A new tool has recently emerged that gives EHS Managers significantly increased control of the injury prevention process. The use of Certified Athletic Trainers in the work environment provides an agile process that seeks out and addresses potential injury-causing situations or injuries as they develop. These are specially adapted Athletic Trainers, known as Certified Early Intervention Specialists™ (CEIS™), who have successfully developed a skill-set that combines knowledge from both the traditional Athletic Training and Occupational Health & Safety professional communities. This new approach to controlling injuries has consistently delivered impressive results for the innovative industrial organizational that have utilized the method.
The concept of utilizing Athletic Trainers in industrial operations for the purpose of preventing, intervening in or anticipating occupational injuries was developed approximately 20 years ago. Previously Athletic Trainers were used sparingly by industry for limited time periods with very narrow general wellness or rehabilitation objectives. Innovative healthcare providers working with large industrial clients began to notice opportunities to not just treat injured works but to partner with the organizations and prevent injuries. In the mid-west a local Physical Therapy firm was an early innovator of the on-site process by partnering with a major package delivery business to improve the ability of their work force to safely handle packages in large sorting centers at the pace demanded by customer expectations. That Physical Therapy organization quickly realized that Athletic Trainers are part of the healthcare community and offer the optimal mix of mind-set, skills, knowledge, adaptability and cost. The mind-set is particularly unique to Athletic Trainers in comparison to the other specialists in the healthcare industry. That mind-set is to get the "athlete" back on the field as quickly as possible, if that can be done without further injury, utilizing evidenced-based on field medical evaluations (Prentice, 2011, p 16). Leading companies such as Boeing quickly grasped the potential to better protect their workforces, reducing injuries and increasing productivity with this new opportunity to prevent injuries (Case, 2005). Demand for on-site early injury intervention services has been increasing at an accelerating rate in the last 5 years.