The concept of an industrial medicine clinic is a simple one: provide occupational medicine services in a staffed clinic at a midstream production site. It makes sense, and it’s just what Safety Management Systems does.
On a hot summer day, a man had a heart attack in the parking lot of a job site. Very near death, SMS medics got to him in time, revived him, then got him into the ambulance and to the hospital. He underwent valve surgery, has made a full recovery, is now back at work, and can do pretty much anything he wants. With on-site SMS’ clinics and with the medical intensive care unit (MICU), the chances of this man surviving his heart attack were increased.
The overarching importance of staffing full-service industrial medicine clinics on job sites is paramount. By treating possible injuries or ailments on-site, workers can return to their jobs quicker without having to visit a hospital, return home safely at the end of their shifts and time lost to medical issues decreases.
“The clinic has a very good success rate so far. We’ve seen around 350 patients within the last year and those employees are back to pre-incident status and have returned to work. That’s what we work so hard to achieve — to get workers back to work,” says one of the clinic’s remote paramedics.
Beyond emergency treatment and more than just an aspirin dispensary, the clinic can also diagnose workers with conditions such as high blood pressure and diabetes. It provides fit testing for respiratory masks. The clinic administers pre-employment, random and post-incident drug screens, processes them on-site and only sends off for further screening if they come back non-negative.
Currently staffed by up to six medics, clinics operate and provide care 24 hours a day, seven days a week. In addition to medical and emergency response knowledge, medics at the clinic have a deep understanding of OSHA regulations and recordable incidents, a product of their extensive training with SMS.
The number of patients visiting the clinic ebbs and flows. “When it rains, we see a lot more injuries from slips and falls. In the summertime, we get a lot of heat-related injuries and illnesses. We also tend to treat upset stomachs and related ailments, along with on-the-job injuries. We provide physical rehabilitation and treat sprains and injuries,” says the SMS paramedic.
All of SMS’ medics coordinate with the plant’s employees’ occupational health doctors to carry out specific recovery orders, to ensure that workers are following their treatment plans and return to work as quickly.
The SMS paramedic says his favorite part of working in the clinic is that not every day is cookie-cutter. “It’s totally different from working on an ambulance, which I did for over 30 years years. We get to use a lot of problem solving out here and think outside the box in order to find a resolution. We’ve gotten to know the workers personally and have developed a camaraderie with them while treating or working with them.”
No matter what the issue or injury, SMS prides itself for problem solving and ensuring that clients’ workers go home safe at the end of their shifts. Always focused on protecting lives and changing cultures, worldwide.
Safety Management Systems, a division of Acadian, is one of the largest providers of safety, medical, security, training, and health and wellness services in the United States.