Repetitive Stress Injuries

Certified Advanced Rolfer™ Working On-Site Helps to Reduce Problems Related to RSI

Rolfing handsAccording to Larry Miller, Director of Human Resources at Starkey Laboratories, workers’ compensation costs were “going through the roof” when he introduced a new element into Starkey’s employee wellness program in 1992. The cost increases were due in large part to the growing number of repetitive stress injuries (RSI), including carpal tunnel syndrome.

That year he brought in Certified Advanced Rolfers to provide Rolfing® SI on-site for employees with RSI symptoms. For the last twenty years, Certified Rolfers has been the on-site Rolfer at Minnesota-based Starkey Laboratories (one of the world’s largest custom hearing aid manufacturers), with dramatic results:

  • The year before the program began, 7 employees had carpal tunnel surgery.
    There have been no carpal tunnel surgeries at the Eden Prairie plant in the last 6 years. After receiving Rolfing SI, one employee who’d had surgery and was recommended for another never needed the second surgery. The cost of the Rolfing work was about $600; the cost of surgery would have been about $35,000!
  • Starkey’s modification factor (a measure of risk that determines insurance
    premiums) dropped from .92 to .61, an incredibly low rate. The average national MOD factor is .95, with .85 considered highly desirable, especially in the injury-prone manufacturing sector.
  • Starkey’s workers’ compensation costs decreased 92% in seven years.

erogonomics at office deskStarkey has benefited in many other ways from their on-site Rolfing program, including reduced absenteeism and increased productivity. Furthermore, Starkey’s cost savings in areas such as turnover, unemployment costs, health insurance, training and productivity are estimated at about $2,500/employee/year.

Starkey recently purchased two other hearing aid companies and in 2005 built a new facility in Eden Prairie, increasing to 1300 the number of employees there with access to Rolfing SI. In 2005, Erin Herdina, Certified Rolfer, began to bring Rolfing SI to the 228 employees at the plant in Glencoe, MN.

In 2005, Jon Martine, Certified Advanced Rolfer, brought Rolfing to Starkey’s plant in Colorado Springs, CO, where 27 employees receive Rolfing on a volunteer basis.

This program was recognized as one of the “best practices” by the Minnesota Quality Awards in 1996.