The University Record, January 21, 1997

MWorks center on South Main to serve U-M employees injured on the job

MWorks staff member Debbie Smith (at left) stands on a Babs Board as Maria Szuba, physical therapist, explains how the device can help correct ankle injuries. Physical therapy is only one component of the new MWorks facility, the University's comprehensive occupational health care facility.

Photo by Bob Kalmbach

From MWorks Occupational Health Services


MWorks, the University's new occupational health care facility, opened earlier this month with the goal of providing prevention and treatment services for the work-related injuries and illnesses of the University's non-Medical Center staff. Located at 2098 S. Main St., this comprehensive service is the result of a partnership between the departments of Risk Management, Occupational Safety and Environmental Health (OSEH) and the Medical Center.

The facility is equipped with laboratory, radiology and physical therapy to handle the wide range of occupational injuries, illnesses and examinations "with one-stop ease," says LaVaughn Palma-Davis, MWorks director of operations. The physicians are trained and experienced in occupational medicine and workers' compensation procedures. A unique case management service is dedicated to assisting employees and their managers with return-to-work issues, maintaining open communication between parties and medically monitoring the employee's recovery.

Some of the services offered by MWorks include injury and illness diagnoses and treatment, physical therapy, medical surveillance exams (hearing and respirator tests, for example), annual physicals, drug testing, health promotion education and screening, and worksite assessments. Palma-Davis says that the new clinic is expected to be "a flagship for the eventual expansion of services to other employers outside the University."

Paul Moggach, risk manager, stresses the value of this initiative to the University. "We believe that this service can not only improve the care provided to our employees but also reduce our costs associated with lost productivity."

Risk Management, OSEH and MWorks staff currently are distributing binders to all supervisors with guidelines for handling workplace injuries and accidents. Site visits of selected work areas also are being conducted so that MWorks' staff can better understand the physical demands of people's jobs.

"We're enthusiastic about the opportunity to combine the resources of MWorks with the expertise of OSEH and the commitment of faculty and staff to better prevent work-related injuries and illness," says Hank Baier, director of OSEH.