We tend to think of workers’ compensation cost containment programs as an endeavor best left to the employer. While the employer must design the program, the employee also has a role.
However, to be successful, employees must also participate in the program. The following components must be followed by employees for the cost containment program to work.
Know What to Do In Case of Injury
Employees must know exactly what to do if they are injured on the job. Keep employees informed of their step-by-step responsibilities through employee brochures, safety trainings and handbooks. Supervisors should reinforce these requirements through regular meetings and during safety plan trainings at the start of every new project. The “What to Do in Case of An Accident” brochure should be posted throughout the work site and sent to every employee annually. This post-injury response training is crucial to ensuring the best possible outcomes for the employee and the employer when an injury occurs.
Sign an Acknowledgement of Responsbilities
All employees should be required to sign an acknowledgment form of these responsibilities. This should be done during their new employee orientation when they are given their brochure and at every safety meeting.
Know Where to Seek Medical Care
The employees need to know where to seek medical care in case of an injury. They should be required to seek care from the employer’s medical provider or their own primary treating physician, if allowed by law. The name, address and phone number of the employer’s medical provider should be included in the brochure and safety plans. If employees are working offsite, the name of the nearest hospital or medical provider to the offsite location should be included in the safety plan.
Keep the Employer Informed and Updated of their Condition
The injured worker must let the employer know their medical status and any changes in their condition. This is especially important to determine if the injured employee can return to work in any capacity. On-going contact with the injured employee allows for discovery of any problems – such as not keeping medical appointments or difficulty with healing or medications prescribed – before they get out of hand.
The injured employee must complete all forms required by the employer truthfully. Make sure that the employee gets the Work Ability Form completed at every doctor’s visit.
Attend Weekly Meetings
This keeps the employer informed of their condition and any obstacles to return to work full duty. At weekly meetings the employee and employer can determine and address any reasonable accommodations the employee needs and whether the employee can return at modified duty. It also keeps the employee connected to the workplace and coworkers. If they are physically unable to get to the work site, the employer should provide transportation or have meetings by phone. One alternate means of having weekly meetings is by using computer technology such as skype, which allows the participants to see each other over the internet.
Participate in Transitional Duty
This must be a condition of employment. The employee must return to work in either transitional duty or full duty as soon as medically able.
Attend All Medical and Rehabilitation Appointments
Obviously, the injured worker must get required medical care to improve, including physical therapy. Identifying any barriers to attending medical appointments can be addressed at the weekly meetings. The employee should provide the work ability form to the supervisor or claims coordinator after each doctor’s visit.
The employee should perform all other tasks as required by the employer and allowable by law such. Each state is different.
Author Rebecca Shafer, JD, President of Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc. is a national expert in the field of workers compensation. She is a writer, speaker, and publisher. Her expertise is working with employers to reduce workers compensation costs, and her clients include airlines, healthcare, printing/publishing, pharmaceuticals, retail, hospitality, and manufacturing. She is the author of the #1 selling book on cost containment, Workers Compensation Management Program: Reduce Costs 20% to 50%. Contact:RShafer@ReduceYourWorkersComp.com.
Editor Michael B. Stack, CPA, Principal, Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc. is an expert in employer communication systems and part of the Amaxx team helping companies reduce their workers compensation costs by 20% to 50%. He is a writer, speaker, and website publisher. www.reduceyourworkerscomp.com. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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