Better Specialist Support - National Grid

Aim: National Grid wanted to develop and evaluate sustainable, work focused, evidence based rehabilitation services to have a positive impact on musculoskeletal (MSD) injuries and psychological wellbeing. The company also wanted to improve employee engagement and raise the profile of health & wellbeing.

Activity: The development of a prevention programme to reduce MSD injuries and sickness-related absence costs.

Key Impacts
  • During the initial six months, 36 employees were referred to the programme by occupational health and ‘Body Mechanics’ training sessions delivered to over 160 operational employees. In December 2010, the company ran an evaluation of the pilot which showed a 280% ROI.
  • During the 12 month extended roll out, an additional 461 employees accessed services and at the point of evaluation, 323 had fully completed treatment.
  • National Grid spent £77,000 on offering these services to 4000 employees, with 461 employees subsequently using it (10%). This 10% take up showed an estimated saving of £76,696. Scaled up to 100% this equates to £766,960 saving on absence, minus the initial £77,000 spend. The estimated saving of £689,960 is equivalent to approximately £10 saved for every £1 spent

National Grid US has a Soft Tissue Injury Prevention Program (STIPP) that has received positive praise for its impact on reducing MSD injuries. National Grid’s Manual Handling training already focused on behaviour change but it didn’t have the same success that it appeared to have in the US. So, in 2010 National Grid reviewed the STIPP as it wanted to offer advice and treatment to injured employees as well as training. At that time, it was providing support for rehabilitation based on individual cost benefit, which led to inconsistencies both in the level and focus of support. Through the US model, National Grid saw an opportunity to combine reactive and proactive elements to ensure best impact of a UK STIPP.

 

An initial investment of £20,000 was made to pilot the UK STIPP and evaluate its return on investment (ROI). The initial pilot began in June 2010 and ran for six months.

During these six months, individual cases were assessed using the Medical Disability Adviser predictive modeling tool. This international database uses age, gender, job type, primary and secondary medical conditions and country of residence to give an average number of days that a person would be absent from work if there was no intervention. Prior to the start of the pilot the estimated cost of an employee’s daily absence was £250 and where an employee was unable to fulfill core tasks, an estimated 25-50% reduction would be made in productivity. Employees who return to work ahead of this predicted date was deemed a business saving and balanced against cost of running the program to create the ROI.

Managers, human resources and other employees were so keen to access the pilot services that National Grid gave a 12 month extended roll out before the ROI study and pilot were completed.  During this extended period, 4000 employees were briefed via leaflets, stickers, internal ‘Team Talk’ processes and in house magazines.

Before completion of the extended pilot and before a full quantitative evaluation could be undertaken, all 6000 UK office based employees staff showed demand for the service. So, when National Grid approached key stakeholders for a range of Health & Wellbeing services in the summer of 2011, it was agreed that the company would procure a full STIPP for all 9,600 National Grid UK employees.

In conjunction with new contracts for Occupational Health and National Grid’s Employee Assistant Programme, a new contract to deliver STIPP to all UK employees was introduced in April 2012.

Following this success, National Grid is currently piloting a psychological rehabilitation programme of work focused cognitive behavioural therapy, forming part of the company’s responsibility to impact positively on mental wellbeing. National Grid’s current STIPP provider has expertise in this area and is delivering three levels of intervention for mild to moderate cases of anxiety and depression to a pilot group. This group consists of 400 call centre employees and 400 operational employees. Evaluation of 62 referrals over an 11 month period has shown a 200% ROI.

Summary

  • National Grid wanted to develop rehabilitation services that would have a positive  impact on musculoskeletal injuries and psychological wellbeing, as well as improve employee engagement and raise the profile of health & wellbeing

  • The company developed a model to offer advice and treatment to injured employees that ran for an initial six-month pilot programme followed by a 12-month extended roll out

  • Due to demand, National Grid extended this to a full STIPP for all 9,600 UK employees and are now also piloting a psychological rehabilitation programme to help improve mental wellbeing

  • National Grid’s programmes to reduce MSD injuries and save on absence-related sickness costs have shown the following:  

  • A 280% ROI as a result of the initial six-month pilot programme

  • An estimated saving of £76,696 following a review of 10% of cases using the rehabilitation services

  • A full roll out for the STIPP programme across all 9,600 UK employees

  • The piloting of a psychological rehabilitation across the UK workforce

 

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