15 Activities Every Employer Can Do Post Workers’ Comp Injury

Too many employers end their involvement in the workers compensation claim  when they send the employee to the doctor. A bad mistake – one resulting in a steady increase in the amount of your workers compensation insurance premium.

 


The employer needs to have an established post injury process to include:

 

  1. Report the claim to the insurer, third party administrator or self-insured claims office immediately. Ideally the supervisor or your workers compensation claims coordinator reports the claim to the claims office while the employee is still en-route to the medical provider.  Or, you can start the process by calling nurse triage, a great way to make sure the employee gets the RIGHT kind of medical treatment. In some cases, the injury will not turn into a claim by using nurse triage.
  2. Complete the Employer’s First Report of Injury and any other state required paperwork on the claim. If the injury is severe and the employee is unable to return to work within the waiting period, provide the claims office with necessary wage information for the calculation of indemnity benefits.
  3. Advise the claims office of the claimant’s prior history of workers compensation claims. The adjuster’s approach to the claim varies significantly between the employee who never had a workers compensation claim and the employee who with 15 workers compensation claims in the last ten years.
  4. Provide the adjuster with relevant information about the employee. In many situations this may include employee information such as employment application, job description, list of medical absences, list of disputes with employee/employer disputes.
  5. Review your transitional duty program and find a job the employee can do within the treating physician’s restrictions. Have a job bank with tasks in multiple departments set up and ready to go, so there is no delay in placing every injured employee in a transitional duty task. In most states, it is best to  pay as close to their original pay as possible to reduce indemnity payments.
  6. Be sure the employee’s supervisor (and co-workers if needed) is available to discuss the accident and injury with the claims adjuster and to assist the adjuster with the claims investigation.
  7. Don’t alienate the employee – show empathy to the employee. When employees feel the company does not care about them and their injury and the company owes them, the claim gets ugly if employees feel it is time to stick it to the employer.
  8. Maintain an open dialogue – call the employee at home to show your concern and to offer assistance on processing the workers compensation claim with the insurance company. Address any employee problems or issues right away. Also, call the employee on a regular basis until s/he is back at work. Make this contact procedure the same for all employees.
  9. If an attorney representing the employee contacts you, notify the claims adjuster immediately.
  10. Immediately dispute any invalid or fraudulent claim. Assume every employee who reports an injury is injured, but when you notice things don’t add up, let your adjuster know. Using nurse triage services greatly reduces fake injury reporting because a nurse specialized in triage will ask many questions about the medical condition, and most employees faking an injury will look for easier prey.
  11. If the employee has a questionable claim, or a subjective claim for neck or back injuries, and immediately goes to the attorney advertising workers compensation on television, or a plaintiff’s attorney-oriented doctor known for excessive disability ratings, advise the employee immediately of your intention to fight the claim as the attorney and/or doctor has a history of inflated claims.
  12. Monitor the state filings by the adjuster and any other claim related paperwork.
  13. Monitor the Workers’ Compensation Board decisions – that means, reading them carefully, not just filing them away. Be ready to protest any finding or order you feel is unfair to you as the employer as all decisions have time limits for disputing the decision, with some time limits as short as 15 days.
  14. Monitor the medical progress reports to be sure the treatment is appropriate – for example – no physical therapy for the low back when the injury is a cut finger.
  15. Always advise the adjuster when the employee returns to work – the same day. Double-check to make sure the indemnity payments stop when the employee returns to work.

 

Stay involved with the adjuster, the employee and the medical providers. As long as it’s an open claim, it can affect your experience rating, so dropping the claim on the adjuster’s desk is the WORST thing an employer can do. Ask your broker’s claim VP and the adjusters to discuss the open claims during a round-table discussion often, either weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly.

 

 

Michael Stack - AmaxxAuthor Michael Stack, CEO 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 & lead trainer of Amaxx Workers’ Comp Training Center. .

 

Contact: mstack@reduceyourworkerscomp.com.

Workers’ Comp Roundup Blog: http://blog.reduceyourworkerscomp.com/

 

©2017 Amaxx LLC. All rights reserved under International Copyright Law.

 

Do not use this information without independent verification. All state laws vary. You should consult with your insurance broker, attorney, or qualified professional.

The Most Common Belief Is NOT A Factor In Workers’ Comp Success

So imagine the scene. You’re at a party or a social gathering, and you’re talking in a conversation with someone that’s an acquaintance. Somebody that you know, but you don’t know really well. And you start talking about what it is that you do for a living.

 

 

“We’ve Been Really Lucky to Not Have Many Injuries”

 

And you mention that you’re a workers’ compensation professional. And the response during that conversation is, “Oh, we’ve been really lucky over the past number of x weeks or years that we haven’t had very many injuries at my company.” Or they’ll say, “We’ve been really unlucky, and we’ve had a rash of injuries over the past number of weeks, months, or years.” And you’re likely going to respond with the socially appropriate response that’s says, “Yes, we’ve been really lucky or unlucky, too.” But you’ll know in your heart, or you should know in your heart, that success in injury prevention and injury management has very little to do with luck.

 

 

Success in Workers’ Compensation Has Very Little to Do With Luck

 

Success in injury prevention and injury management has very little to do with luck. Hello, I’m Michael Stack, CEO of AMAXX. And there’s two points that I want you to take out of this video lesson today. One is internalizing that fact, that luck, while it may be a small percentage of your success, it’s a very small percentage. Your proactive planning, your culture, your system that you set up to prevent injuries as well as care for those employees after injury to get them successfully back to work is going to be the major dominating factor in the success or failure of your program.

 

 

First Step is to Clarify Workers’ Comp Vision

 

The second piece that I want you to take out is the reason that people say, luck is the major dominant factor in our success or failure in workers’ comp, it’s because there’s no vision, there’s no goal for what you’re trying to accomplish. Because that’s the first step on that path to workers’ comp mastery and workers’ comp success. So here’s how you get started with clarifying that vision for your organization.

 

I want you to answer this question:

 

If I were to wave a magic wand, and in one year from today, you have the perfect workers’ compensation, injury management and prevention program.

 

Answer these three questions:

 

  1. What does that look like for your organization? What does that look like for your organization? If you had this perfect program, draw that out in a paragraph sentence type format.
  2. What does that feel like for you, as the person that designed and implemented this program successfully? What does that feel like for your employees?
  3. What has that done for your culture? What has this done for your organization? What has it done for your employees’ values? What has it done for your employees’ attitudes? What has it done for the culture of your organization? And what has it done for your company’s bottom line?

 

If I were to wave a magic wand and in one year from today, you could have the perfect workers’ compensation program, what does that look like at your organization? What does that feel like for you and your organization? What has that done for your career, what has that done for your employees, what has that done for your company’s bottom line? If you can clearly define that vision, you are well on your way to success. Again, I’m Michael Stack with Amaxx. And remember your work today in workers’ compensation can have a dramatic impact on your company’s bottom line. But it will have a dramatic impact on someone’s life. So be great!

 

 

Michael Stack - AmaxxAuthor Michael Stack, CEO 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 & lead trainer of Amaxx Workers’ Comp Training Center. .

 

Contact: mstack@reduceyourworkerscomp.com.

Workers’ Comp Roundup Blog: http://blog.reduceyourworkerscomp.com/

 

©2017 Amaxx LLC. All rights reserved under International Copyright Law.

 

Do not use this information without independent verification. All state laws vary. You should consult with your insurance broker, attorney, or qualified professional.

 

The Deep Cut That Got Deeper Due to Poor Injury Response Procedure

The best time to develop defense strategies is before a claim is even filed. Employers that implement proactive tactics toward injury response management will see reduced attorney involvement and lower overall claim costs.

 

Instead of leaving things to chance, employers need to take control of all facets of a post-injury situation. Employers who do so also exude competence, which helps set expectations for the injured worker and can reduce much of the animosity typically present in the workers’ compensation system.

 

 

The Problem

 

The less control an employer exerts following a workplace injury, the longer the time off work — leading to higher costs.

 

Consider the following example;

 

A worker gets a fairly deep cut in her arm rounding a corner at work as she’s carrying a heavy load of paper. Neither she nor her supervisor know what to do, so the supervisor calls someone in HR who asks if the injury is ‘life threatening.’ Since it is not, the HR person spends 20 minutes asking a series of questions before sending the employee to a physician’s office.

 

In the meantime, the injured worker and a coworker have covered her wound with paper towels from the restroom. The cut is deep and she loses enough blood to make her feel dizzy.  

 

Appalled at the presence of unsanitary paper towels on the employee’s cut, the physician prescribes antibiotics as well as stitches and suggests she take a few days off work because of her dizziness and to see if there is an infection.

 

She is not contacted for several days and becomes increasingly disgruntled. Ultimately, she files a workers’ compensation claim.

 

This scenario shows the disorganization and wasted time, energy and expense that occurs all too often following the injury. Having a formal, post-injury procedure in place can avoid much of that.

 

 

The Strategies

A post injury response plan that is fully communicated to managers, supervisors and employees is a must to avoid the scenario described above. It should incorporate a series of action steps to be taken after any workplace injury.

 

  1. Supervisor’s responsibilities. Immediately after the injury the employee should contact her supervisor, as she did in the case above. However, the supervisor should understand and follow a specific protocol. She should know that the employee’s injury is the most immediate need. If the company employs a triage nurse, he should be contacted immediately to determine the severity of the injury and next steps. If the case is an emergency, the employee should be taken to the closest emergency room. In the absence of a triage nurse, the employee should be given the names and locations of the company’s workers’ compensation physicians. The supervisor should escort the worker to the physician’s office; if not possible, she should designate someone to drive her there.

 

  1. Information. A packet should be readily available for the supervisor to give to the injured worker. It should include instructions and phone numbers on whom to call, how to file a claim and what to expect in the days ahead. It should also contain a ‘work ability form,’ for the physician to fill out.

 

  1. Investigation. The supervisor should immediately begin an incident investigation, that includes statements from any witnesses to the incident. If immediate medical attention is unnecessary, the supervisor should speak with the injured worker about the incident.

 

  1. WC designee. A workers’ compensation coordinator should be available to meet with or speak with the employee upon her return to the office. The coordinator should review the physician’s notes and restrictions — if any — and determine if transitional or modified duty is required.

 

  1. Communication. If the employee cannot return to work immediately, she should be contacted by her supervisor, a manger or the workers’ compensation coordinator on day 1. The communication should continue on a regular basis.

 

  1. Documentation. The designated workers’ compensation coordinator should fill out and send to the insurer or third-party administrator a first report of injury that includes statements from the worker and any witnesses, as well as photos of the incident site. A detailed job analysis should also be provided to the carrier/TPA.

 

  1. Monitoring progress. The workers’ compensation coordinator should meet with and/or contact the employee at least weekly to discuss the employee’s progress, and when she might return to work in some capacity.

 

Establishing such a procedure requires up-front leg work to be effective. A workers’ compensation coordinator must be designated and properly trained in workers’ compensation issues, including alternative leave plans; the injury response plan should be formally written up and presented to all employees; treating physicians should be identified and working with the company to understand its culture and the focus on returning the employee to work as soon as possible; and transitional work assignments should be outlined.

 

 

Conclusion

 

Workers who are injured on the job do not typically start out being angry toward their employers. But the failure to have a formal, structured, well-understood post-injury response plan can lead to confusion and anxiety and, ultimately, an expensive claim.

 

Employers can cut disability durations, hostility and costs with a well thought-out plan that addresses the employee’s needs as well as the company’s.

 

 

 

Michael Stack - AmaxxAuthor Michael Stack, CEO 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 & lead trainer of Amaxx Workers’ Comp Training Center. .

 

Contact: mstack@reduceyourworkerscomp.com.

Workers’ Comp Roundup Blog: http://blog.reduceyourworkerscomp.com/

 

©2017 Amaxx LLC. All rights reserved under International Copyright Law.

 

Do not use this information without independent verification. All state laws vary. You should consult with your insurance broker, attorney, or qualified professional.

Two Key Aspects To Controlling Workers’ Comp Medical Costs

Medical costs continue to be a significant driver in workers’ compensation claims across the United States.  This is due to a number of different factors, which include fraud, waste and abuse within the system.  In other instances, the increase in medical specialization is a driver of costs, which can lead to duplicative and unnecessary care.  When this takes place in the context of a workers’ compensation claim, the result is an unnecessary financial burden to the program.

 

Now is the time for members of the claims management team and other interested stakeholders to take control of their programs.  One important way to do this is by being proactive on the medical factors of claims and to direct effective medical care and treatment.

 

 

Responding to Injuries

 

All employers, regardless of size need to take a proactive and immediate approach to every workplace injury.  This includes personnel within the work environment who know how to provide medical care and being responsive to employees who suffer an injury.  Other key elements of an immediate and effective injury response include:

 

  • Rapid response to injury and with 24/7 nurse triage hotline. Time is of the essence to triage the injury and direct the employee to the right level of medical care, whether home treatment or the appropriate medical provider. The ability to use a 24/7 nurse triage hotline is not affected by differences in state laws regarding directing medical care.

 

  • Transportation to a medical facility is also an important component of responding to a work injury. This includes providing a means of transportation for a person who does not need an ambulance.  Instead of making that person drive himself or herself to the appropriate facility, an employer representative should make every effort to provide transportation.  This best practice demonstrates “good will”, and ensures the employee arrives at the medical provider to receive treatment.

 

 

Working with Treating Physicians

 

Having a designated medical facility for initial post-injury care does not preclude an injured worker from seeking future treatment at another location.  It is a general rule that employees suffering from the effects of a work injury have the right to choose their initial medical provider and seek care from a facility of their choosing.  It is important for members of the claim management team to communicate effectively with these treating physicians.

 

When working with the employee’s treating physician, claims handlers and other interested stakeholders should also keep the following factors in mind:

 

  • Professionalism: As a claim hander, you are the “face” of the employer and insurer.  Claim handlers need to understand and respect the doctor-patient relationship.   It is important to be patient and professional at all times. While state and federal privacy laws are relaxed in the context of a workers’ compensation claim, disclosure of information may be delayed.

 

  • Cooperation: This is an essential key when dealing with contentious matters such as workers’ compensation claims.  Building and maintaining cooperation is a two-way street.  Always seek to be a problem solver, not cause them.

 

  • Relationships: People like to do with business with people they like.  This includes working with medical professionals and the injured party.  The expression, “You catch more flies with honey than you do with vinegar,” is something to consider.  An employee suffering from a work injury has a number of worries beyond recovering from the incident.  This includes financial, emotional and family pressures.  Always seek understanding and approach every employee as a person, not just another claimant.

 

 

Conclusions

 

There are no simple solutions to reducing the medical aspects of a workers’ compensation.  Interested stakeholders can take a significant step to addressing this issue through a proactive approach to directing medical care in all injury-related claims.

 

 

For additional information on workers’ compensation cost containment best practices, register as a guest for our next live stream training.

 

Author Michael Stack, Principal, 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 & lead trainer of Amaxx Workers’ Comp Training Center. .

 

Contact: mstack@reduceyourworkerscomp.com.

Workers’ Comp Roundup Blog: http://blog.reduceyourworkerscomp.com/

Live Stream WC Training: http://workerscompclub.com/livestreamtraining

 

©2017 Amaxx LLC. All rights reserved under International Copyright Law.

 

Do not use this information without independent verification. All state laws vary. You should consult with your insurance broker, attorney, or qualified professional.

How To Implement An Effect Work Injury Response Plan

 

It goes without saying that in workers’ compensation risk management proactive response to a workplace injury or incident is important.  However, what is often lost in the discussion of this topic is what takes place following the critical minutes following an injury and after the employee receives initial medical care and treatment.  Taking time to think about your long-term response can save your program dollars and can increase productivity in the workplace.

 

 

Lack of Communication and the Post-Injury Dilemma

 

Take a moment to think about a work-injury from the perspective of an injured employee.  The employee is frustrated with a number of issues.  These can include:

 

  • Not understanding the workers’ compensation benefit process and payment structure. They do not want to get an attorney because everything seems right or they do not want to be viewed as a troublemaker.  They are receiving all the benefits they are entitled to, right?

 

  • Time spent filling out forms and seeing a number of medical doctors and vocational rehabilitation counselors. When they do see their doctor, it is a rushed appointment and sometimes not all of their questions are answered.

 

  • The major disruption in their life caused by physical disability. Their routine is in utter chaos.  Instead of spending time with friends at work, they sit at home and recover.

 

  • There is a reduction in income, but not everyday living expenses. Hopelessness and despair set in.

 

Missing from most post-injury response plans is an effective and consistent line of communication between the employer and injured parties.  Workers’ compensation stakeholders serious about their bottom line need to consider the implementation of pro-injury communication with their disabled workforce.  Lack of information breeds contempt.

 

 

Implementing an Effective Plan

 

It is important to plan and implement an effective post-injury response immediately after a work injury occurs.  Suggestions to improve these lines of communication and avoid distrust of the injured employee can include:

 

  • Assisting the injured worker in contacting immediate family about the injury and advising these parties about the status of the employee. In some instances, written authorization may be required given state and federal privacy laws.

 

  • Contacting the injured worker immediately after they are out of danger and in a stable condition. Sending a get well card or making a telephone call are a good, visiting the employee at their home or in the hospital is even better. Proactive employers can also offer to take someone home from a hospital or clinic after their release.  Random acts of kindness build trust.

 

  • Empathizing with the employee and explaining to them the workers’ compensation process can also be helpful. Developing literature about the workers’ compensation system can also be helpful if done right.

 

The open lines of communication should not stop there.  Additional follow-up steps can also be taken to build trust and confidence in the employee with the eventual goal of full recovery and return to work.  Other measures should include:

 

  • Weekly conferences with the injured worker to check on their physical and emotional status. These meetings can be in-person at a location convenient to the employee or via telephone.

 

  • Allowing the injured party to visit with friends and co-workers on the employer’s premises can develop a sense of worth.

 

  • Offering a broad selection of return-to-work opportunities.

 

 

Conclusions

 

Effective injury response goes beyond having a First Aid kit on hand and calling 9-1-1.  For proactive stakeholders, it requires exceeding the minimum expectations to build a bridge of trust and promote a positive relationship with the injured worker.  While this takes effort, it can reduce costs in your program and pay dividends via cost savings.

 

 

For additional information on workers’ compensation cost containment best practices, register as a guest for our next live stream training.

 

Author Michael Stack, Principal, 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 & lead trainer of Amaxx Workers’ Comp Training Center. .

 

Contact: mstack@reduceyourworkerscomp.com.

Workers’ Comp Roundup Blog: http://blog.reduceyourworkerscomp.com/

Live Stream WC Training: http://workerscompclub.com/livestreamtraining

 

©2017 Amaxx LLC. All rights reserved under International Copyright Law.

 

Do not use this information without independent verification. All state laws vary. You should consult with your insurance broker, attorney, or qualified professional.

14 Points To Discuss With Your Injured Worker For Win-Win Outcome

A big mistake made by employers is leaving the injured employee to fend for himself / herself in the world of workers’ compensation.  For most injured employees, the injury is their first workers’ compensation claim and they do not know what to do or what to expect.  Fear of the unknown and not knowing what to expect creates a lot of angst in the employee.

 

 

Fear of Unknown Creates Angst in Injured Employee

 

The smart adjuster during the initial contact with the injured employee will take all the time necessary to answer the employee’s questions about medical treatment, lost wages, light duty return to work, and any other questions the employee might have.  The smart employer will also contact the injured employee and answer all the questions the employee might have about their work comp claim.  When neither the adjuster nor the employer answers the employee’s questions and concerns, the employee will usually find someone who will – an attorney.

 

We always recommend for the employer to call the injured employee immediately after the initial medical treatment.  They will want to ask what the doctor’s diagnosis and prognosis are, when the employee will be returning to work, and if the return to work date is not known, what the work restrictions are.

 

 

14 Points to Discuss With Your Injured Worker

 

  1. The injured employee should be asked to submit a detailed report of how the claim happen, preferably written
  2. Ask the injured employee who were the witnesses to the accident
  3. Verify the injured employee is treating at an employer selected medical provider, if your state allows the employer to select the medical provider
  4. Ask the injured employee if he has ever injured the same body part before, and if so, when
  5. Tell the injured employee you will send him/her a copy of the First Report of Injury being submitted to the insurance company, and ask them to review the Report and advise you if anything is inaccurate
  6. Ask the injured employee if he has discussed all pre-existing medical issues with the doctor (some medical issues like obesity will be obvious, others like hypertension or diabetes need to be disclosed to the medical provider)
  7. Explain to the injured employee how mileage to medical appointments is reimbursed in your state, and the mileage rate
  8. Explain to the injured employee the importance of attending every doctor’s appointment, diagnostic test and physical therapy session (if needed)
  9. If the injured employee is going to be off work, explain to him what the state’s waiting period is for indemnity benefits
  10. Explain to the injured employee how the indemnity benefits will be calculated by the insurance adjuster
  11. Ask the employee to call you after each medical appointment to let you know the doctor’s current plan of treatment
  12. Advise the injured employee to obtain an off-work slip at each doctor’s appointment
  13. Ask the injured employee if he has any questions in regards to how the transitional duty program works
  14. Ask the injured employee if he has any questions about any other aspect of how their workers’ compensation claim will be handled

 

Yes, this is a lot of information to review, and it will take you an extra five minutes.  However, the extra five minutes spent making sure the employee understands how everything will work in their workers’ compensation claim can be the most productive five minutes of your day.  By taking the concerned and caring approach, you will eliminate most of the hassles and headaches that occur when a work comp claim goes bad and save a lot more time later in the claim process.

 

 

On-Going Contact Will Avoid Many Problems

 

Managing and assisting the injured employee does not end with the initial follow up phone call to the employee.  The employee should be encouraged to call you after each medical appointment, and he does not do so, you should call the employee.  Any questions the employee has during the recovery period can be addressed timely in this manner.  By maintaining on-going contact throughout the time the employee is off work, you will avoid most of the problems that can occur with a work comp claim.  You will also be assisting the employee in returning to work the minimal amount of time.

 

 

For additional information on workers’ compensation cost containment best practices, register as a guest for our next live stream training.

 

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.

 

Contact: mstack@reduceyourworkerscomp.com.

Workers’ Comp Roundup Blog: http://blog.reduceyourworkerscomp.com/

Live Stream WC Training: http://workerscompclub.com/livestreamtraining

 

©2017 Amaxx LLC. All rights reserved under International Copyright Law.

 

Do not use this information without independent verification. All state laws vary. You should consult with your insurance broker, attorney, or qualified professional.

3 Steps to Discover the Root Cause of Work Injury

A near miss may be the best thing that ever happens at your company. Depending on what you do afterward, it can be a huge opportunity to save money and headaches.

 

After the initial ‘phew!’ reaction, it’s time to get down to business and find out what happened and why and, most importantly, what you can do to prevent a recurrence that could result in an injury and comp claim the next time.

 

Fact is, most (probably all) workplace accidents have multiple causes. Even the seemingly simple-to-explain incident likely has several underlying factors going on. By getting to the real root of the problem you can avoid potentially costly and preventable claims.

 

Root Cause Analysis

 

Delving into the true causes of workplace injuries requires a team effort, though it doesn’t need to be all that complicated. There are a variety of frameworks for ‘root cause analyses.’  There are templates to make it easier to organize the information. Some organizations use a fishbone diagram to group causes into major categories to identify variation sources. Whatever system is used, there are several keys to successful root cause analysis.

 

  1. Do NOT assign blame! This is the most important aspect in getting to the real root of a problem. It’s tempting to blame someone, punish him, and move on, but that doesn’t fix the underlying problems. Root cause analysis must be done without any finger pointing. Remember, most workplace accidents are the result of a confluence of contributing factors. The job of RCA is to identify and correct them.

 

  1. Ask questions. Then ask more. And a few more after that. The main questions to ask: WHY? You may feel like a 2-year-old asking ‘why, why, why’ – but this is key to getting to the crux of the analysis. As an example, let’s say “Fred” fell off a ladder and, luckily, was not seriously injured. It might be easy to say, ‘well, Fred was being careless, he was in too much of a hurry, so it’s his fault.’ But asking ‘why’ will uncover important details that would prevent future such incidents. The answer to the first ‘why’ could be that one of the rungs on the ladder broke. ‘Why,’ you ask again, and find out it could not hold Fred’s weight. If the rungs were designed to hold 350 lbs. and Fred weighs only 170, what was the extra weight? You discover Fred was carrying materials up the ladder and the combined weight exceeded 350 lbs. But the company has a hoist truck for such jobs, so why was Fred not using it instead of carrying the materials himself? Turns out the hoist truck was being used elsewhere. So why didn’t Fred wait until the hoist truck was available? Because he was under the gun to get the job finished on time and would have missed the deadline otherwise.

 

From the example, several problems come to light. There were not enough hoist trucks available, the ladder’s weight restrictions were ignored, and the deadline did not allow for the job to be done properly. Those are only some of the issues. With continued delving, there would likely be additional factors that contributed to the accident.

 

  1. Get all relevant information — and then some. In addition to the obvious details such as interviews with witnesses, examining any video footage of the incident, and speaking with the injured — or nearly injured — worker, other considerations include:

 

  • The environment. Was the ladder properly placed on the floor? Was there anything surrounding it that might have contributed?
  • Training and skill level. Did Fred have training on using the ladder? Did he understand the weight limit? Had he ever used the ladder before? Was he instructed to avoid carrying materials up the ladder (which, aside from the weight limit, could have caused him to fall)?
  • Was there a specific procedure in place for using ladders? If so, was that procedure communicated to Fred and other employees? Was the procedure ever updated, and the updates communicated? Were workers known to circumvent the procedures?
  • Was it properly maintained? Was there enough available? Had any relevant equipment been updated as needed?
  • Human behavior. We found out Fred was in a rush due to deadline pressure. But why — what were the consequences of not meeting the deadline? Were there too few employees working on the particular job?

 

The Fix

Once you’ve ascertained all the causes (and potential causes) of the incident, it’s time to figure out corrective action. All the ‘why’ questions should end with something that indicates what and how something should be changed.

 

In our Fred scenario, several things could be changed to make the organization run more efficiently and with less chance for an injury. Training would be one area, for example. Fred clearly did not understand (or did not care) that carrying materials on the ladder could exceed the weight limit of the rungs. Procedures may need to be reviewed and changed to prevent people from carrying heavy or awkward items while climbing a ladder.

 

Equipment might need to be upgraded, perhaps with an investment in an additional hoist truck would be warranted. Communication might need to be ramped up to ensure that, while meeting a deadline is important, attention to safety is more important.

 

Conclusion

Workplace accidents, unfortunately, happen and may result in injuries and workers’ comp claims. However, the same incident should never be repeated within an organization.

 

By digging deep you can identify a variety of factors that could lead to an injury. Taking corrective action will help ensure workers stay safe, the job gets done, and you’re not wasting money on preventable problems.

 

For additional information on workers’ compensation cost containment best practices, register as a guest for our next live stream training.

 

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.

 

Contact: mstack@reduceyourworkerscomp.com.

Workers’ Comp Roundup Blog: http://blog.reduceyourworkerscomp.com/

Live Stream WC Training: http://workerscompclub.com/livestreamtraining

 

©2017 Amaxx LLC. All rights reserved under International Copyright Law.

 

Do not use this information without independent verification. All state laws vary. You should consult with your insurance broker, attorney, or qualified professional.

Leverage 2 Super Bowl Tactics To Drive Your Work Comp Comeback

Hello. Michael Stack here with Amaxx. So yesterday was Superbowl 51. If you missed the game or you went to bed early, kind of like my wife did, you missed the most exciting and improbable comeback in Superbowl history by one of the greatest teams and greatest quarterbacks in history as well. Of course the New England Patriots were down 28 points to 3 late in the third quarter, a 25 point deficit, but Tom Brady was able to rally the team together. Tied up in regulation, and then of course they went on to win in overtime.

 

 

2 Tactics Patriots Levered to Win Super Bowl

 

What are those things? What are those tactics? What are those characteristics that the Patriots were able to tap into that led to that extraordinary comeback? It’s going to be talking about in today’s video and how you can use those same tactics to have extraordinary success in your Worker’s Comp Management Program.

 

Let’s talk about what these things are. The two elements that they leveraged were momentum and expectation. Momentum and expectation. Momentum and expectation. Now, love the Patriots or hate them, they have an expectation to win. Tom Brady has an expectation to win. When their team was down late in the third quarter and they scored that first touchdown to make it 28 to 9, they started to capture some of that momentum. When Tom Brady in the huddle said, “We’re going to win this game,” the expectation was that I believe you. You don’t have to convince me, because that expectation has been ingrained in their heads for years and years as part of the Patriots culture. They captured that momentum and they continued to ride that through the end of the game. You knew when it went to overtime, it was almost guaranteed that the Patriots were going to win that game, because they had captured such strong momentum.

 

 

How Timely Are You Making Safety Repairs?

 

Let’s talk about your Workers Comp Management Program and how this looks and how this can be applied. I have a question for you. I want you to answer this question honestly for yourself. If you asked your workforce on a scale of one to ten how timely are system safety repairs and changes being made, that’s your expectation. Let me ask that one more time. If you were to ask your workforce on a scale of one to ten how timely are system safety repairs and changes being made. This is an an example of, say the guard needs to be replaced, say there’s water that’s spilled on the floor, say your workforce makes other safety recommendations for changes. How timely are you actually physically making those repairs? You’re setting your employees’ expectation for how much you care about them.

 

If they don’t see you making the changes, if you haven’t replaced the guard in six months, if there’s water spilled on the floor and no one addresses it or no one puts up the signs, that’s the expectation for care. When that individual gets injured, they think well these guys could give a _____ about me because they never fix the guard. You’re telling them about your return to work program and how much you care about them and how you’re going to work together to get them back to work, and they say, “Yeah, right. You couldn’t even fix the guard in the first place.” They’re carrying that momentum with them into the injury.

 

 

Create A Winning Culture of CARE At Your Organization

 
Can you imagine, then, if Tom Brady didn’t have this winning culture, this winning history, that winning expectation and he’s in the huddle, and he tells his guys, “We’re going to win this game.” They’re going to say, “Yeah, right. We’re down 25 points. It’s the end of the third quarter. There’s no way that’s going to happen.” That’s the expectation. They had that carried into and they were able to win that game.

 

Let’s talk about that addressing those points, addressing those safety points, keeping that, building that positive momentum, so that you care about them. You’ve made all the safety changes. You’re on top of it. Then their expectation is that you’re going to care about them and you’re going to work together for much more successful Workers Compensation Injury Management Program.

 

Again, I’m Michael Stack with Amaxx, and if you’re watching this video somewhere other than http://reduceyourworkerscomp.com go ahead and go to that website. Sign up for our newsletter for a lot more free information and tips on how to control your workers comp costs. Let’s take it one step further. You can go to http://workerscompclub.com/livestreamtraining and sign up for my next live stream training.

 

Again, I’m Michael Stack. Remember, your success in Workers Compensation is defined by your integrity. So be great!

 

 

For additional information on workers’ compensation cost containment best practices, register as a guest for our next live stream training.

 

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.

 

Contact: mstack@reduceyourworkerscomp.com.

Workers’ Comp Roundup Blog: http://blog.reduceyourworkerscomp.com/

Live Stream WC Training: http://workerscompclub.com/livestreamtraining.com

 

©2017 Amaxx LLC. All rights reserved under International Copyright Law.

 

Do not use this information without independent verification. All state laws vary. You should consult with your insurance broker, attorney, or qualified professional.

2 Must Have Concepts For Your Injury Response Message

High quality, and simple. High quality, and simple. High quality, and simple. Those two concepts are the cornerstones of the clothing brand Patagonia’s business philosophy.

 

 

High Quality & Simple

 

 

I’m Michael Stack with Amaxx, and I was recently up in Freeport, Maine with my wife celebrating our eighth year anniversary on a little getaway. Now, she needed a raincoat so we spent some time in the Patagonia outlet, and I picked up the book written by their founder Yvon Chouinard. As I was reading it that day and later following to finish it, these two concepts resonated throughout the 258-page book for their business success and the foundation of that company.

 

 

Employee’s Bombarded With Information

 

It got me really thinking as I was reading this book, is how these two concepts can really be applied to Workers’ Compensation, particularly in the communication and the messaging to our employees. Because the reality is that employees today are just bombarded with information on a day-to-day basis of things that they need to understand, and a lot of times need to put into action. The other reality is that Workers’ Compensation for employees that are not injured, it’s just not that high of a priority. When they become injured it does become a high priority, and then that information that you are giving them needs to be extraordinarily high quality and extraordinarily simple. My recommendation is to have you take a look at your messaging of what you want your employees to do at the time of injury, whether you’re giving them a wallet card, you have posters on the walls at your organization in the shop, or maybe it’s even signs within your trucks. How simple is that information? What information can be taken away to improve the quality of that messaging?

 

 

Injury Triage

 

My recommendation here is to work with an injury triage provider, that you can get an 800 number to call that they can talk to a medical professional 24 hours a day. Then the only message that they really need to remember in the midst of all this overwhelm of information is that any time you have an injury, no matter how minor, just go ahead and call that number and we’ll take care of you from there.

 

Again, I’m Michael Stack with Amaxx. If you’re watching this video somewhere other than reduceyourworkerscomp.com, go ahead and go to that website and sign up to receive a lot more free information about how to control your Workers’ Comp costs. To take it one step further, I’d love for you to join me on my next live stream training. Go ahead and go to workerscompclub.com/livestreamtraining. Remember, your success in Workers’ Compensation is defined by your integrity. This’ll be great.

 

 

For additional information on workers’ compensation cost containment best practices, register as a guest for our next live stream training.

 

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: mstack@reduceyourworkerscomp.com.

Workers’ Comp Roundup Blog: http://blog.reduceyourworkerscomp.com/

 

 

©2016 Amaxx LLC. All rights reserved under International Copyright Law.

 

Do not use this information without independent verification. All state laws vary. You should consult with your insurance broker, attorney, or qualified professional.

Don’t Be Afraid To Start Workers Comp Program Reform

Hello, Michael Stack here with Amaxx. Later today, millions of children are going to hit the streets of America, dressed in costumes, and filling their bags with way too much candy. Halloween has become a very fun and family-centric activity. My wife and I have Dorothy, from the Wizard of Oz, we’ve got a Cowboy, we’ve got a Chef, and we’ve got a Ballerina that we’ll be enjoying trick or treating with later today. It wasn’t always such a fun holiday. Over 2,000 years ago, it was a Celtic tradition called Samhain. According to Folklorist, John Santino, there was a belief that it was on this day that the spirits of the dead transferred to the other world. They would have big bonfires and they would dress in these costumes. They would leave food and wine out on their doorsteps in order to ward off these roaming spirits. Something of a very fearful time for that belief.

 

 

Suggesting Any Organizational Change Creates Fear

 

Now, while Halloween isn’t so fearful, certainly, as that belief was back in that time, there are things in our adult life today that do strike that same level of fear. Take, for example, suggesting an improvement in a process or system at your organization, and if it doesn’t go well, it’s your neck on the line. Now my company has been around for over twenty-five years, and we’ve worked with hundreds of organizations to improve their work comp costs. The system of how to control workers’ comp costs is not a mystery, but getting it off the ground is often the most difficult part.

 

 

Start Small For Work Comp Program Reform

 

I want to give you some tips for getting started. The first one is to start small. You are rarely going to get buy-in from your entire organization to do a complete overhaul of your work comp program, but what you can often get buy-in for is a pilot. Start in a small division, implement these systems and processes improvements, create better outcomes for the injured workers, and reduce the workers’ compensation costs significantly for that division. Then roll it out to the rest of your organization. If that’s too big of a bite to start off, try it out with, start even smaller. Start with one employee, get him back to work just one day sooner. Small steps in a series of small steps can lead to significant change. In the case of Halloween, what started as a somewhat interesting Celtic tradition, has now turned into a $6 billion industry, spent on costumes and candy.

 

 

Connect With Like Minded Professionals

 

My second tip for you now is to connect and learn from others who have come before you. If you’re watching this video, somewhere other than http://reduceyourworkerscomp.com, go ahead and go to that website, and sign-up for a lot more free information on how to control your workers’ compensation costs. If you want to take it a step further and really connect, and learn more in depth into these concepts, go ahead and go to http://workerscompclub.com/livestreamtraining, and join me as a guest on my next Live Streaming Workers’ Comp Training. Remember, your success in workers’ compensation is defined by your integrity. Happy Halloween. Be great.

 

For additional information on workers’ compensation cost containment best practices, register as a guest for our next live stream training.

 

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: mstack@reduceyourworkerscomp.com.

 

 

©2016 Amaxx LLC. All rights reserved under International Copyright Law.

 

Do not use this information without independent verification. All state laws vary. You should consult with your insurance broker, attorney, or qualified professional.

 

 

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