Starkey Laboratories is the world's second largest hearing aid manufacturer and employs over 800 people. About fifty percent of the employees are assembly line workers and the other fifty percent are administrative employees. In 1992 Starkey began to aggressively address the high cost of workman's compensation costs. Most of these costs were related to repetitive stress injuries, such as carpal tunnel syndrome.
Workman's compensation premiums are based on prior year's claims. A year of high costs means higher premiums over the next few years. In a year of reduced claims, the cost reductions are immediate, and affect future years' premiums.
In 1991, Starkey had about 60 repetitive stress injury claims totaling approximately $460,000. In 1992 Siana Goodwin, an Advanced Certified Rolfer, brought to Starkey Lab, a RolfingŪ program which produced dynamic changes. Immediately cost savings were realized. Through 1993 and 1994, costs continued to decline dramatically, and claims were reduced by one-half. By 1994, the cost of workman's compensation was reduced to one percent of the 1991 costs.
It should be noted that Ms. Goodwin was not doing the Rolfing series or working with the entire body. She was only addressing fascial conditions relating to stress in hands, arms and necks. The results are even more remarkable considering that her work was limited to the upper extremities.