As an employer, you must TAKE CHARGE because workers’ compensation has a huge financial impact on your company. There must be a tight post-injury process describing exactly what happens after an injury.
Most employers don’t have a cohesive process for handling injuries. Thus, employees decide which doctor to see and how long they need to be out of work. Post a list of your required medical providers (where allowed by state statute) or recommended medical facilities (in states where the employee is allowed to select their own doctor).
Supervisors Play Pivotal Role in Post-Injury Response Management
Your supervisors play the most pivotal role in post-injury response management. Supervisors should take charge immediately after the event. They direct the actions of the injured employee and witnesses. Since supervisor judgment is critical to the outcome of the injury, training must focus on making wise decisions. After training, test supervisors mastery by creating role-playing scenarios where the supervisors make decisions based on the information they have and what the protocol permits. Provide each supervisor within the company a written guide on how they are to report and be involved in workers compensation claims.
Unfortunately, many employees try to stay out of work the entire time they are in pain. In reality, current medical thinking is that injured employees should return to work as soon as possible because they will recover faster. Just like in hospitals, post-surgical care requires most patients to be ambulatory within the first 24 hours after surgery. Have a published returned to work policy so that employees know what is expected of them before an injury occurs.
Companies Need a Clear System for Post-Injury Response
Although many companies have good intentions and want to reduce their costs, they do not actually know how to do so. It is important to give managers tools and explain how to use forms and sample letters to closely manage each of their claims. A toolkit of resources contains communication tools so that managers can communicate with their employees, their third party administrators (TPA), their medical providers and corporate workers’ compensation manager. A few items which are essential are employee brochures, brochures for medical providers, a transitional duty policy and a transitional duty job bank or task bank. We can help you develop your procedure.
Your Post Injury Procedure should spell out in detail what occurs after the injury. Your procedure should answer:
- Who should the employee report the injury to?
- Who should take the injured employee to medical clinic?
- Should initial care be at a local clinic or at the hospital, or will it differ depending on the degree of the injury?
Employer’s Communication Is Critical
The most important part of this procedure is the employer’s communication contact. The employer must have a responsible employee to serve as the primary contact point who is willing to take charge of immediate contacts and keeps this communication loop flowing. Of course, all your employees, managers and supervisors must know the name and phone number of this key contact person. Make sure the key contact’s name and contact information is posted prominently in all policy manuals, workers’ compensation communications and employee bulletin boards.
An important part of any workers’ compensation program is an effective transitional duty program (TD). Yet many managers do not know how to get an employee back to work in a modified capacity if they are unable to return to work full duty until they are completely recovered. Provide each manager with the tools they need. Have a written transitional duty policy that is provided to all employees and supervisors. Keep a job bank of modified duty assignments.
Author Michael Stack, Principal, COMPClub, Amaxx LLC. He is an expert in workers compensation cost containment systems and helps employers reduce their work comp costs by 20% to 50%. He works as a consultant to large and mid-market clients, is co-author of Your Ultimate Guide To Mastering Workers Comp Costs, a comprehensive step-by-step manual of cost containment strategies based on hands-on field experience, and is founder of COMPClub, an exclusive member training program on workers compensation cost containment best practices. Through these platforms he is in the trenches on a working together with clients to implement and define best practices, which allows him to continuously be at the forefront of innovation and thought leadership in workers’ compensation cost containment. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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