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How to stop spread of misinformation
Give an immediate response
Is someone in your workplace claiming that occupational health programs are a waste of money and resources?
"Opponents can include middle and upper management, who are focused on the bottom line. They may not see the end product of saving money in the long run, by addressing early symptoms," says Pam Dannenberg, RN, COHN-S, CAE, ergonomic and occupational health services consultant at EK Health Services, a San Jose, CA-based provider of utilization review and case management services.
Dannenberg says to address this by looking at the direct costs of actual claims in your company and adding the indirect costs, which are typically two to ten times as much as the direct costs. "Show a graph of direct and indirect costs over time," she says. "Compare that to early intervention, and the cost of implementing these strategies early."
She recommends these other strategies:
Ask opponents direct questions about their concerns.
"Walk them through some actual cases," she says. "Answer their questions. Allay their fears at the earliest opportunity."
Answer objections and false statements right away.
"Do research to ensure you know the facts," says Dannenberg. "When someone is saying something that you know to be false or that you disagree with, speak up directly to the person who is expressing these thoughts."
Make a counter suggestion.
If your solutions for a safety issue are criticized unfairly, for example, don't just let the ideas drop. "Instead of going along with what is said, you can say, 'At least give the ideas an opportunity. Let's try them out,'" she says.
On the other hand, carefully consider solutions offered by others. "Ideas that may seem strange to you may be the ones that work, because the people most affected have thought of them," she says. "They now have a stake in how successful these ideas are, and in how well they are implemented."
For more information on promoting occupational health, contact:
Pam Dannenberg, RN, BSN, COHN-S, CAE, Occupational Health/Ergonomic Services Consultant, EK Services, Inc., San Jose, CA. Phone: (877) 861-1595. E-mail: email@example.com. Web: www.ekhealth.com.