Seeing how hard her parents worked to provide for their children, Danni Arroyo developed a passion to keep working-class people safe and uninjured at their workplaces.
“I come from a very working-class background,” she said. “My mom was a CNA. My dad moved here from a Latin-American country, and he couldn’t speak English when he moved here. And so I saw very much how hard they worked in order to provide a life for their kids.”
A love for helping her community inspired Arroyo to develop her company Work Safe Consulting, which focuses on preventing on-the-job injuries through professional consulting and on-site clinical services.
Arroyo, a trained occupational therapist (OT), received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and her doctorate from Creighton University, where she learned the holistic approach of OT. She then began her first job with a national company that provides on-site industrial therapy.
“Once I got into health care, I realized that it’s not really preventative, it’s really reactionary. And I think most people agree with that,” she said. “In OT, all of our training, a lot of it really focuses on prevention. And so I had a lot of difficulty coming to terms with the fact that health care really doesn’t do any sort of prevention.”
Work Safe Consulting implements holistic ergonomics and injury prevention programs to stop work-related injuries.
“Work Safe is essentially combining two of my passions – prevention of illness and injury and helping working-class people stay safe and uninjured so they can keep working to support their families,” she said.
Changing the Industry
The company uses a preventative health care model that focuses on individual clients and the needs of each worksite. Arroyo said that while injury prevention programs and ergonomics have been around for a while, they are still niche. However, she sees opportunities for growth.
“I think realistically, long-term, prevention models like this are going to be the way that American health care is going to go because it’s really the only way American health care can go,” she said.
“We already spend a lot of money and have very poor outcomes. We have to start moving to a more preventative health care model.”
Work Safe Consulting also focuses on communities that are typically underserved in the traditional health care setting. Arroyo enjoys learning from different cultures and growing the scope of the company through her employees.
“It’s been interesting seeing my employees be exposed to these different cultures as well,” she said. “And learning from the people from different cultures and just kind of seeing how much impact you can actually have as a health care provider on everyone – not just the folks who can afford very expensive health insurance.”
As Work Safe Consulting has grown, Arroyo has become more focused on teaching preventative health care to occupational therapists.
“What Work Safe is doing, it’s very unusual,” she said. “Young occupational therapists or new occupational therapists who are still in school generally tend to get really excited about the fact that they can actually focus on prevention instead of waiting for someone to get sick or injured and then trying to rehabilitate them.”
Interest in educating new occupational therapists has led Arroyo to become more active in local OT schools.
Besides getting more involved with these programs, Arroyo also recently joined the board of Goodwill Specialty Services Incorporated, a work training program for people with disabilities.
“It very much meshes with my mindset where I think everyone should have the opportunity to do meaningful work,” she said.
Arroyo is excited to begin the new project while also continuing to grow Work Safe Consulting by hiring new employees who can help spread the prevention-based health care model.