Hiring Unqualified People Is Big Worker’s Comp Mistake

Hiring Unqualified People Is Big Worker’s Comp MistakeHiring unqualified people to fill positions within the workforce is by far one of the biggest mistakes made in maintaining low workers’ comp costs.

 

The trucking industry and bus drivers for school buses, over the road or municipal buses is a perfect example of how applying ability standards as conditions of employment help maintain work comp costs, while maintaining productivity and high safety standards.

 

The Department of Transportation (DOT) requires medical exams to ensure a driver is physically capable and qualified to operate a big rig truck. Using a variation of these standards in hiring can help companies protect their workers’ comp budgets by making sure they hire an employee who can do the job!

 

 

Adapt DOT Approach to Meet Your Company Needs

 

DOT’s approach can easily be adapted to meet the needs of all companies. Place the emphasis not only in performing background checks and drug screening, but also make sure potential employees are qualified to perform the job they are hired for. If the position calls for someone with above average hand-eye coordination, would it be wise to hire the next candidate who walked through the door without qualifying him/her for the job?

 

When a company suffers from too many employee accidents, the nature of the accident needs to be examined. Policies need to be put into place to prevent reoccurrences. Accidents do happen and with proactive policies dictating how these events are handled, management personnel has tools to help them fine tune employee training and accident avoidance policies.

 

Many companies have strict procedures requiring the immediate reporting of all accidents, whether there was injury or not, followed up by detailed documentation of the event. Where there is an injury, these policies ensure the injured employee receives prompt medical treatment, timely filing of required workers’ comp paperwork and claims forms, and the employee’s recovery is monitored to ensure a prompt return to work, even if into modified duty.

 

Additionally being on top of all work related accidents and injures affords greater control of these situations and provide the means to monitor and evaluate employee qualifications and adherence to workflow procedures.

 

 

Cost Savings Are Easy to Calculate

 

Cost Savings is easy to calculate. Enter the total incurred losses and your profit margin, and when you calculate, it will show the sales to pay for accidents. For example, it will take 11 Million dollars to replace $500,000 in incurred losses if your companies profit margin is 4.5%. So, it’s cost effective to put a program in place to screen new hires and make sure they are physically and psychologically suited to the job.

 

The focus of administration is on fostering safety within the workflow and encouraging employees to follow procedures and help newer employees do the same. By making employee safety as important as meeting production quotas and timelines, you, the employer, show your employees you care about them. The employer’s sincere concern is then perceived by the employees as their company caring about their welfare.

 

By establishing qualification testing and standards in the workforce, a company can ensure safety and work procedures are not compromised, keep the workforce safe while maintaining workers’ comp costs and workforce productivity. There are numerous companies that help set up employment screening programs. Interview several, and ask them to come to your facility to meet them and let them see the jobs your company performs.

 

 

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.

September 11th Remembered – Tribute To Marsh And AON

Article republished from a previous post.

 

Everyone remembers where they were the when they learned the World Trade Center crumbled to the ground. I was scooping ice cream at the Mansfield Center General Store. Having recently retired from the risk management and insurance industry, I had moved back to the area, built a house in Mansfield Center and worked from my home office. I was helping my family restore and run the General Store.

 

I had an exciting career in risk management and insurance working for two of the best insurance brokers in the industry. BOTH companies had sizeable offices located in the World Trade Center. So, when Bill called and asked me if I was watching TV, did I know a plane flew into the World Trade Center, I was alarmed. Initially I thought he meant it was a small plane, but when I turned on the TV, I could see it was a huge plane and the building was on fire. And then another plane had flown into the other tower.

 

 

We Never Knew How 9/11 Could Affect An Entire Industry

 

Everyone in the risk management field “plans”… we plan for every eventuality, thinking things through. That’s what we do. We help our clients, which are large companies such as The New York Times, Universal Orlando, and USAir, etc. plan how to provide safer workplaces, safer products and safer environments. But we never planned for Sept 11. We never knew how it could affect an entire industry.

 

AON and Marsh are the two largest insurance brokers in the world and I – with a loyal team of consultants – was responsible for development of the workers’ compensation practices at those companies. Workers’ comp insurance is the largest line of insurance coverage – a huge cost to most employers – and I had found the solution to reduce those costs significantly. Helping a wide-variety of types of organizations was gratifying, and there was a new challenge every day. I had written, published, traveled, and worked hard for 25 years, so I looked forward to scaling back.

 

When a retirement opportunity presented itself, I left the workforce to enjoy being a mom. My daughter was 17 and Glastonbury High School had not gone well. Against her will, we had moved her to a private school, and she and I were getting reacquainted during the long drive to and from school in Farmington, CT. Life was good.

 

 

Many Former Employees Went Back To Work

 

It wasn’t part of the plan to go back to work, but two weeks after Sept 11, I went back to AON, filling in for Lisa Ehrlich. Lisa was an outsourced risk manager who worked on-site at a company in Stamford, CT. On 9/11, she had gone into the NY office for a meeting and was killed that day. I was honored to be able to help in some small way. Many former employees went back to work in the intervening years to help the brokers rebuilt their practices. Here is a remembrance of my colleagues.

 

In the 15 years since Sept 11, a new generation has taken over. Some hardly know our industry lost so many that day, key leaders and pioneers in the field of workers’ compensation cost containment. In the intervening years, my niece and nephew, Kori and Michael Stack, have taken over a leadership role in my company and become industry leaders in their own right. I am very proud of them for carrying on the legacy and memory of our beloved colleagues lost on that fateful day.

 

 

 

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 co-author of the #1 selling book on cost containment, Workers Compensation Management Program: Reduce Costs 20% to 50%. Contact:RShafer@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.

 

 

 

Reducing Work Comp Cost via Focus on Cultural Competence

The changing American workforce requires workers’ compensation professionals and stakeholders to step outside their comfort zones and challenge stereotypes and bias.  This includes the ability to work with people from different ethnic backgrounds to promote a workplace dedicated to safety.  This requires full engagement from leaders within the company and insurance carriers.

 

 

Common Cultural Barriers to An Effective Work Comp Program

 

The great American melting pot continues to change.  This includes immigration from different parts of the world with people who seek their pursuit of happiness and a better life in the United States.  These changes impact workers’ compensation programs based on barriers that need to be broken down.  Common barriers include:

 

  • Mistrust of the government, including courts and government officials. Workers’ compensation programs involve a component of government involvement, including industrial commissions and judges.  A mistrust of these officials can impact how immigrants perceive justice.

 

  • Perceptions within one’s community by ethnic groups following a work injury. Even in instances where an injury is temporary, there is an underlying stigma attached in some communities that transcends the confines of the law and a workers’ compensation act.  Lack of self-worth following an injury trickles down to prolonged medical care and receipt of indemnity benefits.

 

  • Inherent risk of injury to new immigrant populations. Countless studies demonstrate non-white and/or non-English speaking populations suffer work injuries at a greater frequency than Caucasian and/or English speaking populations.  Like immigrants from Europe in the late 1800s and early 1900s, today’s immigrants tend to have fewer transferable job skills as whole and gravitate toward positions resulting in a higher frequency of injury.

 

 

Proactive Approaches to a Changing Workforce

 

Members of the claims management team and their employer counterparts can take a hands-on approach to managing their risks when it comes to workers’ compensation matters.  Here are some practical and easy to implement strategies, which will increase safety, reduce program costs and improve employee morale.

 

  • Thinking beyond English and Spanish. The American workforce continues to change and evolve.  With each passing year, more languages are spoken in the workplace.  Never assume that the region of your business limits the possible number of languages spoken.  Assumptions should also never be made that all members of the workforce can read signs.  Providing verbal and written safety instructions are key.  Use a competent translator if in doubt.

 

  • Develop a cultural competency within the workplace. People from around the world develop customs and beliefs based on their world view.  What may seem odd to some, is the norm to others.  Look for opportunities to bridge the gap and develop trust by your actions.

 

 

The Irrelevancy of Immigration Status

 

A review of various workers’ compensation laws point to the conclusion that one’s immigration status has little relevancy when it comes to questions on compensability of a workplace injury.  In a majority of situations, courts have held one’s immigration status does not impact the ability to receive indemnity and medical benefits following a workers’ compensation injury.

 

Stakeholders should be proactive and follow all state and federal employment laws in their hiring practices.  Following this rule can avoid issues down the road when it comes to return-to-work, job search and making a job offer post injury.

 

 

Conclusions

 

Interested stakeholders in workers’ compensation programs are faced with many challenges.  Among these include the need to accommodate a diverse workforce.  Central to this matter should be tenants that drive any program—treat all employees with respect and dignity.  Going the extra mile to ensure all employees are safe in the workplace takes little effort and can only improve the cost effectiveness of a program.

 

 

 

Michael Stack - AmaxxAuthor 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/

 

©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.

 

Relieve Workers’ Comp Burden by Assessing Honesty, Resiliency, and Attitude

 

Hey there Michael Stack here. I’m the CEO of Amaxx and I’m also the founder of the Amaxx Workers Comp Training Center. Now I read a pretty interesting blog post written by Karen Yotis on the Lexis Nexis legal newsroom blog. You can find a link to that article below.

 

Karen Yotis Blog Post: Morbidity, Disability, Cost, Pain & Distress: Exposing the True Burden of Workers’ Compensation

 

 

Assessing the Burden of Work Related Injuries

 

But in that post she referenced an article in the American Journal of Public Health entitled Assessing the Burden of Work Related Injuries, Illness and Distress. Now the point of this article in the journal was really calling attention to the need for more research on understanding the more global impact of work related illnesses. It talked about the family impact, the work impact and really this overall wellbeing indication including the social consequences. Now there’s some political drivers and motivations behind really the desire to write this article and desire for more of that research but what I’m more interested in is the impact that it has on you. And your organization. And the perspective that can be gained from the motivation of this article.

 

 

So I want to talk about that point. And I have two how-tos to share:

 

 

Workers’ Compensation Goes Far Beyond The Injury

 

The first is realizing as is referenced in the article that workers compensation goes far beyond the injury to one individual and the pain that’s occurring in their back or their shoulder or their knee and the ability to get that person back to work. We talk a lot about direct costs and indirect costs of workers compensation and realizing what that means for our bottom line. But I also want to call attention to those psychosocial and social consequences within your own organization. The impact that it has on the amount of trust your employees have. The impact that it has on the engagement of your workforce and the impact it has on the amount that that workforce feels you care about them. Studies have shown and reinforced the importance of trust and care in the recovery of workers compensation and workers compensation costs.

 

 

Assess Honesty, Resiliency, Attitude

 

The second point and one of political drivers and the point for you to be aware of is that 5% of workers compensation claims account for 80% of workers compensation costs. 5% of claims account for 80% of workers compensation costs. So from your organization’s standpoint, what does that mean? I want to give you a how to on this. This comes from Dr. Christopher Brigham’s book Living Abled and a presentation that we gave together last year.

 

 

Now there’s some more sophisticated modeling and serving that you could implement in your program but I want to give you some simple things to look out for when a claim occurs, that if these things are in play, you may need to bring in some additional support and resources for having that claim prevented from being a much larger and more significant and costly claim than it needs to be.

 

 

Take a look at the employee’s honesty, resiliency and attitude. Honesty, resiliency and attitude. If the person is less than truthful, typically in their employment career, it they’ve had minor setbacks that have caused them major setbacks and they have a real tough time getting over those, or they have a poor attitude at work. These are clear red flag indicators that you’re going to possibly need some more intervention from preventing that claim from being much larger and much more costly than it has to be.

 

 

So have that global perspective and be aware of those claims because it will have a dramatic impact not only on your bottom line, but also on the lives of your injured workers.

 

 

Again I’m Michael Stack with Amaxx. And remember your success in workers’ compensation is defined by your integrity. Be great.

 

 

 

Michael Stack - AmaxxAuthor 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/

 

©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.

6 Ways to Avoid Ransomware

Imagine walking into your office, turning on your computer, and seeing nothing but a message demanding bitcoins in return for unlocking all your company’s files. The nightmare known as ‘Ransomware’ recently became all too real for more than 200,000 computers in more than 150 countries, bringing some hospitals and other organizations to a halt. While those affected were primarily outside the U.S., experts say the perpetrators are ramping up their efforts and they warn all businesses to take steps to prepare.

 

The information typically available within the workers’ compensation system — social security numbers, personal health information, etc., — makes it a must for the industry to take notice of the situation. The good news is there are ways to shield and prevent such attacks from infiltrating your company.

 

 

What Is Ransomware

 

Ransomware takes the idea of hacking to a whole new level. Those spearheading the efforts are not necessarily interested in stealing your data, they really just want to hold it hostage until you pay up — hence the term.

 

Businesses large and small may be equally at risk. In fact, small businesses may be even more at risk than larger ones because of their often more relaxed attitude about cyber security.

 

Ransomware is sophisticated malware that blocks access to a computer by encrypting the data or system until it is unlocked. ‘WannaCry,’ the malware used in the recent incident, is not the only ransomware out there and, in fact, there are even copycat versions of WannaCry now available on the black market.

 

The wrongdoers look for the easiest way to infect a system or network and use it as a means to spread the malicious content. Often, it is through an unwitting employee. Phishing is one of the main ways of accessing a computer, where someone sends emails that that appear to be from legit companies, but are not.

 

Another method is for someone to send a fraudulent email that appears to come from a high-ranking company official seeking sensitive information or money transfers. Lost devices, such as laptops, phones and physical files are another way to break in to a company’s network.

 

 

Ransomware Preventive Measures

 

  • Back it up – twice. An external hard drive should be used for backing up all your files and data; then it should be disconnected from the computer. The cloud may be used for a second backup, such as Dropbox, Google Drive, or OneDrive. However, the cloud application should not be turned on except once per day to sync the data. Another backup source can be an ‘air gapped’ computer or server, that is secure and isolated from other networks.

 

  • Train employees. Unfortunately, unwitting employees may be the most vulnerable part of your cyber security. It’s imperative they understand and are kept up to date on what and how cyber-attacks and ransomware occur and how to prevent them. You can then periodically test employees with mock phishing emails. The training should be ongoing and should include the following:

 

– Review emails closely to make sure they are from a trusted and known sender before links or attachments are opened.

– Never download attachments from spam or suspicious emails.

– Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) training to highlight the risks in downloading suspicious apps on them. On smartphones, only official materials should be downloaded.

– Don’t store important data on the PC, if possible.

 

  • Update software. Computers and software that are outdated are more likely to crash and face cyberattacks. Security updates for Microsoft and other operating systems should be applied immediately, including any patches released to combat WannaCry or malware. Antivirus and anti-spam filters should also be kept current.

 

  • Implement/update security policies. Passwords should be strong; meaning they should contain upper and lowercase letters as well as numbers and symbols; and they should be changed at least every 90 days. A companywide password policy should be strictly enforced. Computer browsers’ security and privacy settings should be adjusted for better protection. Outdated plugins and add-ons should be removed from the browser. An ad blocker should be used to prevent potentially malicious ads.

 

  • Check your policy. If your company does not have a cyber policy, explore the idea of getting one. These typically cover the cost of notifying those whose data has been affected, and even hiring a public relations firm to combat reputational damage. If you have a policy it’s vital to inform the insurer if and when a breach occurs. Other policies that may include coverage are kidnap and ransom, or property policies. In the event of a breach these may help pay for legal costs, data restoration, business interruption and the ransom, if paid.

 

  • Incident response plan. Your company should consider forming an action plan that would kick into effect in the event of a security breach, to help limit costs and damages. It should guide personnel at all levels to help manage the breach. Once implemented, you can run simulated attacks to test your company’s level of preparedness.

 

 

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/

 

©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.

Workers’ Comp Should Embrace Wearable Technology with Caution

They come in all types of gadgets. Wristbands. Watches. Eye glasses. They can be woven into your clothes. Or embedded in your jewelry. Or implanted in personal protective equipment.

 

These ‘wearables’ are small, electronic wireless devices capable of communicating with other devices and people. They allow for data collection and analysis in real time, and are increasingly being used to prevent injuries, aid recovery and expedite claim processing.

 

While wearables hold great promise for the workers’ compensation industry, they are also largely unproven, unregulated and possibly, unsafe. Employers can reap tremendous benefits from this emerging technology — if they understand the risks and how to mitigate them.

 

 

What They Are

 

Wearables are not new. There was the calculator watch of the 1980s, and before that, the hearing aid was a form of wearable technology. Things changed in the early 2000s with the introduction of the HugShirt. With its Bluetooth connectivity that allows you to send hugs via smart devices, Time Magazine named it one of 2006’s Best Inventions of the Year.

 

Since then, wearables have spread to many other applications. Consumers use wearable wristbands to monitor everything from their caloric intake and steps per day, to their sleeping patterns. The medical profession has embraced the technology to monitor patients by tracking their heart rates, physical activity, and blood glucose levels.

 

In our industry wearables are used to detect concussions in workers wearing hard hats, and monitor fatigue among employees wearing special wristbands. They are also used post injury to track the injured worker’s recovery and improve a catastrophically injured worker’s quality of life, such as the Exoskeleton that allows paraplegics to walk.

 

The data produced by wearables can help better coordinate and manage medical care and, ultimately help the worker and employer. However, much of the data being transferred is private and/or sensitive. Companies need to consider the unintended consequences involved.

 

 

The Risks

 

Individuals and companies can be harmed by the use of wearables in a number of ways.

 

  • Distractions. ‘Smart’ glasses can capture real-time facial images and videos, and search and post data on that person. But workers wearing them can be easily distracted, potentially resulting in accidents when driving or even walking.
  • While wearable wristbands are still all the rage, some users have developed allergic contact dermatitis.
  • Corporate security. Among the biggest concerns about wearables is the potential for a company’s proprietary information to get into the wrong hands. The devices can record private conversations, take pictures and share information online. Because they can be connected to smartphones, data can be constantly transferred wirelessly. The wearables can also be plugged into a computer via a USB port and introduce viruses into the company’s system. Also, the device could be used to download sensitive information. Currently, these devices often require no PIN or password, making it easy for someone to access its data.
  • The potential unauthorized access to employees’ medical and other personal information can be devastating for companies and workers alike.
  • Hacking. Employees with wearables may unknowingly have their devices hacked or controlled remotely.

 

 

Protections

 

Despite the risks, the use of wearables is expanding and shows no signs of slowing down. But there are strategies you can take to protect your workers and your company from the risks of this newer technology.

 

  • Vet the vendor. Before purchasing wearables, look carefully at the companies that supply them. Understand what needs you are trying to address and which devices will be most appropriate. Then look for a vendor that is aligned with your goals.
  • Seek buy-in. Money spent on wearables will be wasted if your employees don’t wear them. Work with your employees as you go through the process of determining which, if any wearables you want. Make sure they understand you won’t use sensitive data in any way that could harm them.
  • Establish policies. If your company has a policy for employee-owned mobile devices, include wearables in it. There should be rules for these bring-your-own-devices, or BYODs. If the policy is not broad enough, change the wording to ensure wearables are included. You should define the acceptable use of wearables and ensure employees understand and pledge to abide by the policy.
  • Monitor your networks. It’s important to continually identify when information is being sent over your company’s network and by what device. If an event does happen and you need to take down part of the network to repair it, you should have disaster recovery and business continuity plans in place that allows the company to resume normal functioning.
  • Check your policy limits. Does your insurance policy cover the risk associated with wearables? You may want to take a closer look and ensure it does.
  • Educate wearers. You want to make sure your employees use the devices properly and understand the risks involved to themselves and the company, and how to reduce them. Your insurer or TPA may have an expert available to speak with your workforce. If not, check local resources, such as the Chamber of Commerce.
  • Protect sensitive areas. If certain areas of your company have highly sensitive information, you may want to disable Bluetooth in them to reduce the chance of a data leak.

 

 

Conclusion

 

Wearables are the latest ‘disruption’ to the workers’ compensation industry. They can give you a competitive advantage if used appropriately and with the right precautions in place.

 

 

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.

Three Common Mistakes In Enterprise Risk Management

Enterprise Risk Management (ERM) gives a holistic view of all risk across the enterprise and allows for timely decisions based on apples to apples comparisons. It requires process owners to think like owners and to provide timely and accurate reporting. It transitions what is most important into actionable plans that are supported by a consistent process for controls and monitoring. A company seeking to improve workers’ compensation management may be considering ERM improvements, and vice-versa.

 

Companies who engage in ERM have a strong competitive advantage. It gives all stakeholders the confidence that the management team is applying a structured approach to identifying, assessing and managing the company’s most important risk. It makes a clear statement to the value of appropriate allocation of resources  and efficiency in governance.

 

With the clear value ERM brings, why are so many companies missing the opportunity? Why do they recognize the value but struggle to get their programs up and running? Our research and experience shows:

 

1              They make it more complex than it needs to be

2              They spend too much time prepping and not enough time doing

3              They miss opportunities when it comes to technology

 

We recommend simplifying foundational concepts, streamlining the process into immediate action and using technology to get your program off the ground.

 

 

Make it Simple

 

Most have heard the terms and concepts of ERM, but do not have the time to get their arms around them. To successfully get off the ground and make progress, the first step needs to be — MAKE IT SIMPLE. Not just initially but for the long haul. Peers at an executive level need to be able to be on the same page and the message to process owners needs to be clear. If it is not simple and clear you will waste count- less hours with no real value.

 

A best practice ERM framework simply means your company has an efficient and effective way to collect risk across the enterprise, a way to quantify risk across business silos and a way to put what is most important into action.

 

If your employees are not aware you have an ERM initiative, you don’t have one. Foundational to the process is identifying what the team looks like that makes up your 3 lines of defense; defining roles, clearly/concisely communicating the core concepts and engaging stakeholders to be part of the process.

 

Moving forward, we recommend finding simple and efficient ways to capture the team’s perspective on risk. Keep the questions straightforward and use technology to gather data in a way that is easy for them. Use simple questions like, what could hinder their success in reaching objectives, what risk they have encountered over the last year, what they heard or observed from others and what is happening externally—in industry, among competitors, regulators, etc.?

 

The next step of the equation is putting time into dealing with governance obstacles. Things start to slow down when “simple” is not applied to the long haul. Look for opportunities to identify obstacles and apply efficiency.

 

 

Just Get Started

 

As companies are attempting to get their ERM programs up and running, they mistakenly think it must be perfectly mapped out before steps can be taken. This, unfortunately, pro- motes the idea of long drawn out committees with no value being realized for upwards of 2 years down the road.

 

Take steps that build long term success, while in tandem, build in steps to capture immediate value. Many companies take too long to capture their top risk and even longer to translate it into action. While the framework is taking shape and you’re capturing and organizing your top risk, jump ahead of the process, and put key risk you know will likely end up as a top 10 cate- gory into an ERM Plan. This will be time well spent to pilot a repeatable process to consistently assess, mitigate and monitor risk that will be transferable to other risk plans.

 

 

Begin with Technology

 

Unfortunately, some companies get started on an ERM initiative and end up putting their efforts on the shelf. This is a natural outcome of not simplifying and getting started (streamlining the process). Avoid wasted time and efforts by using technology early.

 

Many companies mistakenly think ERM technology comes into play after a mature program is in place. They do not take advantage of tools that can streamline the educational process, allow for efficient platforms to collect data, transition risk into structured plans and transition obstacles into governance efficiency.

 

 

ERM Checklist

 

  • Do staff/process owners know you are focusing on ERM and are they engaged? 
  • Is there consistent and effective reporting on risks and controls?
  • Are you putting efforts into keeping it simple
  • Can cross-silo’d decisions be made from your assessment scale?
  • Do you have an easy way to capture risk?
  • Is there structured focus on governance efficiency?
  • Are your most important risks getting transitioned into action?

 

 

Author Mark Bennett, Founder of Risk Innovation Group (RIG), is dedicated to helping large employers face the complexities of risk through innovative Enterprise Risk Management (ERM) practices. ERM programs don’t just help large employers manage business risks more effectively; a well-developed ERM program can protect and create value as well as improve business performance and generate a strong competitive advantage.  Contact: m.bennett@riskinnovationgroup.com

Do High Heels Mean A Compensable Workers’ Comp Claim?

Navigating issues of compensability in workers’ compensation has become a complicated task for members of the claims management team and interested stakeholders.  This is highlighted by developing case law that scrutinizes the facts surrounding work-injuries when they occur at special events, company meetings or special occasions outside the employee’s usual work functions.  It also stresses the importance of a careful investigation of the facts and elements connected to the work-injury

 

 

Dykoff:  An All Too Common Scenario

 

The facts of Dykhoff v. Xcel Energy, 840 N.W.2d 821, 73 W.C.D. 865 (Minn. 2013), read like a law school hypothetical or test question meant to challenge students.  The employee in this case was a middle-aged journeyman electrician, whose job duties included electronically monitoring power and transmission lines.  Her work duties were performed at a desk, where she usually wore jeans and other casual clothes to work.  Presumably, this did not include high heels.

 

On the date of injury, Ms. Dykhoff was instructed to attend a training session.  Employees attending this event were advised to wear “dress clothes.”  While attending the event, the employee wore two-inch high heels.  She suffered a knee injury while walking on a dry floor.  A post-injury investigation noted there was no debris on the floor.

 

The case was found not compensable after initial hearing.  These conclusions were reversed at the first level of appeal.  Ultimately, the Minnesota Supreme Court upheld the hearing judge’s determination of non-compensability after a close evaluation of the facts and application of developing case law.  Central to the Court’s conclusions were three common tests used in many workers’ compensation cases when the law and careful review of the facts drive issues of compensability:

 

  • Increased Risk Test: The employee must show that she is exposed to a greater risk than the general public;

 

  • The Positional Risk Test: The employee need only show that her employer placed her in the position where she was injured; and

 

  • The Work-Connection Balancing Test: Where the arising out of/course of elements are evaluated.

 

In reversing the lower court decision, the Minnesota Supreme Court noted, “the employment creates a special hazard from which injury comes, then, within the meaning of the statute, there is that ‘causal relation’ between employment and the injury.”

 

 

Lessons Learned and Application

 

There is obviously no way an employer or other stakeholders can prevent a claim from being filed in instances like those described above.  On the other hand, there are important take-aways anyone can implement to avoid adverse findings and increased workers’ compensation program costs:

 

  • Maintaining a safe and properly functioning workplace environment is the surest way to prevent injuries. This includes making sure all walking surfaces are clear of debris and spills are immediately cleaned up in a proper manner.  All employees within an organization should receive annual safety training and understand the importance of their role in the process.

 

  • Setting proper expectations of employees when they attend meetings or other special functions during customary work hours or outside the normal workday. It is unclear what role the employee’s healed footwear played in the minds of judges when considering the Dykhoff  Notwithstanding its significance or lack thereof, it is something important to employers and other stakeholders to consider when holding workplace meetings where the posted attire exceeds those set during normal business hours.  This includes footwear.

 

  • A careful and complete investigation of all work injuries after they occur is important. Due to the interest in workplace “risk” by the Minnesota Supreme Court and other judicial bodies, it is important to note an uneven walking surface, a missing floor tile or floor mat can result in paying for someone’s medical bills and wage loss benefits under a workers’ compensation program.

 

Conclusions

 

Members of the claims management team and other interested stakeholders should take note of ways to keep their workers’ compensation costs in check.  Part of this includes an analysis of employee expectations and an awareness to dangers that lurk around the corner.  This includes an awareness to workplace safety and demands on employees.

 

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.

 

Business Map to Workers Comp In Enterprise Risk Management

Once a company is successfully able to implement the foundation of their Enterprise Risk Management program, the attention soon shifts to having an effective map that allows important connections to be made.

 

Almost all companies have organizational charts. Most companies, however, do not have a holistic view that outlines business processes, relationships and resources and how it all fits together. In short, a map that uses technology to support meeting organizational objectives.

 

Maps give options and technology provides insight that allows getting places quicker and more efficiently. As you are leaving work on a Friday at 5 PM it is certainly helpful to know what alternative routes are available. When your GPS takes you a different route because it can identify bottlenecks due to an accident, it just gave you another advantage.

 

Organizations are complex. They involve things like business processes, resources, people, policies, relationships, physical assets, applications and data repositories in the midst of dealing with risk, performance and readiness issues. When these things are captured and aligned in business silos it makes your commute (business objective) from point A to B even more challenging.

 

Business maps, unlike organizational charts, take into consideration the complete picture with a purpose, by design, to efficiently get you somewhere.

 

 

Making the Connections

 

No one knows everything in your organization. There is too much happening and it is constantly changing. To make good decisions, the goal is to find the critical paths, priority and resources that need to be involved.

 

Start by organizing by resource rather than by use or department. Once the resources are organized and defined, it makes it much easier to establish important relationships. For example, if your resources are defined and you use your business map to draw the lines/make connections between a “risk” that affects 3 different business processes in your organization and turn the solution into a collaborative vs. silo’d effort, you made progress.

 

Forward thinking companies take advantage of technology that allows important connections to be made.

 

 

A Natural Starting Point

 

As noted by Michael Stack, a principle at AMAXX, workers’ compensation takes a village. When you have and need a village working together, a map is essential. In this very specialized business process area, you are traveling through some very complex neighborhoods and any wrong turn can be costly.

 

Wrong turns such as poor communication and delayed actions translate into missed opportunities.

 

How the processes, relationships and resources tie together in workers’ compensation is a system/map that works best when it is defined in a way that is transparent to the team involved.

 

When a holistic picture is concisely captured and communicated, it makes it much easier for stakeholders to contribute, provide support and make connections that translates into continuous improvement of your program.

 

Capturing the collaborative efforts of a village takes a clear map in the workers’ compensation space. For companies who have not made the leap to Enterprise Risk Management (ERM), this area becomes a perfect landing spot.

 

Applying ERM concepts to workers’ compensation programs allows organizations to demonstrate success and milestones that are transferable and build momentum to a broader ERM initiative.

 

 

Author Mark Bennett, Founder of Risk Innovation Group (RIG), is dedicated to helping large employers face the complexities of risk through innovative Enterprise Risk Management (ERM) practices. ERM programs don’t just help large employers manage business risks more effectively; a well-developed ERM program can protect and create value as well as improve business performance and generate a strong competitive advantage.  Contact: m.bennett@riskinnovationgroup.com

WCRI Preview: Impact of Trump, Congress, & Legislature on Workers Comp

 

Donald Trump, the House, the Senate, 68 out of 99 State Legislative Chambers, and the highest number of Governors since 1922. I’m Michael Stack with Amaxx, and what I’m referring to is the amount of political control for the Republican Party as the result of the 2016 election.

 

Now if you’re a Democrat, and frankly even if you’re a Republican to some degree and even if you voted for Donald Trump, there is a little bit of fear, even if it’s for you it’s just a tiny bit, of how that change is going to impact our country and if you’re in the workers’ comp industry, how that change is specifically going to impact us in our industry, and the answer to that is frankly, I’m not really 100% sure. It’s not my area of expertise but I’m looking forward to learning about it at the upcoming WCRI Conference, which is going to be held March 2nd and 3rd in Boston.

 

 

Impact of the 2016 Election

 

The first session is the Impact of the 2016 Election on the Work Comp industry. I will be there in attendance and I will be taking a lot of notes because it’s something that I want to learn about and add to my toolbox and my bag of resources. Now, the second session at that conference is called Worker Outcomes and Return to Work. This topic is right in my wheelhouse. I get questions a lot of times from people. They’ll send me and e-mail and say, “Hey, Mike, do you have a study? Anything that I can reference about X, Y, Z topic?”

 

 

Worker Outcomes and Return to Work

 

Depending on the topic, sometimes I’ll have a study that I can reference and sometimes I won’t, but WCRI is one of my favorite resources and one of my often, most often quoted resources for studies and this is one I am sure I will be quoting often because they’re going to be taking a look at Return to Work and Worker Outcomes from the employee perspective, the employer perspective, medical providers, insurers of how different things really impact the outcome of those particular individuals in those claims, so that’s a session I’m very much looking forward to.

 

 

Opioids, Value Based Health Care, & The Grand Bargain

 

The rest of the agenda is going to be hitting some very important and timely topics like opioids, does value-based healthcare work in work comp and really an appraisal of the entire work comp system and if the grand bargain is still the right answer, so WCRI is one of my most highly respected organizations. I love that conference. It’s one of my favorite to attend all year. It also happens to be a local conference for me, which is great. I’m Kennebunkport, Maine so a short drive down to Boston. I’m looking forward to being in attendance and I hope that you will too and I look forward to seeing you there.

 

 

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.

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