, and more to help prevent potential injuries.
Many industrial ATs are certified drug & alcohol collectors. For companies that have mandatory drug testing requirements, ATs can handle the bulk of pre-employment drug screens, random testing, and post-accident or reasonable suspicion testing on-site.
ATs are a critical members of a company’s emergency response team. As trained first responders, they can save lives. Stroke, heart attack, diabetic emergency, and femoral clot are just some of the health emergencies that ATs have handled in working employees. In addition, the majority of ATs are AED/CPR instructors and can re-certify your staff or certify new members.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, ATs stepped up and played an important role in keeping companies functioning. They tested employees for asymptomatic spread, performed symptomatic PCR and rapid testing on-site and led contact tracing efforts. They also worked with employees cleared by their doctors to return to work after contracting and getting over COVID-19.
Along with the work they do to control the risk of work-related illness and injury, ATs also serve as the leaders for total worker health programming and initiatives. They can execute wellness competitions like Biggest Loser or step challenges in the facility or virtually. They will also meet with workers who have comorbidities, like hypertension or diabetes, to check their numbers and assist them with making the lifestyle changes recommended by their physician. Managing these illnesses can reduce the incidence of work-related injuries among your employees and help employees on the mend return to work.
I’ve worked in many settings from fulfillment to manufacturing as an industrial AT. I saw the improvements I was able to make in the lives of working people, and the value to the facility of efficiently managing the processes and services around work injuries.
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