Resilience Training - Placebo, Pet Rock Or The Real Deal?
Jul 6, 2017

Resilience training, according to new study in The Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine(JOEM) (DMEC summary), is rapidly gaining adherents across corporate America. As the JOEM article states, "Employers are developing resilience to achieve a competitive advantage, similar to how the military trains active duty soldiers and their family members to withstand challenges."

Resilience is a psychological construct, the ability to bounce back from adverse events. Resilience training assumes that the components of this ability - emotional regulation, impulse control, causal analysis, self-efficacy, and realistic optimism - can be learned. The JOEM study looks at the impact of such training on a variety of measures of how employees in participating organizations perform in stressful environments. While the research did not target workers' compensation or non-occupational disability events per se, the conclusions of the researchers have some definite implications for improving comp-related return to work and moderating absenteeism generally.

The study looked at eight outcomes KPIs: an overall stress score, a burnout score, likelihood of depression, prevalence of sleep problems, job satisfaction ratings, intent to quit, likelihood of absence, and an index of productivity loss. Resilience had a positive impact on all eight measures. The positive impact was most dramatic for the likelihood of depression and likelihood of absence (a likely pairing), but it was strongly present for all measures.

The authors note that other studies have reached similar conclusions. In their high level summary they state, "high resilience had a relatively consistent protective effect against stress, job dissatisfaction, and depression, regardless of work environment." While no one on the project was thoughtful enough to compare workers' comp claim costs, it seems a fair bet that employees who are less stressed, less dissatisfied and less depressed will get back to work sooner and with fewer issues. Worth a shot, we'd say.

Driverless Straws in the Wind

Meanwhile, across the pond, UK insurance companies are making some interesting moves concerning the onrushing driverless car phenomenon. Aviva is talking to a number of auto manufacturers, according to Maurice Tulloch, chief of Aviva's international insurance operation. Don't think the driverless car is going to happen soon? Aviva disagrees and is working on deals right now that might make Aviva's auto risk policy an automatic part of the purchase of a new driverless car.

A recent article in the Daily Telegraph discusses the depth of new thinking by Aviva and other UK carriers. For example, Axa UK's chief executive Amanda Blanc said last month that "babies born today may never have to take a driving test," adding that the imminent use of driverless cars makes it "crucial" for insurers to look at the risks now. 

On this side of the pond, the Seattle Times describes how Washington's governor, Jay Inslee, signed an executive order earlier this month welcoming companies to use Washington roads as a testing ground for driverless cars.

Self-driving technology continues to get better and better. But Governor Inslee's initiative stands out on the political front. Progress is slow, as the Times points out, among state legislatures and insurance companies. To date, only one state (Michigan) has addressed the legal issues of this technology in new legislation. And most US insurance companies (unlike our British cousins noted earlier) will only say that they are working on the concept.

This leads the Journal to wonder - if today's US politicians and insurance executives had been running the show in, say, October of 1908 when the first Model T came down Ford's new assembly line, would livery stables still be a thriving business today and would we still be thinking about fuel consumption as miles per gallon of oats?

Am I My Brothers' Keeper?

Cardiac arrest remains the Number One killer in the US. Too many potato chips, too few pushups, too much time couch surfing - it all adds up. In 2014, 424,000 of our fellow citizens suffered out-of-hospital cardiac events. 19,300 of these events occurred in the presence of bystanders with immediate access to some form of AED (Automatic External Defibrillator). 31.4% of those folks survived. Of those who had to wait for EMTs to arrive, 10.4% survived.

The American Heart Association (AHA) has published a number of articles and guides concerning the use and placement of AEDs in public areas - like your offices and other workspaces. This one takes less than five minutes to read. Don't have the time or budget to train everyone in CPR? Well, modern AEDs are intended for use by the general public. Most AEDs use audible voice prompts to guide the user through the process. At least 90% of the time, the AED can tell you whether or not the person sprawled on the sidewalk or collapsed in the conference room is likely to respond to a shock from the AED. Not a cardiologist? No problem.

Cost, you say? A complete new unit designed for use by a business in a commercial venue runs about $1200. How many heart beats do you need to restore for your colleagues, visiting clients, customers, or passers-by to amortize $1200? How hard is that calculation?

Where to put an AED? The AHA has a few ideas: AEDs "should be placed in public areas such as sports venues, shopping malls, airports, airplanes, businesses, convention centers, hotels, schools and doctors' offices. They should also be in any other public or private place where large numbers of people gather or where people at high risk for heart attacks live. They should be placed near elevators, cafeterias, main reception areas, and on walls in main corridors."

There is no safety issue that we deal with in risk management that impacts more people every year across all industries and locations than sudden cardiac arrest. Yes, friends, we are our brother's keepers.


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